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Question: Pandoras Box :: Total Votes:18
Poll choices Votes Statistics
Merrell 4  [22.22%]
Keen 1  [5.56%]
Salomon 2  [11.11%]
Timberland 0  [0.00%]
Asolo 2  [11.11%]
Vasque 2  [11.11%]
Lowa 4  [22.22%]
North Face 0  [0.00%]
Columbia 0  [0.00%]
Other (please list below) 3  [16.67%]
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Topic: Pandoras Box, Shoe Brand Durability< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 12:22 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I recently began selling shoes and boots at a local outfitter.  I've learned quite a bit about the foot through the process and am really enjoying the job. There is one thing that I want input on from the true field testers though (yourselves). I more than understand the fit is of utmost importance when selecting a new boot/shoe. I'd like to know though who you would select as the top most durable and well engineered brand. If a customer is asking who makes the best quality and longest lasting shoe. Who do you pick?

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 12:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

30 years ago, I would have said Vasque.  From my experience, and from what was available to me at the time, those boots held up well beyond expectations.

10 years ago, I would have said Asolo or Montrail.  I had good experiences with both of those brands.  I am not basing this on fit, but rather on the ability to hold up under adverse conditions.  

I haven't worn a boot in over 5 years, so I cannot say which I hold highly today.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 12:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The longest lasting shoe/boot will be the one that fits the longest.  For my feet that's been Merell and Timberland.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 12:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What do you wear currently ol-zeke?

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 12:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What TDale said about fit, I think.  I chose Asolo because they fit the best and I get many hundreds of miles out of them, hiking through mud and over marble, granite and lava.  The toe caps always separate within the first year, but it isn't catastrophic.  Keen is the only other hiking boot I've worn from your survey.  They are comfortable, but they are not nearly as durable and only suitable for soft ground.  Sorry, don't remember the model.

I do have Salomon downhill and cross country ski boots that I rate as excellent.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 1:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Theses days I wear Treksta Evolution 2 or some other trail runner.  I think the ones before the Treksta were Columbia.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 1:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Zamberlan boots have been on our feet for the past 8,000 or so kms of hiking (wife & I). I wouldn't say they hold up noticeably better than any other boot we've had, but they fit very nicely.  

We came from Vasque Sundowners ... with a brief interruption with Danner (for me) and Asolo (for her). Gave up on Vasque when they started making them in China. The reason Danner or Asolo didn't get any traction (ha!) with us is because of availability up here.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 1:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I meant to include Danner in my list. How did you like them BCPete?

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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 1:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ddanz27 @ Apr. 11 2014, 1:22 pm)
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I meant to include Danner in my list. How did you like them BCPete?

They were good for the most part, but I didn't really like the mid-ankle style of the Mountain Lite IIs - so I was never really able to fall in love with them. I prefer a full ankle boot. Quality was fine though.

Like I said above, the main reason for switching for me was availability up here - so I didn't really look into other styles from Danner. The boots I use from Zamberlan can be ordered through MEC very easily (our version of REI) - so that's why I switched initially.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 7:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm a Merrell fanbois...  I've had such good luck with the Moab Ventilator shoes ( I prefer light shoes as apposed to boots or mids).  They run a touch narrow which is great since I have narrow feet anyways.  They'm been bomb proof and very comfortable.  Recently got a pair a Protera's that I am hoping are jsut as great.  They certainly feel like they are going to be.

I will probably try a pair of Keen's after the Protera's die or if they do not meet expectations..
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 8:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My shoes last somewhere between 500 - 700 miles, which means I get a pair around Memorial Day every year. It used to be Montrail Wildwood TRs. It's been Treksta shoes for three years. My most recent pair is Keen Voyageurs.

I don't think longevity has anything to do with brand. One pair of the same brand/model will last longer than the next, or die sooner. Just the way it is with light shoes. I bought the Voyageurs with full knowledge that they have a reputation for delaminating before they wear out, because I needed the extra space in the toe box for padding around a couple of bunions.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 9:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I will add 1 more thing for the budding shoe guy.  SuperFeet Green insoles are the best thing you can suggest to a buyer.  I changed mine out every 3 months when I wore boots.  Kept the feet much happier.  In fact, I usually tossed the inners that came with the boot and swapped out for Greens immediately.  

