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Thread: Breaking in new boots...what a pain..

  1. #1
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    Default Breaking in new boots...what a pain..

    well, it can be anyway if you have funky weird feet like me. My old Solomon MT Lites are finally getting soft so it's time for a new pair of leather mountain/sheep hunting boots. I have some plastics but there's nothing like a good leather boot, a guy needs both. Kind of like leather ski gloves and leather holsters, there's nuthin like em

    Anyway, I bought a pair of Merrell Expediton boots. For several reasons. They have all the right features of a mtn. boot. The sole seems a lot stickier than the generic vibram sole on my Lowa Civetta plastics ( the Solomons have a great sticky sole), they have some kind of plastic support up the side of the ankle that should help with lateral ankle support especially when the boot has been wet for days. (leather gets soft and can loose it's support.) But, most importantly is that they fit and were in town so I could try them on, as a bonus Beaver Sports was having 20 percent off on boots so I got the 250 dollar Merrells for 200 bucks. I just can't see 350 450 bucks for a pair of boots. The Lowa GTX Extremes are nice, maybe a little wide for me but not bad but... 420 bucks ?!?! I don't think so.... Even on sale at 340 is pushing it.

    I walked to church in them one day, put about 2 miles on them, then a few days later went on the tuesday training hike and figured I may as well just go for it. I'm only up to 35lb pack but I usually like to have boots somewhat broke in before hiking up and down hill with a pack. I was pleasantly suprised. I only had one small heal blister and one starting to develop. But, I'm sure I'll have a few more by the time they are good and broke in. I figure new boots need about 50 miles on em before that are really broke in.

    Time to suck it up, toughen up the feet and get rid of tenderfeet while I break in the new boots.

  2. #2

    Default breaking in boots.

    I am doing the same dang thing. I wound up purchasing a pair of Hanwags from Lathrop and Sons. They were 324.00 for a pair. This is much less than normal price. I have been wearing them around the house. I need to start marching up the Powerline with a pack. They presently fit just right.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas

  3. #3
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    Snyd, if you could post a review later on, especially on how the soles hold up. I used to have some Merrell trail running shoes with a similar grippy sole (they were super sticky), but they wore down pretty fast.

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    Ya, I suspect they will get chewed up pretty quick especially in scree and rocks. I know my Solomons did with the Contragrip sole, they have little chunks tore out of them but man, they stick like spiderman. I don't really care. I'd just as soon have the stickier sole. Especially on wet rock. I'll see how they fare.

  5. #5
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    It took me jst about 50 years to learn *how* to tie my boot laces *correctly*. Since then I have not had any problems with blisters on new or old boots Blisters are caused by friction, so reducing/eliminating friction is the game. I love Merrill soles, but IMHO all of their insoles have no gravity (they suck). I throw the insoles away before I ever go out in them. Almost any after market insole will do, but I really love my green Superfeet. Next, a good quality wool or alpaca sock is a must...I never use liners next to my feet as they cause friction as well. Next, and most important is the lacing. The lower/foot section of your boots will have 4-6 eyelets...lace them normally, but before you go *up* the ankle, cross the laces as if you were going to tie them at this spot...this locks your lower foot in. Now proceed up the boot with normal lacing, but some folks *skip over* the first ankle eyelet and lace the second set and return to the first, then the third and on up to the top. Once you get to the end, use a surgeons knot and have fun! Oh yea, I find that if I stand upright, flex my knee and hip and place my foot in a walking position on a chair to *lace up* I rarely have to adjust my lacing...I never put shoes on in a sitting position.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Thanks for the pointers Roger45. It sounds like you and I do things about the same. First off proper fit, then good insoles (I have used custom orthotics for years), I only wear good merino wool socks next to my skin and no liner, have weight on my feet when lacing and don't be afraid to get creative with the lacing. And get em broke in before you start hauling a pack.... whoops, I already messed that one up! When breaking them in I tighten the tops tighter than normal as for me this also tends to cut down on heel rise and transfers more energy to the sole of the boot where I can feel it flexing and building more rocker in the sole. Especially when walking on hard pavement. I wear them around town daily like normal shoes during break in. I get some funny looks sometimes but hey, gotta get em broke in

  7. #7
    Member Montana Native's Avatar
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    Default My 2 cents

    Breaking in footwear...

    Synd~ your Merrils fit/feel well right out the box I presume? I tried on a pair and thought they were way too comfy for mountaineering. I'd like to hear how they're holding up, I may just change my mind. I also agree that many leather boots out there are just too pricy to get my wallet to open. Last year, I bought a pair of Scarpa Liskams as replacement for my Scarpa plastics and aged Lowas. I had to take the Liskams back due to a poor fit with my foot shape; great lookin boot, just did not work for me.

    As for now, I have a pair of the Kennetrek Mountain Extremes which feel like heaven. I did upgrade the insole to the heat moldable SOLE brand. I have been on two mild hikes and thus far, love the feel, even while purposely traversing sidehill. No blisters. I am using good socks, Bridgedales (heavyweight expedition) & Bridgedale liners. I may loose the liner, as Roger45 mentioned, they due create friction between the sock layers.

    Another lacing tip. Many people lace their boots and think that there is only one way to do so. Roger45 mentioned:

    "The lower/foot section of your boots will have 4-6 eyelets...lace them normally, but before you go *up* the ankle, cross the laces as if you were going to tie them at this spot...this locks your lower foot in. Now proceed up the boot with normal lacing, but some folks *skip over* the first ankle eyelet and lace the second set and return to the first, then the third and on up to the top. Once you get to the end, use a surgeons knot and have fun!"

    Here's my take: Starting from the bottom or 1st eyelete to where the natural bend of your ankle begins (some boots have different eyelets or loops from here up) lace in this fashion: Begin by bringing the lace down through the eyelete rather than coming up from below the eyelete. (Top of hole down & through) Continue lacing this way up to the ankle. From here, you can "add-in" what Roger45 mentioned regarding his tip. TRY IT, it works! IMO, if you lace your boots this way, they stay as tight and do not require re-tightening. I lace all my footwear this way and I prefer the snug feeling to maintain the heel in the footbed and to keep the slide effect from traversing downhill, a well know blister creator . Provided you have optimal boot fit, this should keep your toes from being pressed into the toe box as well. I hope this helps...
    Last edited by Montana Native; 06-05-2009 at 13:44. Reason: forgot to add info...
    Respect what you do not own but are privleged to enjoy, Mother Earth thanks you...

  8. #8

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    My Cabela's Alaskan Meindl's required little to no break in period. Got lucky on a sale, threw in some superfeet, and no problems since. I probably have close to 150 miles on them, about 50-60% of those carrying my son on my back (with stuff and pack, ~40-50lbs+).

    Learned a lesson from the REI guy (surprise, surprise!)..... When buying Superfeet don't order your shoe size. Go into the store and keep slipping sizes on until the arch fits your foot. I wear a 9.5 size shoe, but ended up with the size 13 Superfeet due to my arch. I had the REI kid cut them to fit my boot and out the door I went.

    Maybe I am slow, but I would have never figured that one out on my own! : ) They feel good and am I am glad I bought these boots.

  9. #9

    Default Complete Walker IV

    The Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlins is a great guide on how to fit boots and break them in.
    It is very greenie oriented but it is the best greenie book out there and the greenies do know technology and gear.

    They have it at the Noel Wien Library.
    It is worth the 24 books to buy it at Barnes and Noble or Gullivers. Just check it out.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas

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