I've put most of these boots through the paces by either wearing them on week-long hunts or wearing them on my daily hikes through some moderate terrain. My ultimate goal was to find the perfect boot for upcoming Mountain Goat, Mountain Caribou and Dall Sheep hunts.
Lowa Tibet - I've owned these for over two years. When I put them on they feel like an old favorite glove. However, in rough terrain they are not my favorite. For some reason my right foot comes away sore after severe hiking. Overall a pretty awesome boot. I wear them for everyday use and like them, however, they will not be my go to mountain boot. For the right person, these should be fantastic boots.
Lowa/Schnee Sheephunter's - These are the boots I keep coming back to. The fit is incredible and I can wear them all day any day in any terrain. At the end of the day, I usually come back to these. The only downside to this boot is that they are a little heavier than the rest of the boots tested.
Lowa Hunter Extreme - This boot is very similar to the Sheephunter. The only differences are the type of insulation, and the stitching. They appear also to be a little different finish but overall the same boot. Another favorite of mine. These are my "go to" snow shoeing boots.
Lowa Ranger - Very comfortable boot, but not enough boot for me. I wear these everyday for work but struggle with them in the field.
Meindel/Cabelas Alaskan - One of the first boots I tested. The fit wasn't perfect for me on these, so field use was limited. Ended up giving them to my brother. Durablity was also suspect for me.
Meindel/Cabelas Denali - I wanted to like these, but they just didn't fit, and the "crease" killed my toes. Sent them back to Cabelas.
Kennetrek Hard Scrabble - These are great little boots. I don't know that there is enough boot here for extreme mountain hunting or not. I love the boots on gentle terrain, but the heels really dig in to me on severe incline. I am hoping this gets better as they are broke in. I wish this was an 8 inch boot.
Han Wag Alaskan GTX - This is a solid, iron clad boot. THe seams at the end of the laces bug me a little bit. More so on the right foot than the left. Overall, a solid performer for the right fit.
Crispi Spider HTG - These didn't fit me at all. The volume of the boot was huge for me and the slope towards the toe box hit me wrong. Looks like a real solid boot however for a person with a large volume foot. I took them out of the box, tried them on and sent them back.
Cabelas 50th Anniversary Meindel - Not enough experience with this boot to form an opinion yet. I haven't even wore them in the field yet.
Overall, I think all of these boots are decent boots. My least favorite of the bunch have been the Meindels and the Crispi. More so due to fit than anything else. Unless the Cabelas Boots show me something special, the Lowa/Schnee Sheephunters will be my boot of choice for my extreme hunts next year.
It's been fun trying all of these. If anyone is a size 12 and would like to try some of these boots, there are a few I'd part with for a great price. (NOT THE SCHNEE"S though!)
Like I said...I love putting the Tibets on. But when I do some extreme hiking my right foot is killing me when I'm done and I can't narrow down the problem.
What do the Lathrop insoles do to the volume of the boot? If I remember correctly, they take up a lot of room?
On the Lowa/Schnee Sheephunters how much are they and how waterproof are they? I have a hard time finding a boot that doesnt leak...even when they say they are waterproof...they leak. Even the new Danners I bought last year leak. again thanks for the info..very helpful
Mountain Caribou with Arctic Red in September of 2012.
Dall Sheep - 2013 - Destination unknown. Quite possibly Arctic Red.
I've put WAY too much $$$ into this project, but if your feet aren't happy, nothing is happy in the Mountains. When I started this project two years ago, I ordered three pair of boots with the idea I'd keep one pair and send the others back. Well, I not only kept all three, but I ordered three more to try! Now I have a collection of boots that my friends just shake their heads at.
Have you every talked with the Lathrop guys about your foot pain? They may be able to help.
I haven't talked to the guys at Lathrop since I bought the Han Wags and will look into their insoles but I'm afraid most of the boots I currenty have don't have enough volume left for their insoles and getting a 1/2 size larger in any of these boots isn't an option as I would have to go from a 12 to a 13. Maybe the UK/Euro sizing in the Han Wag would go up 1/2 but I just don't love the Han Wag's.
Where does it hurt on your foot? You may try some of the Sol (heat moldable) insoles. Get the thinnest one and try that. Might be a lack of arch support/pressure on top of your instep combination?
The Sheep Hunters are great boots. I haven't met a Lowa boot I didn't like. The Cabela's Meindl boots did not impress me in the least (Denali, Perfekt Hiker).
