Saturday, June 6, 2015

Breaking in New Hiking Boots

Testing the waterproofness

I am breaking in a new pair of hiking boots before our Katmai trip at the end of the month. Why would I wait until only three weeks before our trip to get new hiking boots, you might ask? Well, there is an actual story.

I have wide feet, as you may know. A few years ago I found that Lowa made a wide boot that actually fit my feet (for the most part), and I bought a pair (and had them stretched in the width so that they fit better). They were leather with GoreTex and when I first used them they were perfectly waterproof. They were also very light weight and in general, I really liked them, as much as someone with double E feet can ever like a stiff boot. But, the waterproofness didn't last long and the stitching started to come apart. Despite those things, the soles still have A LOT of life left in them. I considered just getting a new pair, but I was afraid the same thing would happen again.

As far as I have found, there are only two brands that make a women's wide hiking boot, at least a serious hiking boot: Vasque and Lowa. Vasque makes two styles - I have tried them both and they are decidedly too narrow. Every few months I google the terms "women's wide hiking boot" in the hopes that someone has started to make a new one. After years of searching, I found that Lowa is indeed making a new women's wide boot, one that's even sturdier. Lowa didn't actually have any in stock though. I spent a couple of days searching high and low on the internet and finally found an online store in Oregon that had exactly one pair in my size/width.

I am very hopeful that these boots are going to work out for me. As far as I can tell the material looks much more likely to stay waterproof over time than my old boots. They are very tight in the toe box, but one can only expect so much from a stiff boot. When I hiked the Mt. Magnificent Trail with them last weekend I only got one tiny blister which isn't bad at all. Let's hope it only gets better from there!

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