I wore my boots to work daily,in the construction industry, and tried to keep a back up pair in the closet.  When I found something that worked, I didn't want them to change the model or something before I got a chance to get a 2nd pair.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 9:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ddanz27 @ Apr. 11 2014, 1:22 pm)
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I meant to include Danner in my list. How did you like them BCPete?

Their boots change a lot from year to year.  I wore Danners for quite a while, but they stopped making anything like those boots about six years ago.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 11:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For me, in general...it would be a three way tie between Danner, Vasque, and Asolo. Mind you, it all comes down to fit. I really wish I could have purchased another pair of Asolo Parallel GTX boots when I had the chance. Comfortable, great flex lateral support and lasted over ten years.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 8:20 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You might as well ask us who makes the best sleeping bag.  Everyone will swear by the brand that they like best.  The reality is is that any of the brands mentioned above are reputable manufacturers.  Durability is dependent on useage.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 9:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ol-zeke @ Apr. 11 2014, 9:55 pm)
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[color=maroon]I will add 1 more thing for the budding shoe guy.  SuperFeet Green insoles are the best thing you can suggest to a buyer.  I changed mine out every 3 months when I wore boots.  Kept the feet much happier.  In fact, I usually tossed the inners that came with the boot and swapped out for Greens immediately.  

I used to use Superfeet and like them. My podiatrist had a different opinion.

If someone is very flatfooted, they might do better with Birkenstock Blues - one of the insoles with a metatarsal arch support.

Everyone is unique, and you can't just recommend the same thing to everyone.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 9:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm preoccupied with three things:

1) The dearth of nonwaterproof boots. Waterproof boots don't suit the changed climate in the U.S., which has gotten extremely hot, and they have other drawbacks like failure of the waterproofing and holding water once they do get wet.

2) The lack of boots made to fit a wide forefoot and narrow heel and ankle.

3) The general loss of quality and durability over the last ten years.

Those problems have been much discussed here, but I don't think the manufacturers are listening. I think they're out of touch with what hikers want and need. They're trying to dictate what we need, especially waterproofing. Write a letter to them about these concerns and you won't get an answer.

If they were doing market research about what we really want and need things would change, but I find it hard to believe that they're doing market research. I find that to be true in manufacturing in general these days---too much ivory-tower inventing of new things with a lack of awareness of customer needs (e.g., Microsoft Windows 8 debacle, nonergonomic bikes, kayak cockpits that don't fit the general population, ditto for sleeping bags, etc.).

Boot companies are  losing money over this---I've been hanging on to my last pair of nonwaterproof, all-leather boots for more than 15 years because there's no replacement that solves the above three concerns.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 9:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Apr. 12 2014, 9:13 am)
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(ol-zeke @ Apr. 11 2014, 9:55 pm)
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[color=maroon]I will add 1 more thing for the budding shoe guy.  SuperFeet Green insoles are the best thing you can suggest to a buyer.   


I used to use Superfeet and like them. My podiatrist had a different opinion.

I had green Superfeet in my downhill ski boots. Very hard, caused much pain.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 9:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Apr. 12 2014, 9:29 am)
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I'm preoccupied with three things:

1) The dearth of nonwaterproof boots. Waterproof boots don't suit the changed climate in the U.S., which has gotten extremely hot, and they have other drawbacks like failure of the waterproofing and holding water once they do get wet.

2) The lack of boots made to fit a wide forefoot and narrow heel and ankle.

3) The general loss of quality and durability over the last ten years.

Merrell Moab Ventilators.  Try them.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 4:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

AKU, hand crafted in Italy. Years ago I had a mold made and they built me a custom pair that I still use today. I also like Oboz and Montrail.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 5:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Best boots I've ever had are Lowa's followed by LL Bean. Both are made in Europe rather than China.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 11:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TDale @ Apr. 12 2014, 9:39 am)
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Merrell Moab Ventilators.  Try them.