I just keep coming back to the Sheep Hunters. The only downsides I see are that I don't need an insulated boot for this type of hunting and the weight of the boot. Other than those two things, they are perfect.
I may try the Lathrop foot beds in some of these boots and will look in to the "sols"...
My Sheep Hunters seem to be a slightly wider last than my Baffins. Could be the issue.
Best of luck on your upcoming hunts.
For warm weather long hikes, with low pack weight, the Lowa Renegades are the ticket. Waterproof, lightweight and holding up great after three years.
The Danner Pronghorns do everything ok but nothing great. After an hour of hiking them always seem to get that mushy feeling, the Waterproofing held up great for about a year then slow leaks started. I've owned them for four years. These will not be my choice for an August BC goat hunt.
I've had the Lowa Tibets around a year now and after twenty to thirty hours of breakin they are my favorite boot. This is one of the few boots that you hear no complaints on and for good reason. The Tibets do everything great, if your an Elk, Mule Deer, Goat, Sheep or even turkey and whitetail hunter you can and will use these boots. The only reason I still wear my Proghorns is to prolong the life of my Tibets.
The Crispi Kanadas have a very unique fit and feel that at first I wasn't sure they would work at all but after many hours at work and in the field they have broke in very nice. Like Kota man said the upsloped toe box was weird at first but I've really grown to like the fit and feel. Theyalmost have an aggressive/athletic feel to them that seems to ease foot fatigue on long days. The Kanadas are my #1a boot.
I use superfeet insoles for my Lowa Renegades and Danner Proghorns but use my stock insoles for the Tibets and Kanadas. I know thats weird but I like the stock insoles just as well as the superfeet in the later two boots.
I've been able to put a few miles on the Cabelas/Meindel 50th Anniversary boot. Let me start off by saying I have NOT been a fan of Meindel Boots. In the Cabelas Meindels I've never felt the value was there for what you get. Not only that, the two pairs I've owned didn't fit me the best.
Well, the 50th Anniversary boots are a completely different animal. They aren't as stiff soled as the Lowas or Kenetreks so I don't know if they would do as well in extreme terrain, but around here in hill country they have been great.
The leather is soft, comfortable and appears very durable and after a little break-in, they fit me great. I definately found my "moderate" terrain boot. They aren't going to replace my Lowa Sheephunters for extreme terrain, but are a nice alternative boot for lesser terrain.
I think I've solved my Lowa Tibet issue as well. Quite simply, the boot isn't wide enough for me. (thanks Matt) This could very well be the perfect early season Mt. Boot if the Wides fit me. Haven't decided if I am going to order the Wides yet, as I have an over supply of boots at the moment.
The other boot that impress me the more I wear them for "moderate" terrain is the Kenetrek Hardscrabble. Will probably be my go to early season elk boot.
The only boot I haven't tried that peaks my curiosity is the unisulated Kenetrek Mountain Extremes. I should've included this boot in my testing, but never gave it a chance.
What excellent reviews you are the (kota)man!
I am interested in purchasing a size 12 boot. Your reviews suggest that every pair you now own might meet my needs,perhaps excepting the Crispi.
Let me know if any of your (used) boots are for sale.
I've had a chance this spring to put on quite a few miles on the Lowa Sheephunters, the Cabeleas Meindel 50th Anniversary Boot, and the Kennetrek Hard Scrabbles. In addition, the UPS man just delivered me a pair of WIDE Lowa Tibets to try.
For my upcoming hunts, (Mountain Goat, Mountain Caribou and Dall Sheep) I've narrowed my choice to three:
Lowa Sheephunter - Very comfortable, extreme boot but at times feels like too much boot if there is such a thing on Mountain Goat hunt. The downside to them is that they are quite heavy and warm to wear as they are insulated. I don't think I will need much in the form of insulation on any three of these hunts.
Meindel/Cabelas 50th Anniversary Boot - Still liking these more and more each time I put them on. These are nice boots but may actually not be ENOUGH boot for these three hunts.
Lowa Tibets: I REALLY want these to work out. The Wide size just came today and am wearing them as I type this. Plenty of volume in these and am hoping they are the right size. Will know when I get home and add my Lathrop Insoles and heavy socks. Gonna do a 4 mile hike in the hills in these after work.
