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Topic "What's on your feet? (1 of 18)" started by Shawn Lawrence on Jul-09-2008

Topic: What's on your feet? (1 of 18)
Author: Shawn Lawrence
Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 08:49 AM

I find that I absolutely destroy boots and shoes while scrambling; often a pair lasting less than one season.

What is everybody wearing these days? Any suggestions on what holds up best?
Or what to avoid?

Topic: What's on your feet? (2 of 18)
Author: Tom Waddell
Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 09:51 AM

Hey Shawn,

For most of my scrambling over the past years I used a good pair of Scarpa's leather hiking boot (I bought them about 20 years and have been very pleased, using them from everything from day hikes, scrambling and light backpacking - well ok maybe not so light).

Having said that I found they are not as stiff in the sole as i would sometimes like (especially when edging a crack on a 45 degree (or more) slab). So starting last year I began looking for a mountaineering boot. I spent several months talking to people, reading reviews, trying as many different brands as I could find (fairly limited in this part of the world) and even road testing some Kaylands I rented from the U of C, I was becoming quite frustrated at not finding a good boot with a good fit for me. Then in March I was cruising the MEC website and noticed they had started stocking a Zamberlan mountaineering/heavy backpacking boot. I went to the store on Friday, tried them on, returned Saturday and bought them. They are great boots (at least for me). Since buying them, I have had them through cold, snow, mud, sharp rock; used them with my snowshoes and crampons and I remain very impressed. They seem to be standing up to the punishment quite well so far, and only one small blister. The only thing I don't like is the enclosure around my ankles is fairly open. Which results in rocks, pebbles getting into the boot when I am scree running.

I hope this helps and good luck.

Topic: What's on your feet? (3 of 18)
Author: Ken Takabe
Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 10:03 AM

It's really a trade off.

You can have a pair of boots which are super light and versatile while lasting you a season or two or you can have a pair of heavy boots which'll easily last you several years.

I used to be in the latter category as I wore a pair of Sportiva Makalu's for scrambling/hiking. They took weeks to break in and they were very heavy but they lasted almost 5 years including 40+ scrambles.

However, I recently joined the former category by purchasing a pair of Sportiva Trango S's and I don't know why it took me so long. The Trango S's didn't require any break-in and the difference in weight was surprisingly noticeable on some long scree slogs. I'm hoping that they'll last me a year but if they don't, I'll gladly pick up another pair.

Topic: What's on your feet? (4 of 18)
Author: Shawn Lawrence
Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 04:40 PM

Thanks for the replies guys,

Tom are you referring to the Zamberland Pelmo GT�s? I tried them on last night, very nice boots.

I am a little torn as mentioned above, on the one hand I like to move fast and light, but on the other, I�m getting a little tired of having to replace my boots not too long after breaking them in.

The sportive Trango S are considered a heavy mountaineering boot as well aren�t they?


Topic: What's on your feet? (5 of 18)
Author: Jp S
Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 05:22 PM

I think there are a few threads on this. Search "Trango" and you'd probably find them.

I've been wearing Zamberlan's light hiking model for a few years now. They are great for scrambling - especially at the moderate level. They have made a few less snowy mountaineering trips too (ex. E. Ridge, E. Cavell).

They have a bit less support in the ankle but I've never found that to be a problem on scrambles.

They do only last a season or two. But that is the balance - something lighter doesn't last as long. Mine are totally worn out - but the newest version doesn't seem to fit me well so I've been holding off buying.

As for heavier more durable boots, I can't comment much because I never wear mine. Ken you are a trooper for scrambling so much in your Makalus. Mine seem practically indestructible. However, I rarely take them out - they are very heavy and with a full shank (no flex) they kill the knees (especially on talus slopes).

The Trangos (or the Chamoz) are super light and love the rock. They are a great for difficult scrambles. But grippy rock loving soles should wear out fast and so should the entire boot since it is so light. Since they are not so durable, mine only go on difficult scrambles or mountaineering trips.

I bought Trangos because they are the only boots of their kind available in Edmonton (without special ordering). They are murder on my feet. I wish I'd made the drive to Calgary to try out the Chamoz.

Scrambling in the winter or in snowy conditions on cold shoulder season days is an entirely different issue and probably is best done with a different boot than your summer boot. It's definitely nice to have some insulation then. I can't really offer a recommendation. My winter days are usually in my well insulated ski or ice boots.


Topic: What's on your feet? (6 of 18)
Author: Marko Stavric
Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 06:16 PM

whatever you decide on, check out www.sierratradingpost.com before you buy. I bought mine there and saved over $150 vs local price.

Topic: What's on your feet? (7 of 18)
Author: Antri Zhu
Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2008 11:24 PM

My first pair of boots were Raichle Kootenay backpacking boots. I bought them in 2003 for the West Coast Trail. I wore those boots straight out of the box on the WCT and did not get a single blister during the trip. Although I don't recommend that practise, this just to show that the boots were extremely comfortable and required no break in time. Mainly because the interior was all leather and it conformed to the foot. Those boots lasted me about 50 trips.

Topic: What's on your feet? (8 of 18)
Author: Frank Nelson
Date: Thursday, July 10, 2008 06:50 AM

I agree with Antri. They make excellent scrambling boots. I wouldn't be caught dead wearing my mountaineering boots scrambling (other than breaking them in!).