Honestly I would never consider them for backpacking and I think they're an example of loss of quality in the last decade---too soft throughout, not enough foot  or ankle support. Sort of like tennis shoes or slippers.
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(ddanz27 @ Apr. 11 2014, 12:22 pm)
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I'd like to know though who you would select as the top most durable and well engineered brand. If a customer is asking who makes the best quality and longest lasting shoe. Who do you pick?

I don't think it's a very good question.

Most who ask this are probably noobs who will use them 2 or 3 times and let them dry rot in the closet. For them the answer is it doesn't matter - get what makes you happy.

People who hike for a living may have an idea about the real answer to this question, and would scoff at most of the brands on your list.

I'm a guy who hikes recreationally every chance I get and I wear out lots of boots/shoes. I consider them disposable. I keep a few pair handy at all times, and I know I'll be buying another pair before long, so I usually look for deals.

I'm not hung up on what the "best" is because none of them ever lasted more than a few years for me. The exception would be mountaineering boots that I wear maybe twice a year. They end up dry-rotting like a newbies Asolos, so ~5 years is all I expect.

And I can't help but feeling like 4 pair of $50 boots will last longer than 1 pair of $200 boots. I think people should buy whatever makes them feel good, and shouldn't expect them to last for life.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 9:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Apr. 12 2014, 11:01 pm)
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(TDale @ Apr. 12 2014, 9:39 am)
QUOTE
Merrell Moab Ventilators.  Try them.

Honestly I would never consider them for backpacking and I think they're an example of loss of quality in the last decade---too soft throughout, not enough foot  or ankle support. Sort of like tennis shoes or slippers.

Then don't try them.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 1:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Apr. 12 2014, 11:01 pm)
QUOTE

(TDale @ Apr. 12 2014, 9:39 am)
QUOTE
Merrell Moab Ventilators.  Try them.

Honestly I would never consider them for backpacking and I think they're an example of loss of quality in the last decade---too soft throughout, not enough foot  or ankle support. Sort of like tennis shoes or slippers.

They're pretty stout, don't sell them short.  Then again I've never needed massive ankle support due to all the hockey I've played in my life.  As far as durability either they must have been REALLLLLLLLY durable in the past because I've only worn the Vibram soles down and never had any separation.  Then again I spend 90% of my time on, at the very least, unmaintained trails.  Rarely (the other 10% lol) bushwhacking....  Like the others have stated earlier we all like the brands we like and defend them with our life...hahaha
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 7:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well since starting to backpack in 89, I've gone thru 5 pairs of Vasques, one pair of Asolos and one pair of Merrells. The Vasques were nice but did have their problems. In fact the 2nd pair of them the soles separated from the rest of the boot. I sent them in and got a brand new pair and was happy enough with them that I bought two pair after that from Vasque. The Asolos I've had for 2 yrs now and they are holding up well. The Merrells held up well too.
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I have to chuckle a bit at any shoe with an EVA midsole being touted as "durable".  EVA foam is made for disposable shoes that are comfy outta the box, but the foam breaks down within 500 or so miles, sometimes considerably less, depending.  Ask any thru-hiker how many pairs of shoes they walk through in a season.  A lotta folks keep using the shoes well after the midsole has broken down, which starts to cause issues with sole delamination/separation and the like.  The question most folks are really asking is "which shoe will stay glued together the longest after the midsole has already completely collapsed."

All that said, I still use 'em because they're lightweight and provide all the support I need, and there's little else on the market in a lightweight shoe without EVA in it, which is unfortunate.  But the brand is of little difference, if they're made with EVA midsoles they aren't anything like "durable".  I've tried various lightweight options from Montrail, Oboz, New Balance, Patagonia, Vasque and Asolo.  They're all decent shoes, but the foam is the first thing to break down in all of 'em.  The only durable boots I own are heavier ones with PU rubber soles, but they're heavy enough I rarely wear them backpacking anymore.


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