Hiking Boots



A ‘waterproof’ label on hiking boots is no guarantee! Here’s my own experience.

My ‘old faithful’ hiking boots, bought probably 12 or more years ago, I can’t even remember the make, were finally completely worn out after a 320km stretch of the Camino Santiago de Compostela.

I came back from the Camino in June 2012, so couldn’t wait until the Christmas sales and started browsing the outdoor shops in Dublin. Thought about online purchase and have done that for some outdoor footwear but serious hiking boots are too critical and I’ll cover online purchase another time.

My old boots were full grain leather – they were brilliant – but most Camino walkers were using lighter, fabric walking boots and shoes, most likely with a Goretex lining – necessary as it can sometimes be wet on the Camino. So these were in the frame too.

Spotted a pair of a well-known brand, fabric, waterproof (‘Ion Mask’) on a sale (not at one of the two big outdoor businesses in Dublin!) and they fitted very well, full height ankle support, great Vibram sole – ‘I’ll have them, thanks!’. Super-comfortable from the word go.

Later on in the year I became a tad concerned about the ‘waterproof’ bit as the toe-part of the sock on the left boot became damp after a long walk in dewy grass. But if it was a leak it was only very slight and I thought it would be hard to make a case for a refund as it wasn’t certain there was a leak.

Ok, applied lots of Nikwax Fabric & Leather water-proofer and anyway didn’t do much serious walking early in the winter season as I’m not really into squelching about in the muck in horrible weather!

I put lots of miles on them during the next walking season including a 85km stretch of the Wicklow Way and they were super.

But the problem showed up big-time when I went for an extended walk with a group this Spring. The walk had lots of blanket bog which means more often than not as you step at least the toe section of the boot is submerged in mucky peat. After an hour or so I might as well have been walking in open sandals! Not good!

I think I will get in touch with the manufacturer to let them know and suggest it’s reasonable for them to do something about it.

Seems to me that in the end you get what you pay for!

They are useless as wet-season hiking boots so I went and bought a pair of Zamberlan Vioz full grain leather boots on the January sales just passed. Cost a few bob but they have about 60km on them now and they are fantastic!

Zamberlan Vioz HIking Boots

Zamberlan Vioz HIking Boots

My suggestion? Do your research, reputation and proven quality is better long-term value than ‘cheapest’!

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