As a side note, the Kennetrek Hard Scrabbles are working out ok. I hadn't intended them to be a boot I would wear on these hunts as they are a fairly short hiker, but talk about a perfect elk boot. My only issue with them is that my heels get sore when going up extreme inclines in these. Hopefully, it is a matter of getting them broke in a little better.
I THINK I am done buying boots. I've sold several of the pairs originally tested and am down to 5 pair. (The Sheephunters, the Meindels, the Hard Scrabbles and two pair of Tibets.) At this point if anyone wants to try a pair of Size 12 M Lowa Tibets PM me. They have some miles on them, but are just getting broke in!
Special thanks to Matt for diagnosing the issue with my first pair of Tibets. Can't wait to get the Lathrop insoles in the Wides and give them a work out tonight. Will try to give a FINAL update after I get some miles on the Wide Tibets.
Ending on a positive note...I've lost 35 lbs. putting all these miles on these boots and I'm only 10 lbs. from my goal weight for my August Sheep hunt. Now, the problem is that all of my XXL Sitka Gear is too big!
Secondly, Lowa Sheep Hunters with a Sole insole are one of my favorite boots of all time. That said I bought a pair of Schnee's Beartooths which is a lighter and uninsulated mountain boot and wore them for a year with the Lathrop insole and they were okay. Just recently I replaced the Lathrop insole with green Superfeet. With that insole these boots have now replaced my Sheep Hunters as my all time favorite but they're just a little light for extreme mountain hunts IMO. Schnee's offers another boot called the Granite that's comparible to the Lowa/Schnee's Sheep Hunter configuration and thats the boot I will be buying to replace my Sheep Hunters for use on my next extreme mountain hunt.
I haven't heard many reports about the Schnee's Wilderness line of mountain boots but I know from the moment I tried a pair on at the RMEF of Wild Sheep Convention in Reno (can't remember which one it was...) in 2011 they were extremely comfortable. The uninsulated Bear Tooth is the finest chukar hunting boot I've ever used and I chukar hunt in "sheep" country. The only reason I would want the Granite for a sheep hunt is because I'd likely be carrying 40 to 60 pound packs. When chukar hunting my vest, with water for me and my two pointers, lunch, shells etc. weighs about 25 pounds at the start of the day.
My 400 gram Extremes will begong to Alaska moose hunting this Sept.
Today I put a real rigid fairly high volume Spenco insert in the wide Lowa Tibets (the Lathrop footbed was not high enough volume for these boots, especially in the heel). It is an insert I go to when I need to add some volume to "fill up" a boot. The hike went extremely well and can't wait to get a few more miles on the Wide Tibets.
As of right now, I am down to two boots for these hunts. The Lowa Sheephunters and the Lowa Tibets. I will continue to hike in both throughout the summer and make a decision in August.
Butcherboy...I agree with you 100% on the the Alaskan Hunters and the Perfectks...HOWEVER, this Cabelas 50th Anniversary Boot is a different animal...I just don't think it is enough boot for these hunts.
With any of the boots mentioned the big factor is fit.
Kota, I think these boots only come in 200 gram thinsulate-- is that right? I'd guess I wouldn't want them due to that- they'd be too hot for early season elk and muley hunting. Would you agree?
Rick...I always assumed it was a break-in issue. I probably only have 20 miles on the Hard Scrabbles and they are better in the heel than they were the first couple of hikes. Really leaning towards the Wide Tibets at this point.
I am still in search of the "perfect boot" and my time is running out. Putting a lot of miles on the Lowa Sheephunters and Lowa Tibet in Wide. My issues with these two boots are: Sheephunters - the inside balls of my feet are a little sore after a long hike. I am thinking they may be a bit narrow for my feet. Tibets - The regulars are too narrow and the wides are too wide. I've tried a variety of insoles in both boots and just can't get comfortable.
I am learning that the issue with my feet is that my heels are fairly narrow and my front feet are fairly wide. My foot seems to "swim" in a wide boot but in a regular boot the inside of the balls of my feet ache. My next option is to try lighter socks in the Sheephunters.
As far as insoles go, I have tried Superfeet (Green and Orange), Spenco Gel, Spenco Polysorb Total Support (My favorite) and the Lathrop and Sons Synergy Foot Beds. The Super Feet just don't line up with my arches. The Lathrop and Sons has no arch support built in and the Spencos seem to work the best for me.
On another note, if anyone wants to buy any of the boots above, PM me and I will get you a price. They are all size 12 and for now I would part with the Kennetrek Hard Scrabbles, the Lowa Tibets (Medium Width) and the Lowa Tibet (Wide Width).
