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Thread: How often do you replace your hiking boots?

  1. #1
    Senior Member poison ivy's Avatar
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    How often do you replace your hiking boots?

    I'm just curious about how often others replace their hiking boots... I'm wondering if I'm expecting too much from my boots or I should switch brands once again.

    I used to hike in Lowa Renegades, which fit me wonderfully, but ended up falling apart (stitching usually) after four months or so. I figured these were more of a dayhiking style boot and not up to the weekly trips to the Whites and frequent backpacking I do. It wasn't a huge deal since I can usually find them on sale and they aren't particularly expensive.

    However, I recently decided to buy a pair of Montrail Torres, figuring they would hold up better with my hiking schedule -- and I bought them at either full price or close to it. So I'm somewhat annoyed that six months later they are also falling apart. (The rivet holding one of the shoe lace hook thingys flew off today.)

    I'm wondering if this is just the way it is -- hiking boots don't last very long and I should go back to buying cheap pairs. So is everyone else replacing their boots this frequently or am I just the lucky one?

    - Ivy

  2. #2
    Member ADK Rick's Avatar
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    A long long time

    My first real hiking boots, I still have. They are some sort of Vasques, purchased in 1978. They are really heavy and have had 3 or 4 re-soles over the years. They have currently been dubbed as "non-repairable" by the cobblers I have brought them to. Oh well.

    The last two years I have been hiking in LL Bean GoreTex hiking boots, which I actually like a lot. I noticed last week that they are starting to come apart a little at the seams. So I may in the market for new boots soon.

    The reason I keep boots so long is that I have really weird feet, 6.5 EEEEE. I usually end up with 7 EEE when I can find them, which is rarely. Anyone have any ideas?

    Happy hiking
    ADK Rick
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  3. #3
    Senior Member MattC's Avatar
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    Ivy, I have had the exact same experience w/ Lowa Renegades. They're light and very comfortable, but they fall apart. I had the stiching repaired once for about $5, and have since used epoxy on them, but eventually they're going to just blow wide open. I actually just got another pair of Lowas, but they're not Renegades, they're just slightly heavier. I bought them because I got them for $65 at a local outlet during New York State's tax-free week. I'll probably continue to use the falling-apart Renegades for light, short stuff in the Shawangunks.

    It seems that the nubuck/fabric-style boots just tend to fall apart quicker than full leather. More seams=more places that can fail. I'll bet ADK Rick's old reliable Vasques are full leather. I'd like to get a pair of boots like that, but I can't afford them right now. I'm also curious if anyone has had better luck w/ nubuck/fabric-type boots.

    Matt

    Edit: I forgot to mention in my original post that I hike pretty much every week, sometimes 2 or more days. I'm sure that's a factor in boot life.
    Last edited by mcorsar; 09-11-2005 at 08:34 PM.

  4. #4
    Member ADK Rick's Avatar
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    Yes, the old Vasques are full leather. The only things that ever went wrong with them is that one quick lace thingie fell off early on and I had it replaced, and then I plain wore out 4 or 5 sets of vibram soles. Now the mid sole needs replacing too which no cobbler seems willing to do.

    They really are too heavy anyway..I have been hiking in lighter boots for while now so it would be hard to adjust again.

    ADK Rick
    Forever Wild

  5. #5
    Senior Member alpinista's Avatar
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    Ivy: I still have a pair of leather hiking boots -- Scarpas -- that I bought five years ago. I stopped using them as my primary hiking boot a year ago, because I switched to an Asolo low-ankle cut/canvas hiking boot. My Scarpas remain in very good shape. My Asolos also remain in solid shape, though I'm guessing they won't last as long as the Scarpas.

    That said, I think you probably do more hiking than me, so that's one key reason my boots have held up as well as they have.
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    Senior Member spaddock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poison ivy
    However, I recently decided to buy a pair of Montrail Torres, figuring they would hold up better with my hiking schedule -- and I bought them at either full price or close to it. So I'm somewhat annoyed that six months later they are also falling apart.- Ivy
    I've had my Montrail Torre GTX's for about 4 years now and they are finally starting to wear out.

    I have to take them to my physio therapist next week because of my IT Band injury. She wants to look at the "wear patterns". With any luck I'll get a prescription for a new pair. Honey, I have to buy new hiking boots, "doctors orders"


    -Shayne

  7. #7
    Senior Member bubba's Avatar
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    Ivy, I agree with Kevin about them not lasting as long as one would expect. I skimmed the thread and didn't see this, but if it wasn't mentioned, I'd strongly consider some communication with either the store or mfg (or both)about your dissatisfaction with the boot's performance. Great odds that you rec'v some satisfaction, especially after you tell them that you post on a hiking website frequently and are considering saying more less than positive things bout their product... store...
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    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Am I alone in wondering where Ivy is dragging those poor boots?

    In all seriousness Ivy, I classify hiking boots into 2 very crude categories:
    +Those that are made with a single piece of leather on the upper
    + Everything else

    The idea of using a single piece of leather on the upper is to minimize the number of seams. As you are finding out, seams are point of failure (and leakage). Heavy traditional norwegian welted boots typically have a single pieced upper but there are some lighter weight boots that do too. The Vasque Sundowner, Danner Mountain Light and the Limmer Lightweights come to mind. Typically, you are looking for that single seam that runs up the back of the boot (or up the side of the instep in the case of the Limmers).

