View Full Version : best lightweight three-season hiking boot?

Dr. Dasypodidae
06-09-2004, 12:55 AM
Ok, I am looking for feedback on the best lightweight three-season hiking boot, BUT with good ankle support (perhaps lightweight and good ankle support are mutually exclusive?).

06-09-2004, 07:07 AM
The best for me may not be the best for you. Boots have different shapes that may or may not fit your feet well. Having said that, I like Salomon boots because they fit me well. I also like the construction of Lowa boots but they are too narrow for me.

06-09-2004, 07:30 AM
I've had great luck with Merrill dayhikers. They are lightweight yet rugged, they stick to rock very well, and are so comfortable I've never had a blister. But, try on many boots and see what fits YOU.

06-09-2004, 08:21 AM
Tom: welcome back! Lowa has an intersting boot that might be worth looking at if ankle support is prime consideration. Sir Edmund (VFTT poster) uses them, so you might be able to get a sense of what he thinks about them. For me, I always found my Asolo's to be good, but I've switched to lowcut NP MA900 that I love.

Good luck - hope this quest will be a bit easier than your recent one ;)

Rob S
06-09-2004, 09:10 AM
I like Merrell boots, too. Last year I bought a new pair, this time the Sawtooth model. They are very lightweight AND have great ankle support plus very good grip on rocks thanks to the Vibram "chisel" sole. Their website is here. (http://www.merrellboot.com/catalog/gallery.asp?NavID=HIK)

Oh yeah, they are VERY comfortable. Even after a long day, my feet still feel good. They may smell bad, but they sure feel good. :p

ralph ryndak
06-09-2004, 09:19 AM
I have had good luck with LL Bean Speed Guide Hikers. I have taken hikes up to 28 miles with no blisters.

06-09-2004, 09:22 AM
I am very happy with the Vasque Sundowner ... or whatever that model may be called these days. It has a goretex liner, fits me well and most importantly to me, my feet feel good after a long hike. That is an accomplishment given that I have a problem with my 2nd metatarsal for which I wear orthodics. Strange, I can feel it in dress shoes sometimes, even with the orthodics, but not after long hikes. Methinks there is something psychological there.

06-09-2004, 10:10 AM
When I was researching boots the Vasque Sundowner GTX, was the highest rated. When I tried them on they were very uncomfortable on my feet. after trying on many different boots. I went with the Merrell Chameleon Goretex. They are extremely comfortable, except when ascending very steep inclines. They are relatively light (3lb 3oz). The only problem is that the sole is starting to separate from the leather at the toe.

The best boot for you depends your feet and how the boot feels. I feel your boots are the most important hiking equipment.

06-09-2004, 12:34 PM
what you consider light weight & what i consider light weight may differ but here are some of my suggestions:
vasque zephyer (very, very nice boot!), asolo fugitive (extremely comfortable but i thought it was too light, i prefer a thicker, rugged sole), the new scarpa zg65 xcr or any boot by merrell such as the sawtooth (EMS has all of these).
now, for my current favorite day hiking boot that can also be worn backpacking: the lowe alpine guide. sierra trading post has on sale for 1/2 price. they are listed as a low-end mountaineering boot and i expected them to possibly be too stiff. but let me tell you they are out of the box comfortable and much lighter than i expected. the best thing is although lite they have the vibram ice trek sole, which is nice and thick -- perfect for rocky terrain. i absolutely love these boots and wore them w/ no break in on a 8 mile hike - they are also semi-crampon compatible. lastly; the salomon adventure trek is light and also extremely comfortable. this boot is great if you have hard to fit feet.
let me tell you i have tried dozens of boots so ask away i have tried most every brand.

06-09-2004, 01:54 PM
I just bought a pair of Merrell Torque Mid Gore-tex boots yesterday. I haven't tried them out on the trail yet so I'm not sure how they will perform, but I'll speak for what I DO know...

I went to Tent & Trails with a friend to buy boots, and we requested a mix of about 4 different brands/models within the same price/quality range.. Upon getting the boots, he tried on the Torques and immediately said "I'm getting them".. I thought he was crazy for not even considering trying on the others. I went through the other pairs (3 others in total) before trying on the Torques myself and was floored by how comfortably they were, especially in comparison to the others I tried on (sorry, I'd give the names if I remembered!). We both wound up leaving with the same new boots (hah we're gonna look like a couple of trail dorks with shiney new matching boots!).

We payed $120 each, but REI has them on sale now for $99.. http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?storeId=8000&catalogId=40000008000&productId=47847072&parent_category_rn=4501259

They're VERY comfortable, seem to fit my wider feet perfectly (incidentally, he went 1/2 size larger than normal because he felt they fit fine in length, but were a bit tight on the sides - I guess they fit better on slightly wider feet?), weigh just 2 lbs, 4 oz, waterproof/breathable with gore-tex lining, and - one of my favorite parts - the waterproof fold between the tongue and the boot is extra large, allowing you to pull the tongue wayyyyyy out forward and easily slip your foot in and out.. Yet it tightens great when tied, and feels wonderful with all the padding. They have the spring of a running shoe, as well, as there's a slight curve/flex in the sole at the last 1/3 in the front.