If anybody knows the whereabouts of the Lathrop people, let me know!
I had heard rumors about Lathrop's as well, but it appears as though you can still order from the web site...I don't think I'll try though!
I'm with you. I purchased some Lowa Ranger GTX's and was going to send Lathrop's the boots for a footbed. I was given a cell number and have been texting Steve back and forth. He told me to hang on to them. I think they are still in business...haven't heard the rumors. But they do not have any footbeds for my size 8.5 so they may not have any footbeds for you.
I'm looking for alternatives as well.
GR Heads Up Decoy
I found my Mountain Boot! And none too soon as I leave 8/22 for my Mt. Goat Hunt...
The Han Wag Mountain Light GTX fits me like a glove and is a fantastic boot. Put several miles on them this week and overall, they fit me better and feel better than anything I've tried. The Lowa Sheephunter would've worked fine in a pinch but the Lowa Tibets, as much as I wanted them to work, just don't fit my feet right. The Wides are way too wide/too much volume and the regular width hurt my forefoot.
This boot quest has been interesting...I've spent WAY more on boots than I originally planned but feel good about what I've ended up with. The thing best learned here is that not every boot is for everyone. Boots are a VERY personal thing and unfortunately the only way to get it right is to try them in field conditions and that can get expensive.
For me my left foot can wear about anything and be very comfortable. My right foot is a whole different story. My right foot is either very sensitive or very oddly shaped. This has been fun and thanks for reading and following my "boot quest".
Again...If anyone needs a Size 12, shoot me a PM and I will let you know what is available!
I really like these insoles and the fit of the new Tibets with the insoles in them. I think they are going to work out great for me.
So far, the Han Wag Mountain Lights continue to work out great for me. Will probably add the Spencos to them when they get broken in or loosened up.
The Spenco is still may favorite insole by a long shot of the one's I tried.
So now that you have hunted in the Hanwag Mt Lite's, what do you think of them?
I was thinking about ordering a pair of the Mt Lite's to try out for September elk this year. I'm sure they will be fine insulation wise for elk, but thinking long term, I'm wondering if the Mt lites, would be warm enough for the exact hunts you did. What type of temps were you in? Were they warm enough?
I have only used 400 gram boots chasing elk in September and my feet get way over heated. In cold weather hiking here in Michigan, they (Meindel Perfekt) have been more than warm enough for me, but I don't care for the way they fit in the mountains.
I don't know..... I wear Russells..... they can start an argument at times.... I know they did when the statement came in the mail.... =D
hunmaster - I've wore the Mountain Lites on a Mountain Goat Hunt, a Coues deer hunt, a Mountain Caribou hunt and a Desert Sheep hunt. I "like" them, but don't love them. They are just a hair narrow for me and my big toe goes numb when I wear them.
The caribou hunt was in a couple feet of snow and very cold conditions and though my feet got cold, they did fine all things considered.
As long as you are active, the Mountain Lites are going to be plenty warm in most conditions.
Update 5 - Final, Final Update
Like I said above, the Han Wag Mountain Lites were my boot of choice for 2012 and so far in 2013 BUT they are still far from perfect for me. I ordered and tried a pair of Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400's and even after 50 miles they killed my feet and stripped my heels. Kenetreks may work for a lot of guys but they absolutely do not work for me. I have also since bought a pair of Han Wag Trappers. I don't have a ton of miles on these boots, but they definately have potential. They are a very "tall" boot with some light insulation. They are a hair narrower than my Schnee Sheep Hunters but fit me pretty well. I will continue to hike in them and see what materializes.
So, I am now back to my Schnee Sheep Hunters. (again) And unless things change, they will be my boot of choice for my Alaska Dall Sheep hunt in August. The Meindel 50th Anniversary Boot continues to be a go to boot for me as well.
Sierra Trading Post had a deal I could not refuse on the Hanwag Yukons (Non Gortex Version of the Alaska GTX)so I ordered a pair, but haven't had a chance to try them out. Did I say before I was done buying boots? I AM NOW...NO MORE BOOTS.
I have also settled on the Lathrop and Sons Footbeds for most of my boots. Even though they offer no arch support, I like the fact that they are extemely low volume compared to most insoles on the market.
AS of now I have a couple pair of Size 12 boots I'd part with. PM me for details. The list includes Lowa Tibets, Han Wag Mountain Lights and maybe others.
