Well, after slogging up and down a creek last august sheep hunting, hauling out sheep for 4 days, 15 miles from the truck, with major sloshfoot and heavy, soaked, soft leather boots I decided to try some plastics so I can use lightweight hippers when needed. I tried on some Koflachs here in Fairbanks but the shell just doesn't fit my foot. I know how too properly fit downhill skiboots and apply the same logic. The Koflach shell is to narrow at the front and too wide at the heel for my foot. Problem is there is nowhere else in Fairbanks besides Beaver Sports that carries plstics and they only carry Koflachs so I could not try out any other boots. So, after much reading I decided to try some Lowa Civetta's LowaCivettas. showbuy.com carries them and they ship to AK for free, have free return shipping and between the online discount coupon and first time buy I got them for 190 bucks. That's what I paid for my leathers 4 years ago. Well, I got lucky in that they fit my my foot! I got my footbeds dialed in and wore them around the house, put on a 75lb pack, etc. About as much as I could do before getting them dirty and thus committing to the purchase. Well, the first time out I hauled my 75lb pack up and down for 1.5 hours in 75-80 degree heat and did not get any blisters! The boots actually fit. Well, I do have a bump/growth on one of my heals that got a very small slight blister so I will have to adjust for this. But figured I would. It's an issue with my foot in any boots I wear so it's not the fit of the boots. My current leather boots really tore up my feet several years ago during the breakin period and that was with no weight. I know that plastics need to fit out of the box so I am very pleased so far.
I have since been on three more hikes with a 75lb pack and am still good to go. I made a few adjustments and the bump on my foot is doing ok.
I like the liner much better than the Koflach liner. The koflach liner seemed kind of cheap to me. But, I like the plastic bellows better on the Koflach shell. The lowa has the plastic bellows but doesn't go up as high on the shell. It switches over to a couple pieces of leather that fold over each other. I think that they will be fine with gators. I just would'nt want to stand in water for any length of time over the top of the bellows, might get some seepage. But, completely sweat soaked wet liners dry at room temp in a few hours so if you do "go over the top", you can get them dry pretty quick. I like the size of the Lowas. Not as big and clunky as the Koflachs. I will however use different laces. The flat ones that came with the boots are already showing a little fraying in spots.
I have a set of Cabellas lightweight stocking foot hippers with neoprene booties and if I pull out the lowa liners I can put my foot beds in the hippers and slip into the shell and it feels pretty good. Good enough for some wading or creek sloshing for a ways I think.
Next week I'll put them to the test on a sheep hunt.
Conclusion: I think these will work for me. If your thinking about plastics but can't try em on you might want to try these from shoebuy. If they don't fit out of the box the never will and you can send them back and it will not cost you a penny.