Sunday, April 10, 2016

Suggestions For Good Hiking Boots?

I've been buying my boots from Big 5 or Sports Authority for some time now.

Columbia, Hi-Tech, Denali, I've bought all of them, and I'm getting a little tired of the spotty quality on them.

The laces in particular have the life expectancy of a Kleenex during flu season, and an almost new pair (couple of months old) just had BOTH laces snap!

I bought some really good laces via Amazon a while back, so I'm covered there, and I have several hundred feet of "550" paracord, so I can always make "Heavy Duty" laces that will probably outlast the boots!

Not looking for $300 boots, just something better than the $50 "on Sale" ones I always seem to get.

I switched from wearing good "tennis" shoes and cross-trainers to the boots 10 or 12 years ago to get better ankle support. I busted one ankle and dislocated the other one (yep, at the same time!) around 1985, and as I got older and more active outdoors, I needed something better with more ankle support.

The soles on most of the hikers I've tried have always given me good traction on dirt and in the wet, so I don't need any exotic Tacticool soles, either.

Not looking for full height combat boots, either, just some decent "mid length" hikers.

Any suggestions?


  1. The answer to that depends on what sort of hiking. Casual day hikes? Long treks? What sort of trails and weather?

    However, if there's a Cabela's nearby, definitely look at Meindl. I also like Keen, which is a whole different sort of boot.

    1. Good questions.

      There are for day-to-day use. Most of the hiking I do is on what I guess you'd call "improved" trails.

      I'm too damn old and busted up to anything really adventurous!

  2. Jim, here's some info.

    1. Cool. I'll check REI. They have a couple of stores in the area.

  3. I'm just like youapparently.
    I have to have steel toes for work and got tired of spending 200 bucks a year on boots.
    I have been buying mine at Big 5 also for about 50 and they last the same amount of time.

    The problem I have been having with them is the insides breaking down, it doesn't matter if I put insoles in them or not.
    I just bought a new pair last Friday.
    A pair of Dickeys.

    We shall see how they hold up.
    I go buy leather laces as soon as I see an issue with them.

    I would be very interested in hearing what you come up with and how they hold up so let me know.

    1. I've got a pair of steel-toe Dickeys I bought YEARS ago. Really good boots, and very comfortable.

      DUH...forgot about leather laces, and just got some "heavy duty" fabric/cord ones!

  4. LLBean midweight high top waterproof hikers....I wore a pair for 8 months before starting my thru-hike on the AT in 2011. The boots finally fell apart in NY. Best hiking boots ever.

  5. I am still walking in a pair of jungle boots made in 1966. Para cord laces last about six months in the field. Old school black USGI nylon bootlace lasts about 30 years if you wash them every few months. ---Ray

  6. My wife is a YUGE fan of SWAT boots. Got a pair at the local gun show a few years ago, still loves them. I've never tried any on, so I can't comment myself. (that vendor stopped coming to the shows). A quick look here shows a lot of options in the $70 to $100 range.

  7. after 30 years of lowest bidder combat boots, lowa renegade gtx's are the only thing i can wear all day without pain. they're a tad expensive at 200 but worth it.

  8. Thanks, everybody, for all the tips and suggestions!

  9. I worked as a contractor in Afghanistan for 6 years after I retired from the military. Like you I went through boots like crazy. The mil issue Danner's would last about 9 months but it took 3 months to break them in and they were not that comfortable. Most other boots did well to last 6 months. The boots that I finally found to be comfortable and durable were the Merrell Moab. I have been home for a little over two years and I got a new pair of Moab's - in this environment I expect them to last many years.

  10. Thanks, Tony.

    I remember always hearing good things about Merrell boots.

    The price for Moabs is around $130~$150 (direct from Merrell) depending on "options", and they look like just about what I want.

    I'll definitely check those out further!

  11. Skeechers sargents. And Caterpillar boots at Fred Meters. Wear like iron. I brush off the factory finish with fingernail brushes (stiff bristle brushes for washing dirty hands). Then I rub in some olive oil to treat the leather and darken to my taste in boots. I also make a spare set of laces with 550 cord just to have when needed.

    1. Caterpillar boots have always been good. Thanks for reminding me about those.


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