The Hanwag Yukons from Sierra Trading Post were sized wrong, so they went back and no longer had my size. Too bad, looked like a nice boot.
The Lowa Sheephunters continue to be my boot of choice for winter snowshoeing. I really like these boots, but they are starting to break down on me and they are no longer available to buy. The Lowa Hunter Extreme is similar but not the same. The new Lowa Bighorn G3 GTX has me intriqued. I've got a call in to Stephen at Lathrop for some questions and answers before I pull the trigger.
I also picked up a pair of the Cabelas Meindl Hunters this month. Pretty nice 400 gram boot for colder temps. I am anxious to put these through the paces as they are extremely comfortable out of the box.
And Grant (boubound), if you read this, I am back on the Hoyt train again.
Still plenty of size 12's for sale for anyone looking.
My "go to" boots for this fall are the Schnee (Lowa) Sheephunters and my Hanwag Mountain Lights.
I did end up with a pair of Lowa Bighorns from Lathrops and I LOVE them, but my toes hit the ends when I go down hill and I can't make it stop no matter what I try. A size up is too big. Too bad as they are a great boot. Trying several different lacing systems now to see if I can make it stop. The Cabelas Meindl Hunters went back to Cabelas as they were too sloppy in the heel for me.
Also ended up ordering a pair of Salomon Quest 4D GTX for warmer weather and trail hiking.
The more I wear my Mountain Lights, the more I like them. Are they perfect? No, but I am really liking them. Same goes for the Schnee Sheephunters. Too bad, I don't think you can buy either one of these boots any more as Lathrop appears to be on the outs with Hanwag and Schnee's no longer puts their name on the Lowas.
The Schnee's will be my boot of choice on the sheep hunt this fall. The Mountain Lights did great this past year on AZ Coues in the snow, Mountain Caribou in the DEEP snow, Moutain Goat in BC and most recently Desert Bighorn in Mexico. A couple of those hunts I was wishing I had the Sheephunters but the Mountain Lights did fine in those extreme conditions.
Kota, let us know what you think of the Quest, I think I would like a pair of those too.
This good enough to archive!!!
The Quests should be here tomorrow.
Just recieved the Salomon Quest 4D GTX. Initial impressions are pretty good. Fore foot is a little snug, but should loosen up. Heel is generous but not sloppy. Will take them on a hike tonight or tomorrow night.
I just bought a pait of Lowa Khumbas from Lathrop. They fit well, we'll see how they hold up! My Renegade LL did not make it a year.
My feet eat boots....the only ones they couldn't kill are my HW Alaskans.
My feet are very fatigued after 5 miles in these. Feels like I've been in them all day. I am going to try an aftermarket footbed to remedy this as the factory insoles in these are crap.
Overall, they are a decent boot, probably as good as boots get in this class. I think a good footbed will improve them 10 fold. Gonna give them a try in AZ on my Coues hunt in September.
I have the Tibets...I was looking at the Quest for a light weight easy hiker/trainer for some fun in Gatlinburg, TN & Bryson City, NC (The closest mountains I have to go to). I'm sure my Lowas will do just fine.
For one, I could have gotten them off of another site for 130$ and for two, the folks I trust that have used them say they are crap...
Man, I really wanted the Mountain Lites... This stinks.
I think I am just going to send them right back.
I don't think the Quests are crap, it's just that they aren't a Mountain Boot. If you take them for what they are, they are decent. (The footbeds are, however, CRAP)
Don't feel bad about the price...I paid absolute top dollar buying mine from Cabelas, but I had $220 in points burning a hole in my pocket. I'll wear mine, just not on any Mountain Hunts. They will also be a good early season whitetail boot.
I had "higher" expectations for this boot as well, but they will still serve a purpose in the boot arsenal.
Why can't a company put a decent footbed in a $230 boot?
GREAT BOOT THREAD!!!! I've also been on a life long quest for the "perfect" boot. I have probably spent equal amounts and have tested just about every boot available. I would like to add to your discussion as I have questions and advise that may help others! So far in my quest I have learned that boots are like just like any other shoe. You might wear tennis shoes for a jog but you would never use them for backpacking. The same is true for boots, some boots are great for warm weather bow hunts, while others are great for colder higher climate hunts. From my experience there is no "perfect boot for "all" types of hunting as you mentioned in some of your earlier posts.