Topic: What's on your feet? (9 of 18)
Author: Ken Takabe
Date: Thursday, July 10, 2008 09:30 AM

The Trango S along with its cousin the Scarpa Chamoz are probably the lightest boots you can get and have some really sticky rubber.

Going from my Makalu's to these boots was like going from a minivan to a sports car.

Since I didn't require any break-in period on my Trango S's, I'm thinking of using these boots as my regular pair... even if means I'd have to buy a new pair each year.

FWIW, I also have the Raichle Kootenay 5's and they're a good boot as well. They didn't require any break in period and they perform admirably well. However, after scrambling with my Trango S's, I'm not sure if I can go back to my Kootenay's unless it's for hiking.

JP, I used to do alpine using a pair of Koflach Degre's. Going to my Makalu's was pure heaven after that. Just imagine doing the approaches (like Lake Ohara to Abbott Pass) wearing those boat anchors. Hahaha!

Topic: What%27s on your feet? (10 of 18)
Author: Tom Waddell
Date: Thursday, July 10, 2008 07:39 AM


Yes I was referring to the Pelmo's. They are a nice boot and my intent in buying them was to get something I could use as much of the year as possible. They are heavier than some of the other mountaineering boots available but hopefully more durable. Time and mountain miles will tell.

One of the things that surprised (and frustrated) me in my search, was the lack of options in this part of the world. It seems that Scarpa and La Sportiva have the market locked up. These are both good boots and if they fit your feet great. My feet are long and narrow, which made finding a good fit even more difficult. Which is much of the reason I didn't order something online. And why once trying the Zamberlans I bought them right away.

I suppose the best way to go is to go to Italy and have a custom pair made for each activity you participate in. I can't afford to do that, but if anyone is willing to underwrite the trip let me know :)


Topic: What%27s on your feet? (11 of 18)
Author: Rod Mcalister
Date: Thursday, July 10, 2008 09:50 AM

For what it's worth I use approach shoes for just about anything that isnt true mountainerring. I have 8 or nine days on the new shoe from five ten called the exum guide.http://www.fiveten.com/
Hopefully the link worked. They are great. Light, supportive, and climb really well, ie, just like all of five tens stuff. I've used them on trips ranging from the goat traverse to the east face of pocaterra (snow with crampons)The durability looks good for this light of a boot.

Topic: What%27s on your feet? (12 of 18)
Author: Wayne H
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 03:38 AM


where did you buy the Exums? They look interesting.

Topic: What%27s on your feet? (13 of 18)
Author: Rod Mcalister
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 08:13 AM

I bought them from five ten via the phone. You can also use their website. I dont know where you can get them in Canada but five ten may be able to help you. Fine shoe.

Topic: What%27s on your feet? (14 of 18)
Author: Wayne H
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 09:15 AM

ah, I see. I"m always a bit reluctant to do new footware that way though....just the hassle, not knowing if it will be anywhere close to fitting...does sound like a great shoe though.

Topic: What%27s on your feet? (15 of 18)
Author: Rod Mcalister
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 09:36 AM

That is a challenge with footwear. Luckily I'm old and have a vast amount of experience in buying footwear because I have made every mistake in the book. With Five Ten I know that a size 10 is a size 10 no matter what the shoe. Find your size and try a five ten shoe on (like the guide tennie at mec). My experience is that it is transferable between the shoes. Give five ten a call and ask them for dealers that might be carrying the shoe. As a last resort you can try mine on if you promise not to look directly at me.

Topic: What%27s on your feet? (16 of 18)
Author: Jp S
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:07 PM

How durable are climbing approach shoes generally? I've always thought that the sticky rubber would wear out really quickly.

The Exum does look pretty interesting since it has a higher cut than most climbing approach shoes (offering more support).

I would expect you could easily tackle difficult scrambles with them (unless the scramble calls for a bit more ankle support) and they are a lot cheaper than the Trangos and Chamoz.

Ken - Too funny, I wouldn't have thought that Makalus could feel like sports cars - but compared to plastic double boots ... lol


Topic: What%27s on your feet? (17 of 18)
Author: Andrew Nugara
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 07:05 PM

I agree 100% with Rod regarding approach shoes. I use them more and more on scrambles these days. They wear out fast if you wear them going up and down huge scree and rubble slopes, but I solve that problem by taking both hiking boots and approach shoes on trips where I think I might use approach shoes. Attaching a pair of approach to your pack adds minimal weight.

The major advantage of approach/climbing shoes are that you can ascend difficult terrain with far more confidence. Mount Smuts with approach shoes is considerably easier than Smuts with bulky hiking/scrambling boots. I just bought a pair of Scarpa Expresso climbing/approach shoes and they are great.


Topic: What%27s on your feet? (18 of 18)
Author: Wayne H
Date: Thursday, July 17, 2008 06:32 PM

Thanks for the offer Rod and the info! I just might try another 5-10 at some point to get the sizing if I decide to go for it. I'm considering giving the Montrail Flow's a whirl even though I'm skeptical of their ruggedness. If I see a pair on 5-10 insights around, I'll try them on.