06-09-2004, 03:20 PM
i'm sure the boots in the prev post (merrells) will be just fine but i do caution folks to be careful about quickly buying a pr of boots just because they feel really comfortable the minute you put them on. so do walking shoes, for the most part. keep in mind, hiking footwear has it's own set of requirements so before rushing in and buying something based just on comfort be sure to try on several diff types and really think about the features each has in comparison to your need. some places won't take boots back once you've worn them. i thought the asolo fugitives (women's is called the stynger) was incredibly comfortable - i immediately was sold. but after wearing them around a bit (on sidewalks at home) i realized that although they were comfortable, they would not suit me well on the trails. just a word of advice to take your time & be sure to know the store's return policy in case you realize you don't like them.

06-09-2004, 03:23 PM
Anyone have any experience with the Scarpa ZG 65 GTX specifically the traction and durability of the boot?

06-09-2004, 03:29 PM
i don't own the boot but i did ck it out. they have vibram soles so that's a good standard for quality traction (anytime you see vibram or contragrip 2 you can be assured of good traction). they seemed stiff enough too for support purposes but yet not overly rigid. i really thought they looked like nice boots, scarpa makes quality gear and they are roomier than alot of other boots, which is good for those with wider feet. the price for a new line of boot wasn't bad either.

06-09-2004, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by shadowcat
......i do caution folks to be careful about quickly buying a pr of boots just because they feel really comfortable the minute you put them on. so do walking shoes, for the most part. keep in mind, hiking footwear has it's own set of requirements so before rushing in and buying something based just on comfort be sure to try on several diff types and really think about the features each has in comparison to your need. some places won't take boots back once you've worn them........

I agree, some of the better store that sell hiking boots have a ramp in the store that can be used to test the boot in simulated conditions. Take your time and walk around in the store. Even after I did this I found slight problems is some conditions.

Daniel Eagan
06-09-2004, 05:29 PM
Anyone have any experience with the Scarpa ZG 65 GTX specifically the traction and durability of the boot?

I think I have the Scarpa ZG 65 GTX -- it's sort of green and beige (I threw out the box). I've done Abraham and Ellen, Mansfield in the rain, trail work in the ADKs, and two loops in the Hudson Highlands wearing them. The Vibram sole was everything I wanted, much stickier than the Asolos I had been using the last three years.

I love Scarpa products and still have two all-leather pair. I tried on a half-dozen styles and was sold on these as soon as I tried them on -- they provide the ankle support, traction, and comfort I want in a boot.

The boots are narrow and require more of a break-in than I was willing to admit at first. I doubt that they will last three years.

By the way, my wife tried on a pair of Asolo Styngers (at Tent & Trails no less) and bought them. When she tried on the Scarpas later, she bought them and returned the Styngers. The Styngers were light and comfortable but provided almost no support compared to the Scarpas.

06-10-2004, 01:20 AM
They are midweight but they do make a lightweight.
My feet are very bad (multiple problems) and I had no faith when I walked in there but they are really good at fitting and stretching.
My friend got a pair of lightweights and is loving them as much as I love mine.
Have owned lots of boots. Some of them were hardly worn because they did not fit properly and the goodwill got them. Wasted lots of $$$$$$$$.
Checking out Limmers was the best thing I could have ever done and from what I am told by other proud owners, they shoud last me for many, many years. In fact, I don't anticipate ever having to buy another pair.

06-10-2004, 08:17 AM
Regarding comfort in the store:

I agree also. I got some EMS Summit GTX boots a few weeks ago, mostly because they came in wide widths. They felt great! So good that I didn't bother to try to break them in. Needless to say, I had blisters forming within 2 miles, and the wide width comfort actually seemed to make the boots feel too big after an hour or so. Lesson learned! Stick with LOWA!

06-10-2004, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by Maddy

Me too!

Mine are the standard weight, made for my ugly, oddly-shaped feet. The boots are heavy, clunky and homely, but they have a light, graceful and beautiful soul because the boots actually fit my tootsies and adequately support the load of my ample carcass. They are the most comfortable footwear I own. Proper fit is everything. Compromising on fit for the sake of saving a little weight (and/or moolah) is a poor and unwise bargain to strike in my experience, and in my opinion.


Dr. Dasypodidae
06-11-2004, 04:25 PM
Many thanks for all of the responses; lots to consider. Perhaps I should have mentioned that I bought a new pair of Solomon's last year that provided the ankle support, but were too narrow near the front, hence blisters and bone bruises at outside front of my feet. My old Asolo's were great for ankle support, but now have worn flat soles, cannot be resoled, and the model is no longer made.

06-12-2004, 06:55 PM
Be carefull about Vibram soles. It's not because it's a Vibram that the grip is automatically awesome. Vibram makes a lot of different patterns, some grippier than the others. The one under my Kayland Contact 1700 are shitty on any very steep slabs:( .

Take a careful look at the lugs' pattern first. I find arrow-like lugs better than angled-only lugs. Double density soles (like some Contagrips) should work fine on steep trails.