That being said; the Salomon Quest 4D has been my favorite warm weather backpacking/hunting boot. It offers great flexibility combined with stiffness for hunting hard on bivy type hunts. My biggest and only complaint with the boot is durability. My first pair failed exactly one year after purchase (the Gore-Tex failed) I put on roughly 350 miles in that year.
I've either tried or owned all of the boots mentioned in this thread except the scarpa's. Lowa's are nice boots but are way to stiff for my feet. I have normal width, narrow heel size 12 "fragile" feet. Superb cushioning is a must for my feet. Kenetreks have been the most durable of any boot I've owned but they kill my feet after a 20 mile day. They are also too narrow and tall and I roll my ankles easily in these boots. The insoles are junk and the foot volume is too low to put in an adequate replacement. I really like the Schnees'/Lowa sheep hunters but they are too still for my needs. I primarily backcountry mule deer and elk hunt. The Lowa Ranger is a nice boot but not "perfect". I'm currently running the new Danner Crag Rat which is a stiff mid sized hiker similar to the Asolo 520-GV. This is the most comfortable stiff boot I have found thus far however I do get heel rub on steep inclines. Hasn't caused blisters yet but I've only put on 15 miles. Very durable boot. I think I may try the Schnees Bighorn. It felt nearly as comfortable with a little more room in the toe box and heel area.
I noticed you also struggle with the insole battle. I have stumbled upon the Sof Sole Brand. Specifically my new favorite go-to insole is the Airr. found here: https://sofsole.com/product/Airr This sole requires quite a bit of space but offers supreme comfort for long heavy treks. I run the athletic version is my boots that don't have the room for the Airr and I also run the Athletic sole in my running shoes. I have the Airr Ortho on order to try also and will report back. They have some great sole's to try and highly recommend.
Thanks for sharing this info.
The tongue area on the uppers starts to squeak when walking.
Kota-man...did you stick with the Quest's? and which Spenco footbed did you go with?
I like the Quests for light duty, but cannot wear them in the mountains. Too much movement for me. (Sole is not stiff enough, nor is the upper) But, for hilly country, light hiking and the flatlands they work great. Like i said before, they are what they are...A hiking boot on steroids.
Can't say I've ever had the "squeeky boot" issue...
Might have to move to the mountain lites.
Since my last post, I've tried yet a couple more pairs of boots and may now have very well found the PERFECT boot for me. I have not been this excited about a boot since my first pair of Lowa Sheephunters.
KUIU/Zamberlan Pamir - Pre-ordered these from KUIU and spend a considerable time wearing these around the house making sure I had the right size. They felt good around the house but the boot is EXTREMEMLY stiff. After settling on a size I took them on a hike. I knew immediately these were not for me. The forefoot was too narrow and my heels slipped worse than the Kenetrek's I've tried. Although these may very well be one of the best technical hunting boots ever made for the mountains, they are not for me. Off to Ebay they went.
My last purchase was back to one of Lowas latest offerings. The new Lowa (Lathrop and Sons) Cevedale Tech Light Hunters. This boot could very well be the best all around boot I've ever tried. Stiff enough for the mountains, but light and comfortable enough for the plains. The boot reminds me a little bit of the Hanwag Mountain Lights, but the fit for me is much better. Ample room in the forefoot and nice and snug in the heel.
In my boot quest, a common theme keeps reappearing. It appears as though the best boots for my foot fit wise are Lowas. My current arsenal of boots that have make the "keeper" list consists of the heavily worn Lowa Sheephunters, Lowa Bighorn GTX (awesome mountain boot) and the Lowa Cevedale Tech Lights.
If you want an all around/do all boot, give the new Lowa Cevedale Tech Lights from Lathrop and Sons a look. I think they are great...
All the discussion about boots points out how personal fit is. In my case, with B width feet 95% of the boots on the market simply don't and won't fit. Trying to take a boot built for a wide American foot work for narrow feet doesn't work. Any posters have narrow feet and good luck with a brand?
Often overlooked is the important of a good heel cup, especialy when the going gets steep and packing weight. Danners are well made and come in narrow widths, but they have no heel cup. Once your heels slide up and down you are done- major blisters in short order. Another poster noted that problem with Danner. Vasque is another well constructed brand that has unfortunately in my experience has very little heel cup and destroys my feet in short order.
