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Old 01-25-2013, 10:20 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 10
Advice on boots

Hello everyone,

My girlfriend and I have been hiking for several years but are getting much more into mountaineering and peak bagging. We live in Northern NJ but make regular trips into the Catskills and are now eyeing the Adirondacks for many obvious reasons. We have the necessary clothing now for climbing in all four seasons but we need help with boots.

Based on what I've been reading, there is a debate over what boots are appropriate/necessary for winter. Some suggest all out plastic mountaineering boots while others argue that using a "winter boot" is fine so long as it is waterproof and able to easily attach crampons to which I know are important in the Cats as well as at higher elevations in the ADKs. Am I on the right path with this thinking? I should note that we both have had knee issues over the years (especially her) and the thinking seems to be that as such, boots with lesser stiffness combined with stronger ankles is the best combo. Do you agree? In short, We both plan to dive into the world of mountaineering full force so we don't want to cheap out on something, or to get an "intro level" boot that will not allow us to quickly move into very strenuous/technical climbs. Any suggestions?

We also need new three-season boots (she has crappy ones and I'm not completely sold on my Vasque Breeze's for technical climbs - they may be lacking some necessary support, they have lost some waterproofing, and I think they make for a good backup pair on my pack in some cases since they are so light!) Again, we need versitile boots that allow for a comfortable hike/climb while also allowing for 10+ miles of strenuous, technical day/overnight hiking while staying dry! Campmor suggested the Asolo Fugitive GTX's but they have mixed reviews. Any suggestions? Again, keep in mind that she and I both have had knee issues and plan to build ankle muscle for more support regardless of the stiffness of the boot...

Thanks for the help everyone. I'd list the boots we've been looking at besides the Fugitives but the list is pretty extensive as I can be a little obsessive when it comes to getting the right gear...


A few boots that I've been looking at:


raichle all degree lite GTX - quality issues?

Asolo TPS 520 - Multiple seasons including some winter?

Kayland Apex Trek - three seasons including some winter?

Winter - Merrell Isotherms

Sportiva Makalus - mild/cold weather but I've heard they can be uncomfortable with intense hiking.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:54 AM   #2
DSettahr's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5,208
What kind of winter boot you get is going to vary depending on your specific winter activity. If you're planning to do overnights, than something with a removable liner is going to make a huge difference in comfort. If you're looking to do just day hikes, than a regular insulated winter boot will probably be fine. Plastic boots are overkill in most situations in the northeast in winter, but some people swear by them all season long. It's difficult to find non-plastic boots with removable liners that can handle crampons, though.

As far as a 3 season boot, I'm on my 3rd pair of Asolo TPS 520s, and I love them. They are comfortable and durable. I wouldn't ever use them in winter, though- there's no way they'd be warm enough. They are definitely a 3 season boot.

Boots are tricky though- you're going to get a lot of mixed opinions on them. What works for one person might not work for the next. What is most important is to find something that works for you. Try on everything, and in multiple sizes. Be sure to consider trail runners to in addition to boots- many hikers prefer them instead of hiking boots. Make sure you're wearing hiking socks when you try the boots on. Be sure to test them out on the incline ramp in the store- go up and down enough to tell if you're likely to get hot spots/blisters. After purchasing them, wear them around for a bit and test them out on an easy trail to make sure they are still right for you.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:59 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 7
I second DSettahr; I am on my second pair of Asolo TPS 520s and am looking to buy my third this spring. Great boot I would recommend them to anyone looking for a full grain leather boot. I have however used these on late winter mountaineering trips and they worked well with crampons and micro spikes. If you do decide to go with this boot and they have your size Sierra Trading Post has them at a great price.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:10 AM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 8
For warm weather use I have a pair of Five Ten Exum Guide's. They're beefier than a trail runner but not as sturdy as a true hiking boot, which I find to be a great compromise. They have amazing grip on bare rock even when wet. I have actually climbed some very low fifth class routes with them (the toes are too wide for anything more difficult). For me, they are about as comfortable as you can get. However, if ankle stability is a concern they're definitely a bit lacking.

I am still experimenting with winter boots myself so I can't be of much help there. However, the only plastic boots you will find on my feet in the winter are my telemark boots. I just haven't found the need for something that substantial, so far anyway.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:52 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 10
Thanks for the help, everyone!

I've been leaning toward the Asolo 520 tps but I am also interested in the Sportiva Trango Trek Gts boots. Some have even said you can get four seasons out of them with the right socks as long as you're not in temperatures below 20 or perhaps super hot (for colder weather or extreme ice climbing I would use something different - probably the Trango Evo Extremes). They also seem to work with crampons and provide the comfort of a medium weight boot with the strength of a heavy boot. Does anyone have any experience with these?
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:53 PM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2013
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*I mean sportiva extremes in my reference to winter boots! Oops
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