I am particularly harsh on shoes.. anyr ecommendations on durable hiking boots
I am particularly harsh on shoes (specifically hiking boots). Nothing I touch stays waterproof. And I've tried almost every shoe brand from £20 Hi-tecs to £200 Goretex Merrells (which lasted 5 days before the waterproofing died).
I'm not quite sure how I manage it, After about 4 weeks of continuous use in the UK walking/camping I have usually destroyed all waterproofness- and usually the sole seperates from the rest of the shoe. I rewaterproof things religiously after every trip.
Any recommendations of durable shoes? Ones that can last a season of hill and mountain walking from April-November in the UK would be lovely! Any secrets to keeping shoes intact?
(the 4 weeks of use of usually spread out over about 10 months, at which point i take the shoes back- and the manufacturer without fail claims the shoes were not faulty, and it was all my fault for wearing them and somehow walking harshly)
are you using fabric and leather/suede gtx lined boots?
The best I've had for longevity have been by Aku
or maybe you should buy some old school good quality non GTX all-leather boots which are resoleable?
or do like I do:
wear unlined trainers (which are cheaper so not so bothered re durability - though I still get over a year/4-500miles or so out of each pair) and put up with wet feet right from the start - you get used to it. Or, for very wet times maybe buy Sealskinz socks which might last a month's use without leaking or might only last 2days (I've had both happen) or GTX socks.
If it's dry and frozen I still wear just trainers unless if snowy, or really cold n wet then I wear boots . Havent yet since february though apart from 'country walking'
Waterproof membranes do sadly 'just' tend to fail rather a lot in footwear.
Soles separating that fast does sound somewhat disturbing, but I guess just one case of it going bad? I've killed lots of shoes, but very rarely that way.
If you want boots rather than shoes, as suggested by Mole, then leather ones with no waterproof lining might be the most durable. I think Altberg, Meindl, Lowa, Scarpa and Zamberlan all do one or two boots without Gore linings, plus a few other makers. Well looked after they will be pretty much waterproof for a long time.
I wouldn't reproof boots afterevery walk though. You might be killing them with kindness, especially if you're using a proofer that softens the leather too much. Clean off the mud with a brush and/or clean water after each trip, but I'd say just proof them after every three trips or so.
Well actually GTX can make shoes less durable - if the liner fails before the main bits of the shoe have collapsed (pretty common from reports) then the shoes aren't any fun at all to wear in wet weather. Yes you can use them but much better off not having had it in the first place.
Other things which can fail are eva cushioning compressing nastily and non replacable sole units wearing away.
Actually those two are so important that its only worth worrying about the durability of the upper of the things if you've got those covered. Altberg and some other folk do of course, but a fair number of the others don't, even when putting durable seeming uppers on things.
Really the thing not to scimp on is fit Plenty of fell shoes notably <100 and very effective on their own terms.
If you find that everything you've tried doesn't work then rather than look around for the elusive thing youu've missed I'd try a different approach.
I don't bother with waterproofing unless I've got my winter boots on, where I use Yeti overgaiters. Once the gaiters die they can be replaced separately from the boot and they also keep the upper of the boot in much better shape for a lot longer. Gotcha is they're fairly expensive and only really work with reasonably stiff boots.
If I'm not in those I relaise my feet might get wet but that's not the end of the world. A not even notionally waterpoof shoe drains pretty fast and if you keep going your feet will warm up, I find.
And non-waterproof shoes are cooler in hot weather, and cheaper if all else is equal.
Yes I am saying that - we have plenty of reports here of the waterpoof liner in boots failing a long time before they're dead. The thing is you're thinking of full leather walking boots, where you couldn't really tell even if the liner did fail (or was removed.).
Much easier for stuff to push through mesh to get at it, or you can always just wear it away from the inside instead.
Of course without stats you don't know what the half life is, but its certainly going to be another limiting factor in a lot of current designs.
I have had loads of agro with goretex liners and have given up on them, I have been wearing Scarpa rangers with a view to using them as my winter footwear.
I would say the leather is every bit as waterproof as a pair of goretex boots that are performing well so unlined leather might be an option ?
The last 'waterproof' footwear I had was a pair of Trail runners with a goretex liner, when the lining packed in (after a month, 4 walks or so) I cut it out and wore them unlined, I also have worn sandals with a toe box and I can confirm that wet feet do dry out quickly and it is more liberating than it is unpleasant.
My Alt-Berg Mallerstang boots have done c. 1,200 miles over 2 years, Peak District mainly. the water prooof liner is totally useless now, but the boots don't leak, none of my leather boots ever have.
The best waterproofing I have found is Zamberlan Hydrobloc, currently I use the stuff Alt-Berg recommend.
I think these boots should last at least 2,000 miles before they need resoling.
Also the sale of goods act states that faulty goods returned withing 6 months are deemed to have had that fault from new, after 6 months the retailer could argue that it is wear and tear.
When my mate was looking for a new pair of boots at Outside in Hathersage, I tried to get the shoe fitter to state how long fabric boots should last, he said about 4 years, I managed to get a guestimate about the mileage, about 1,200 miles, and don't forget they sell good quality boots.
1200 actually pretty good going I'd think. Don't running shoes with EVA cushioning have an expected life span of 4-500 miles or so? Yes walking not as severe, and not always on hard paths (although often is in the UK), but for a lot of things you've got a very real barrier.
(and its not just that the cushioning goes, its that it goes unevenly and then its just not comfortable. Very noticable when I've used them to walk to/from work. Ok if resolable just replace the midsole too, but thats not that cheap.).
Mind you I can't think of any reason why something like a pair of the tougher walshes shouldn't last an awfully long time with resoles. Its a slight shame they don't do something (resolable with no real midsole that is) with a mildly tougher sole unit for hard paths etc.
Genuinely contemplating getting LCR to put a road sole unit on a pair. Worried I might get stoned as a heretic though
Thanks for all your responses! Lots of things for me to consider...
Couple of notes- 'after every trip'- most of my trips tend to be about a week long, so they're not being re-proofed _that_ often. And I usually have fabric/goretex boots- have had leather ones but only made of leather-pieces, so the stitching between the panels always died first.
Have found a few 'specialist boot shops' in the peak district that i intend to try out in the next few weeks, I'll have more of an argument to take them back then when/if they fail. Or there's always the january sales! And there's lots of brands here I've never heard of that I intend to research.
Try Outside at Hathersage, they know what they are talking about, of course you don't have to buy your boots there.
My first pair of Alt-Berg boots, from Outside, had a problen about 11 months after I bought them after investigation by Alt-Berg they were replaced.
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