It takes me years to find good boots. I have a pair of custom WC Russsel's that are great in dry weather. I specified the laces to run way down towards the toe, so my feet are locked in. Russell doesn't offer a Goretex option though, so if moisture could be an issue (and it usually is eh?), I have to use a different brand.
I bought a pair of italian made Cabelas leather boots several years ago and liked them so much I immediately bought another pair. Went to the Cabelas site just now and sure enough they are no longer offered. Have a favorite pair of Chipewa's that I waited too long to order another and they no longer make them, so I learned my lesson.
Another key to having good boots is taking good care of the ones you have. Cleaning them after use, drying them slowly, and using a really good leather treatment really helps keep them going. Obenaufs leather preservative made from beeswax is really good.
Unfortunately a lot of the boots these days are almost impossible to resole. I ask the manufacturer's reps at the shows if the boots can be resoled, and when they (always) say yes, I ask by whom? Crickets. Anybody have good luck getting resoled wtih those fancy go-up-the-side soles? Who does it, and what do they charge?
As discussed, boots are highly personal, but with how you describe your foot, I would definetly give them a try. I have been and continue to be very happy with them (and am wearing them now as I type).
Best of Luck,
*Lowa Sheephunters continue to be my favorite boot, however, they have about "given up the ghost" and new ones cannot be found. The Lowa Hunter Extreme is close, but not the same. The replacement for me on this boot is the new Lowa Bighorn GTX.
*Lowa Bighorn GTX - Perfect fit for my foot shape. (Narrow heel, wide forefoot). The sole on this boot is awesome. Great on the rocks.
*Prior to finding the Bighorns, I tried the Schnees Granite boot. Although this appears to be a great boot, it just didn't fit me. I ended up with Wides (which were not much if any wider than "D" width boots). The boot was too narrow in the forefoot and too sloppy in the heel. None the less, this should be a great mountain boot for the right foot shape.
So, things haven't changed too much since my last post. My "go to" boots this fall will be the Lowa Bighorn GTx. For lighter duty, the Lowa Cevedales will get the nod, however, I would not be afraid to wear these on any mountain hunt. The Cevedales will replace my Hanwag Mt. Lites. The Mountain Lites treated me well, but did make my big toes numb in the mountains. I think they are a hair narrow for me.
Thanks for following along on this "quest". Believe it or not, it appears to be OVER as I just ordered a back up pair of Lowa Bighorns GTX that should now last me several years/hunts to come.
Boots are very personal and if I learned one thing through this whole process is IF you find a boot that is perfect for you, buy an extra pair or two. Had I done that to start with with the Schnee Lowa Sheephunters, it would've saved me a couple thousand dollars for sure...THE END.
williamtell...good point. My arches have fallen the last couple years, giving me a bulging forefoot and longer foot in general.
The new Schnee boots just don't fit anything like the Sheephunters. The boot that most resembles the Sheephunter is still the Lowa Hunter Extreme. I am wondering if the new version isn't even closer to the Sheephunter than the old version was. I would like to try the new version of the Hunter Extreme on sometime to compare. In fact, if I could ever sell some of these boots, I'd give them a try as a late season boot. Anybody need some size 12's?
I'm heading to the Yukon in late Sept 2015 for a caribou hunt. Shopping for a pair of boots this summer/fall.
I've thought about going the custom route but just really never pursued it.
rtkreaper...I am sure those Baffins would be great for ice fishing, but I just couldn't see hiking the mountains in Baffins.
Not much has changed for me since my last post. Lowa Bighorn continues to be my go to boot in the mountains. I have worn them on an Alaska Brown Bear hunt and an Alaska Dall sheep hunt and they performed flawlessly and my feet have never been more comfortable on a hunt. However, my Hanwag Mountain Lites have been resurrected and have gone into the #2 spot for me. The Lowa Cevedales round out my top 3.
I did end up ordering a pair of the "new and improved" Lowa Hunter Extremes. I'm still working on breaking these in but they appear to be a winner for me. They are a little taller than the Bighorns and cut just a hair narrower. They won't replace the Bigorns, but will be a great "winter" boot.
Good luck in your search for boots Grant. Try a bunch on and go with what feels right. My problem is that they all feel pretty good in the store or at home. Hard for me to make a judgement until I get them hiking in the hills.
FWIW I keep coming back and re-reading this thread as I'm trying to make up my mind on a couple of pairs. Heading to Denver next week, I will probably swing by REI and try on a few of the Lowa's.
Not many good places to get a good mountain boot in Omaha!