    I treat any boot with multiple seams and parts to the uppers as disposable. Fine for light day hikes and weekend wear and such.
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

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  9. #9
    Senior Member poison ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.m
    Am I alone in wondering where Ivy is dragging those poor boots?
    LOL... yes, I am definitely hard on my boots. They probably aren't designed to be sopping wet for seven days straight. I still think they should last longer though.

    Thank you for the replies so far in this thread. I do plan to contact Montrail to see if they can at least fix them. The only problem is that I'm soon to embark on a six state highpointing trip so I either need to replace them soon or wait and fix them after the trip. I don't think my trail runners will cut it for that trip.

    I hate to go heavier for boots but if it means they'll be more durable, I just might.

    - Ivy

  10. #10
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Ivy,

    Contacting Montrail and/or the retailer aren't bad ideas. But, I wouldn't have too high of expectations. Maybe ask for a partial credit towards one of Montrails better boots. Taking a quick look at the Torre, I can understand how you've wrecked them so fast.

    Again, you don't need to go too much heavier. Boots like the Limmer Ultra-light will be noticably more durable while not being boat anchors.

    But if I were a manager of a shop and somebody brought back a dead pair of lightweights, I would only refund or credit towards a sturdier pair.

    You go girl. You might just nail the hides of those poor boots to the side of your barn as a trophy of your hiking life. Sort of a cruel reminder of what sort of punishment you are capable of handing out on your gear!
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Lawn Sale's Avatar
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    My Merrels are the same way, all leather, and I've hard them for about 5 years now. They're like my hiking poles, I'd rather not hike without them.

    I've also never had good luck with suede boots, no matter what I treated them with, they always rip out within a year.
    Appearances are not everything, it just looks like they are.




  12. #12
    Senior Member Periwinkle's Avatar
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    Your Mileage May Vary

    I'm all for the trail over time theory. You're probably tougher on boots than your average day tripper. If you're hiking in boots that are designed for the masses, well....

    As any example: I started off hiking again in the same pair of Scarpa's I'd had for years, but didn't have a lot hard wear. They were retired as my feet spread out and various foot problems developed. They just didn't fit right anymore.

    The Bean boots I replaced them with were of the mass-produced variety. They didn't last long (and I didn't like them much).

    I finally ended up with Lowa Scouts -- a full leather boot with a thick sole. I adore them. I worship them! But, alas, after 500+ miles of carrying my odd little feet, they are worse for the wear: the wear points along the widest part of the boots have bulged out and leak. Lowa's fault???? I don't think so. But, it is their fault that they discontinued them! The nerve! Just when I needed another pair!!!! The people at Lowa were extremely helpful in locating the origingal pair of boots, so I'm hoping I can get a like replacement with a bit of assistance.

    The moral of the story? The Scarpas were around for 10 years, and are still on the trail on someone else's feet. The Bean Gortex boots saw about 50 miles of trail and got pushed to the back of the closet, never to see the light of day on a trail again. The Lowas will be cherished forever after many excellent miles. Brozned perhaps?

    Go for the gusto -- spring for a pair of good leather boots. Your feet will love you for it!
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  13. #13
    Senior Member BorealChickadee's Avatar
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    I've got three years on my LLBean Crestas. Full leather with a seam up the back. Just one extra piece of leather sewn over thr back center seam and up around the ankle to assit ankle stability. I've got a bad ankle (three torn ligaments years ago) so I dfinitely can't go lowcut.

    My previous pair were cheapo suede and fabric Merrells. Tore up my feet with those. Definitely not made for my amount of hiking. I wore the inner soles right out and the year I couldn't afford new boots I was putting a piece of cardboard/anything in the bottom to keep my feet off the nails.

    Before that I only had one pair of full leather Danners. I finally forced myself to part with them because after three kids my feet had grown a full size. They were great boots for their time (1970s) but weighed twice as much as the Crestas. And stiff as a board. The Crestas felt great the first time wearing.

    My son is now almost 17 but since he was three years old I've had to buy him at least one pair of hiking boots a year. Until just a couple of years ago they were alwys the suede and fabric type. Cheap because I knew he'd outgrow them but he really couldn't have gotten a second year out of them if he needed to. The fabric boots just don't last like full leather. This year he's in Crestas also.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jay H's Avatar
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    I've had my Torres GTX for about 3 years now and they're still going strong. I don't know how those metal lace guides are attached or if it is possible, have you considered having it fixed by a boot maker? Might be possible, anyway, and might be a faster solution than dealing with Montrail and you've mentioned you're going to need them ASAP.

    As far as replacing them, I've had my first pair of Vasque Exodus IIs since I started hiking, they were replaced with my Torres 3 years ago due to the heel section wearing down to like nothing, then I was slipping all over the place once it got wet cause the traction in the heel was like nil.

    Jay
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  15. #15
    Senior Member MadRiver's Avatar
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    As much as some might knock EMS brand products, I have been hiking on their Summit GTX for the past four years and love them. There was virtually no break-in time and I havenít had a moment of trouble with them. I figure I will have another year of hiking with them before I need to decide whether to buy another pair or just resole these.

    One interesting side note, my wife and I bought the same boots at the same time, yet mine look about ten years older. Although I have gone on several hikes without her, it doesnít seem like enough to justify the difference in boot condition. I can only venture a guess that my hiking style is markedly different than hers. Since I wear high gaiter year round I tend to walk through streams rather than walk on the rocks as my wife prefers. I also plow through mud and debris with reckless abandon, while my wife has a more refined walking posture. As a result, her boots look fairly new, while mine look like Hell.
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