Monday, 7 December 2009

Boots

There are many alternatives, but the main choice (after price) seems to be leather vs. synthetic. There are many leather options, ranging from velskoen to some pretty hardcore bonded-sole, last-you-a-lifetime boots. The market moves pretty fast so I'm a bit out-of-date with what's now available. In reasonably-priced synthetic boots, the choice of brand seems to be Hitec or nothing, but there are more expensive options in GoreTex.

Jim Green boots are a top quality leather product, or so I'm told - I haven't owned a pair yet. They're made in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, and can even be ordered online. And of course there's K-Way, the Cape Union Mart brand.

Hitec has a wide range of boots. Their synthetic boots are typically very comfortable (more so than leather boots) and don't require much wearing-in. Synthetic boots definitely aren't as durable as leather, though, and unless they specifically say waterproof, they're certainly not, although even leather boots or synthetic "waterproof" boots are seldom really waterproof after extended wetting. I would recommend Hitecs over leather boots for the novice or occasional hiker. Avoid the Hitech Utah, though. I had a pair for casual use, but they were definitely not tough enough for real hiking.

For the pro hiker with tough feet, consider going for a leather boot. Various options are available, some imported and some made locally. I'm not familiar with the brands at present - for a while I had a pair of Dachsteins. They done a lot of distance in all sorts of conditions. At the moment I'm using a more mundane pair of Hitec boots.

1 comment:

Rafe said...

I swear by La Sportiva. The toughest is the Tibet - single piece of leather with no seams. I walked through the sole before the uppers showed any problems. The Halites are synthetic and super-light and comfortable. They took me through the Rim of Africa, Patagonia, Oorlogskloof and some others before tearing. So I'm back to the Tibet....