I had a pair of Carolina's that were great. All-leather upper, thick sole.
Then I had a pair of Carolina's that sucked balls, these ones weren't all-leather. So I guess Carolina only makes good all-leather boots.
I have a pair of White's, but they were well used and hurt my feet if I do too much walking in them.
Sierra Trading Post always has deals on boots; excellent Asolo Hiking and Trekking boots on sale all the time. They've got some 7-eye Doc's for $70 right now. The Asolo's are like $120 for the one's I'd get. I don't like wearing tech looking boots, though.
These Merrel´s are a good 15-20 years old, I got them from my dad´s closet last time I visited, he used to wear them around the woods a bit, but always weatherproofed them and kept them from cracking. They came with steel shank and I put steelltoes in them and redid the soles, they are wonderful.
fyi, putting steeltoes in isn´t that hard, just hard to find the part.
I bought a second hand pair of old army combat boots at thrift store for fifteen aussie bucks about four years ago. worn them everyday since and they still appear to have many years left in them. i love those boots.
found em in the basement of my old house after all the trainhoppers and crusty kids had vacated. ive had em for 4 years now, and they aint much to look at these days but still completely waterproof (these things have trucked me through bogs and many a marsh with no wet tootsies.)
I need to break down soon and get another good pair of boots. I've been wearing a couple different pairs of chucks this past year and they really suck to travel in. Don't last long at all. But hey they were kickdowns so fuck it I guess.
From working at a REI for some time, I feel I can speak a few words about boots.
Getting the right boots are all about the applications your going to use em for. I guess I'll just give some guidelines for choosing an all around good boot.
-Waterproof: if your looking for a boot that is going to be waterproof, i hate saying it but your going to need a pair that has a Gore-tex liner. Other boots that are labeled 'Waterproof' or something similar usually only have a coating that makes them temporarily waterproof, or have a similar cheaper way of 'waterproofing' them. Gore-tex is an actual membrane that sits in between the layers of fabric in the boot. They provide the highest waterproofness while still being breathable. Also, Gore-tex does provide some sort of warranty, so if they start to let water in you can usually send 'em for a repair/new pair. (to make sure, gore-tex boots will always have their label on the boot. if you dont see it, its probably not gore-tex)
-The Sole- Sole's are really important because its the area of the boot that will get the most wear (duh). I highly suggest getting a boot with a Vibram sole. Again, i hate touting brands and shit, but Vibram soles are GUARENTEED FOR LIFE. so once you wear it out, you can bring them to a vibram sponsored shoe cobler, or send them in and get them completely re-soled FOR FREE! this is great. i have seen 10+ year old boots with new soles and it makes the boot look brand new! any boot with vibram soles will have it stamped on the bottom.
-Insulation? if your looking for something on the warmer side, going with an all leather boot, especially with a gore-tex liner, will be the best option. i talked to a lot of serious hikers/backpackers that used all leather boots even in the winter. the leather + the gore-tex liner makes for a warm boot, esp with the right socks. if your not looking for something super warm, they make boots that are mostly leather with some mesh vent holes. as long as they have the gore-tex liner THEY WILL BE WATERPROOF - even the mesh.
-Stiffness: This is important! depending on what you carry, your going to want a boot with a STIFF SOLE. stiff soles provide better support. if your planning on carrying heavier gear, your going to want a stiff sole. in general, stay away from soles that you can bend easily. stiffer=better. word to the wise: stay away from boots with 'steal shanks' etc in the sole. these just make the boot heavier and are generally on cheaper boots! good boots these days dont use 'steal shanks' anymore. i think its some sort of carbon or hard plastic.
-Other stuff: if your planning on carrying heavier stuff or need more support for your knees?back, get a boot that sits higher up on your ankle. these will be more supportive. make sure the boots have a removable in-sole. make sure the boots have good laces-they will rip if they suck!
Good places to find boots: Places like REI and EMS and maybe other outdoor stores usually have an in house brand that sells for cheaper but are made by the big brands. these are usually good buys. Also, REI has these things called yardsales where they take all the used/returned/'damaged' gear and set up a sale in the back of the store and sell everything for REALLY CHEAP. i'm talking insanley cheap. all you have to do is be an REI member ($15 or so for a lifetime membership) and ask when the next yardsale will be. generally they are every few months.
If anyone has any other specific questions concerning boots or certain brands, ask away. I sold boots/hiking shoes for a solid year and talked to a lot of experienced people about these things.
these are going to be comfy but not very rugged. Merrell makes really comfy boots, but most ones, like these, aren't designed for real abuse. the sole wont be that stiff, and i'm sure if you squeezed that boot it'll have a pretty softy feel to it. also, they are only 'waterproof'. like it says in the description, you can get em a bit wet, maybe the occasional puddle, but other than that forget it. these suckers will soak the water right up. no good.
I put the Solomans to the test yesterday... I took a 10mi hike over abandoned rails, gravel, rotten, slippery, and uneven ties, overgrown grass. For a light, mid cut boot... they're pretty sturdy, and real comfortable to walk in... nice to run in too! Not a blister on my foot It's been raining for the past two days so they got wet, and stayed pretty dry until I misjudged a jump and ended up with a foot in a ditch, and ended up submerging the other one up to the laces. They're good for a rain and wet grass, but I wouldn't go around stomping in puddles or snow. Im going to get them on trails today.
igot for most things with vibram soles, iv been gettin marine boots from my brother, an theyre fuckn amazing, dry out faster than anythign when they do get wet, but yeh iguess youcould find em at an army surplus?
just got some danner vandals for my birthday. fucking amazing shit goretex lined, etc. as far as i know, danner is the best boot company out there. better than red wing. loggers swear by them, and the farmer im staying with says his redwings (hes had many pairs) crap out on him after a few years. especcially since the cow shit has chemicals and acids that eteriorate shoes. but he swears danners are the best...im stoked!
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