Your best general all rounder Boots, all terrain, all climates

DJ*

Lofty Wiseman
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I think anyone who does a lot in the wilderness will understand the importance of a great pair of boots. With all our feet and activity requirements different I bet boots vary widely, but I'm interested in members views on their best all round boot experiences.

I generally need an all round boot, fit for long hiking with heavy loads in all terrains and climate extremes, but with good support and good mobility. Over the years I have used most brands I reckon, Scarpa, Lowa, Hanwags, Altbergs, Salomon, Asolo, Vasque, etc. The list would be long and despite all the marketing hype about new technologies and materials what matters is comfort, durability and performance in the field. I have spent lots of dollars on boots in the past, but still seen some terrible failures. A sole coming off or splitting on a weekender with the Mrs may be a pain, but the same on a long deployment with work in a hostile and remote part of the globe could be disastrous.

For the last few years I have settled on Bates. I picked up a superb pair of Bates combat hikers in the UK about 4 years ago and were so thrilled with them I snapped up a spare pair of the same from Platatac in Melbourne about two years ago. Both are still going fine and are superb in all terrain and climates, although I also have a pair of Bates Tora Bora with the insulated inners for when I'm away above the snow line for any extended periods.

With these Bates boots now hard to get hold of and the day in which replacements are due not too far away, what are others favourites and why and where can you get them?

I've seen a few interesting pairs of boots in members hiking photos so keen to learn from what you love and hate about boots past and present. DJ.
 

apsilon

Mors Kochanski
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I grabbed a pair of Bates when they were being run out by Platatac as well. I've only put a couple of km on them as I didn't need them at the time and haven't yet but for the price they were hard to pass up so they're in the closet for when the need arises.

I've also got some Lowa which I'm pretty happy with but truth be told, I've mostly been wearing shoes the past few years rather than boots and absolutely love the Patagonia Drifter AC. So much so I've bought 4 pair in case they get discontinued LOL. They have a boot version as well which I'll probably pick up when funds allow.
 

DJ*

Lofty Wiseman
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Patagonia Drifter AC, I've made a note of that in case I need new shoes. It's nice to know others when they find what works for their feet will invest into the future too in case they are discontinued. Wish I had brought more Bates now...DJ Thanks.
 

Thrud

Richard Proenneke
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Like you I've used most models over the years, Scarpa are the most used. I now wear orthotics and find that some of the Salomon boots are a little too narrow for these and the upper starts eroding on the instep.

I'm not sure if I just do more walking, but the boots don't seem to last as long as they did; the Scarpas last about a year (I wear them most days)
 

DJ*

Lofty Wiseman
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You are definitely right about life span Thrud. I'm sure when I was younger they lasted longer too. I moved away from boots like Scarpa only because of durability and lifespan, but have had similar issues or seen failures with so many others after fairly short periods. I have had my older pair of Bates for about four years now and they have been all over and must have done thousands of KM. I keep checking them but they still look good, with no sign of giving in yet. Thanks for feedback DJ
 

apsilon

Mors Kochanski
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It's not just boots/shoes that no longer last, it's pretty much everything. Companies want to sell products and realised they can't do that if their products don't wear out/break. I've even been told outright on a few occasions by large companies that their products are designed to last the warranty period only. Anything past that is a bonus.

In terms of boots I had a pair of Hi-tec when I was younger. Very comfortable and lasted me years and years and went through much abuse. They were so great I was actually sad when they finally wore out. Given the comfort and amazing life I got from them I went out and bought another pair of Hi_tec that looked as close to the previous ones as I could find. They barely lasted me a year and were in bad shape even then.
 

DJ*

Lofty Wiseman
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Hi-tec, now that's a name from the past. I had them too when a young Cadet. They went on to become bigger and bigger and more diverse, probably when profit over durability won out. Your right about life span on all kit. The only manufacturers this does not seem to apply to so much is the specialist military ones. There kit has to normally make the grade as it's used and tested by so many and if the lads slate it, or it just does not last, then no nice big military contracts for them. However American military kit is in part sometimes an exception as lots of their kit is actually made by prisoners in their prisons. There are some good private companies who devote much research and development time to military type gear and getting it right and their durability is mostly better. That's where we mostly buy from now adays. Bates boots do lots of military stuff and the Tora Bora were designed just for that which shows, but my other Bates pairs have seen the most wear so far. DJ
 

Walker

John McDouall Stuart
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Ah, the old best footware for the bush question. Ask ten people and you'll probably get ten separate answers.

