Let me start by saying, that if you don’t know what you need in a hiking boot or shoe, go to a store like REI and get professional advice and fitting. Your feet are so important, the right footwear can change your whole experience, and even outlook on the trail. Once you find the boots you want, if you are on a budget, look online to see if you can get what you need for less money. Although, purchasing from REI has it’s perks if you are a member, a friend of mine returned a tent after using it 10 years 🙂
I love these boots!
Some people can get away with wearing cheap boots that they throw away every 2 months, I can’t.
I have been working on my feet since I was 15 and playing sports since I was 7 or 8, in my early 20’s I developed Plantar Fasciitis. I changed my habits, and learned to wear better shoes, and I had a flare up now and then, but nothing too bad….Until I quit the gym and started hiking with my dog Chico almost everyday. And boy oh boy.
At the gym, I used the Elliptical Machine, but now I was hiking 25 to 50 miles a week on trails almost as hard as concrete because of the California drought, often times with a 5 to 10 pound pack. 10 pounds might not seem like much, but every pound counts towards wear and tear on your feet, legs and back. It’s why many long distance hikers are now hiking with ultra light weight packs, many do the whole AT or PCT with 15 pound packs!. I also train and play with my dog which means a lot of extra starting and stopping that is rough on over worked feet. Ad of course, as you age the fat pads on your heels get thinner. My hiking boots were completely wrong for me.
So I moved to a sturdier, yet lightweight boot. I had seen the Salomon Comet Lady GTX boots at REI and the Ortholite Insole peaked my interest, once I tried them on and walked downhill on the ramp thingy, it was a done deal.
I wanted a boot instead of the new trend of running shoes for a couple reasons. I injured my ankle last year and wanted that extra support in a boot, not in a brace or a wrap. I have been following many thru hiker blogs and people who never had ankle problems before were getting some ankle injuries, so I knew a shoe would not be good for me being that I already had a tender ankle. And I also knew I would be walking in shallow mud puddles, creeks, and playing on beaches so I wanted something that was waterproof without extra treatment.
These boots are comfortable to walk in, the Ortholite liner provides extra cushion, but feels firm not mushy. When I pick up my 25 pound Boston Terrier to carry him over a dangerous or super muddy patch, I can feel the cushion doing it’s work, but my feet don’t feel it.
I have worn these about 220 miles so far, and they are holding up great. I have never had a blister. The boots are incredibly light weight, yet sturdy. I feel very stable in them, and they offer great heel and ankle support. They were comfortable out of the box, I don’t feel small rocks when walking, and I haven’t slipped on gravel once despite our dry and dusty trails. They have a gusseted tongue, and so far have been water proof without any special treatment. My legs don’t get tired after just a few miles like they did with my previous boots, I recently had gone 6 miles without even thinking about how far I had gone or my feet or legs. Did 8 miles that day without any extra pain when I first stood up the next day. Even though I don’t do 20 miles on a Saturday, I do many miles a week on all kinds of terrain, and I feel great after wearing these. The grommets hold the laces in place, one set really tight, the other set is looser, and I double tie them and then don’t fuss with them all day.
Sizing, they run big. There is no need to go a half size up with these as one usually does with hiking boots. I wear Smartwool medium Cushion Hiking socks for women, and the fit is perfect. My feet don’t really run hot, so I can’t comment on if the boots are too warm. Smartwool are my favorites, I even wear them with my work boots. Thorlo’s are also good, but they don’t fit me as well, even tho they are made for women, I get some extra bit at the bridge of the toes.
I like these so much that I will be buying a second pair for back up/just kicking it
Here are the technical specifics :
- 3D chassis provides stability, comfort, and protection for your mountain pursuits
- Contragrip outsole uses a combination of rubber compounds to provide you with optimal grip on varied surfaces
- Molded EVA midsole provides extra stability and comfort
- Textile lining is abrasion-resistant so you won’t wear holes into the interior anytime soon
- Lining breathes well and dries quickly for less blisters
- Die-cut Ortholite EVA sock liner provides extra cushion
- Mud Guard lines the base of the shoe and protects against damage from mud, rocks, and evil sticks