It does depend on the climate and terrain more than anything - members of bushwalking clubs whose trips frequent real wilderness areas, tend to choose one of three options: leather boots, volley tennis shoes, Dunlop KT26 joggers. I've used the lot e.g. leather boots for the snow and short trips, volley's for lots of slippery creek walking/canyoning, KT's for mainly ridges/general bush-bashing. The volleys and KT's are best for long, heavy pack trips because they essentially weigh less and water can escape as easily as it enters - weight is a key component on these trips. So, it pays to have a few different types of footware.

With regards to ankle support - lots of bushwalking builds up the muscles, etc, so support is not a top priority. Same goes for soft feet feeling stones, stick, etc.
 

Redtail

Rüdiger Nehberg
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Mine are for bushwalking, and having used Scarpas for years, I've just switched to Zamberlan.
Both were chosen to suit my long and narrow "roo" feet.

The first pair of Scarpas, ca 2002, are leather and in great nick. The soles wore unevenly due to my gait. I retired them about 3 years ago when I started using orthoses, and replaced them with some Scarpa Kailash Gore-tex of the same size. The lower weight was a boon, but I didn't like the fact that the nature of the upper material meant they were hard to clean. This was important to me as I do a fair bit of off-track walking, and many areas in WA are struggling with dieback.

The Gore-tex got knocked around a bit, and I found them hard to dry overnight, unlike the leather ones. I'd even go so far as to say that leather breathes better! But that's another story.

A couple of weeks ago, the local city shop had a big sale on. An actual, genuine sale ... so I took the opportunity to check out new pairs and have them professionally fitted. With orthoses and now an ankle brace, I wasn't prepared to mess about with mail order. A pair of Zamberlan Air Rounds fitted the bill, and the price was right. The sales rep was beside himself with joy about the new gore-tex "system" that let the air circulate, meaning even greater breathability!!! [his exclamation marks, not mine]. Anyhoo, they felt like runners, still with a good strong heel and high top. It was only when I got them home that I noticed that the tread depth was the same as what I had considered to be the wear limit on my Scarpas. That is, my Scarpas are down to about 2mm, and these new Zamberlans were starting at 2mm. Hmmm.

Nonetheless, they did a good 12km the very next day with plenty of comfort and spring in my step. Dusty and dirty, they proved to be a bugger to clean - imagine trying to clean a pair of regular runners and you get the picture. I don't know how they'll go off track.

At the time, I noticed the Zamberlan Barolto were at half price. These have the more traditional leather uppers. But not in my size and on run-out so no chance of back-ordering. Still concerned about off-track, and wanting a very strong support for my ankle, I was delighted when the chain store in question had another 25% off from their online outlet. The Baroltos were in my size, and now down to $150 (from $400). They're in the mail as I write this.

Long story short - I now have some lighter weight, on-track boots, and some good ole fashioned leather types for the heavy stuff.

When camping, I hang out in a pair of nearly 15 year old Blundstone pull-ons ... my "bush slippers".

Is there and all round boot? I dunno. I've yet to find one.
 

DJ*

Lofty Wiseman
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Thanks Redtail, I know a few lads that wear Zamberlan and the feedback is generally good. That's one brand I've not actually tried myself so good to hear you are pleased. I'll remember that. I think they also do a full leather boot unless I'm thinking of another brand. If so I wonder if anyone here has tried them and can report back? DG
 

barefoot dave

Mors Kochanski
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Redtail, glad to hear that you have a Zamberlan foot. I am the opposite. Ive always worn GPs then Magnums, then merrel barefeet or natural bare feet. Thought I would lash out and get some REAL boots. Wanted the Zam Tofane GTX 'rebuildable" with stitched sole, no stock. Went with the Baltoro and while a beautiful boot, I just dont fit them. I now know theif you fit them they are wonderful, if you don't they will tear you to pieces :(( First boot that I couldn't get to fit me.
 

DJ*

Lofty Wiseman
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Fitting - that's the next issue I guess. Perhaps another reason we like to stick with what we know. I certainly never buy boots online, instead always somewhere where I can try them on in my own time with differing socks, walk around, etc. Even had the lads at Platatac load me up a Bergan once to get a feel for boots and in the UK they let me walk around the block.
 

Tezza

Lofty Wiseman
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Have tried and own Meindl's, Aku's, Bates, Asolo's, Danners, Salomons etc, etc, and they've all been decent boots, at the end of the day for me it's been how well they've been fitted and what the boots were made for. I've learnt the hard way that a tall hunting boot is too heavy and rigid for multi day hikes but also that a light ankle boot isn't suitable for hunting when you've got a heavy pack of gear and chockers with fresh venison. The right footwear for the job I guess, one that's well fitted and suits the task being undertaken.
 

Redtail

Rüdiger Nehberg
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Fitting - that's the next issue I guess. Perhaps another reason we like to stick with what we know. I certainly never buy boots online, instead always somewhere where I can try them on in my own time with differing socks, walk around, etc. Even had the lads at Platatac load me up a Bergan once to get a feel for boots and in the UK they let me walk around the block.
I actually wore my soon to be replaced Scarpas into the shop, complete with orthoses, hiking socks and ankle brace to make sure I got the right fit. As I suspected, I needed to go up a size.
Once I had tried and bought the first pair of Zamberlans, I had no qualms about ordering the second online - from the same retailer, as it happens - because I assume the sizing is the same. I could be wrong, of course!
 

biggles1024

Rüdiger Nehberg
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I can't remember what I wore before the age of 18, but since then it's been Australian Army issue GP boots for bush work. I'm on my last pair now. They used to be my parade boots. Whilst working as a carpenter, I always wore Blundstones until they changed the styling of my preferred boot and they became too narrow. I switched to King Gee boots and they have been great. Along the way I tried a pair of Oliver brand boots on a mate's recommendation and they were terrible.
I'm now looking around for a boot to replace the GP's I've currently got and I'm not liking what I'm seeing. I like a high sided boot, like the GP's, but they seem to be very much out of fashion. There a few models around, but nowhere near the range of lower cut boots and shoes.
 

apsilon

Mors Kochanski
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.....Aku's.....
Aku, now there's a brand I've had a great experience with. One of my best pair of walking shoes were Aku. Bought on sale really cheap on impulse they turned out to be one of the most comfortable and long lasting shoes I've ever owned. Wanted another pair when they wore out but it's a brand that's just too hard to find, even online.
 

DJ*

Lofty Wiseman
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I certainly think AKU are brilliant hot weather boots for the desert, etc. A pair of their pilgrim desert boots have served me very well. Of course as others have said it all depends on the activity, climate, etc but it's the best all rounder I'm thinking about. I'm often despatched with work never really knowing where we will end up and what we will end up doing and there is rarely room for more than one pair of boots. Some great options, feedback and comments from everyone though and a few brands for me to go back and try before my next purchase to replace the Bates. DJ
 

Greatbloke

Jack Abasalom
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I'm on the lookout for new bushwalking boots ATM.
I also like Aku. [Aku Terrain] I love the combination of strength, light weight, waterproofness, ability to shed mud from the sole and water from the outside.
At the end of the day others might have heavy sodden boots but the Aku remain "crisp" :)
Great fit, but I find myself preferring more wriggle room for my toes these days.

Similar to these but green and purple.



I'm liking these for work and sometimes in the bush. I wear them most days. ...not sure about walking a lot with them though.
Love the zipper entry.



 

DJ*

Lofty Wiseman
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Thanks greatbloke the Aku are certainly popular with the Forest GTX used widely by many I know. My Aku Pilgrim Deserts have been very comfy, light, dry quick and breathe well but whilst mine have been great I witnessed a pair of the Forest fail on a mate when away with work. I know any boot can fail or have a fault and I think the UK supplier in this case actually replaced the boots on return despite the KM's they had done, but it put me off. Perhaps I'll re-visit Aku again and may give the Forest a fit as a potential new all rounder. I agree with the close fit at the toe end, my Desert ones were like that at first, I think it's the very padded heel that firms the foot forward at first, however after a few trips that all seemed to move, shift and mould to my feet and now the Pilgrims don't feel at all close around the toes. I always fit my boots with two pairs of socks though. A standard type wool mix hiking/combat sock and a very thin liner sock for comfort and friction dilution. The search for kit perfection continues...DJ
 

Benny

Richard Proenneke
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I love my Rocky S2V or whatever they're called. Super comfy strait up, great grip, but being a mil boot they have that look. Not too bad though.
 
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