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Boot failure on Sheep Hunt-- Lowa Tibet GTX

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  • Boot failure on Sheep Hunt-- Lowa Tibet GTX

    Experienced a serious boot failure this August on a Chugach sheep hunt with my brother.

    Prior to the hunt I used leather conditioner and a spray-on water proofer to prepare my Lowa Tibet GTX boots for the rigors of the hunt. I thought my boots were in great shape even though they were pushing probably 10yrs old. I didn't see or suspect having any problems with these boots, much less a catastrophic failure.

    ​​​​​​Not entirely sure what caused the failure but in researching what went wrong when I got back to Anchorage I discovered the technical term for what happened is hydrolysis. Of note-- basically all boot companies exclude this issue from their warranty coverage.

    I discovered both boot soles delaminating at our base camp the night before the sheep opener and prior to having to do some serious climbing and side-hilling to get to our planned lookout.

    Luckily my brother is an engineer and for years I've been carrying a spare pair of shoelaces in my emergency kit. The photo shows the way we were able to cobble together a solution that kept me capable of continuing the hunt.

    After my brother harvested his ram and we got close to our base camp the left boot sole finally became fully detached (see photo). We were able to secure the sole again with the spare laces and some 550 cord and make it back to the airstrip the next day--- but I thought there was a chance I'd have to walk out with my heavy pack without soles on my boots or wearing my camp shoes-- neither very appealing options.

    Back in Anchorage I threw out the Lowa boots but salvaged the laces to restock my emergency kit.

    I debated what boots to buy for the upcoming goat hunt a few days later.

    The final two choices were the Scarpa Charmoz HD Mountaineering Boot and the Crispi Briksdal SF GTX.

    I finally decided on the Crispis based on how comfortable they felt and my brother's satisfaction with his new Crispi Hunter GTX boots on our sheep hunt.

    Really pleased with my Crispis and fully recommend them. They performed great during the goat hunt and kept me safe and confident climbing under some serious conditions. I did experience some heel pain from a surgery I had earlier this year but I attribute that to how stiff the Briksdal is and how tight it cradled my heel and don't expect that pain will return during my next hunt.




  • #2
    Great job on the jury rigging and glad it kept you on the hunt.<br/><br/>I've heard the US military forbids molded sole boots for combat personnel. Stitch down soles only. Honestly, I'm surprised your molded soles made it 10 years. Did you wear them often?
    -Tim

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    • #3
      Didn't get to wear them anywhere as much as I'd have liked to--- just too much time spent overseas. Think the last time was on my 2016 Kodiak bear hunt. Hoping these Crispi boots last at least as long.

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      • #4
        Yep, been there! I blew out a cheap pair of boots on a sheep hunt with a ram and gear on my back....no fun at all. By the time I got back it was like I was walking in moccasins!
        Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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        • #5
          Had soles come off an old pair of boots I had bought years ago from Cabelas. Lost the soles on both of them. They were older boots and I hadn't used them for a few years. I suspect the glue dried out. I remembered that when I bought them they had a lifetime guarantee. Took them to Cabelas and the guy in the boot dept assured me they did not have a lifetime warranty, but was willing to knock 1/2 off a new pair. When I was checking out, the cashier got paged asking if I had checked out yet. Nope. The guy from the boot dept showed up and had researched my boots. Sure enough they had the lifetime warranty. New boots compliments of Cabelas.
          Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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          • #6
            One idea I came up with was to add a small tube of Shoe Goo or some similar product to my emergency kit.

            This might have helped solve the boot sole issue, but also it has other uses including to repair tent seams, patch waders, etc.

            But maybe most important for a dual-use product to keep the packing weight down--- it's highly flammable so it would be a great emergency fire starter so I could eliminate some of those from my packing list.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by SmokeRoss View Post
              Had soles come off an old pair of boots I had bought years ago from Cabelas. Lost the soles on both of them. They were older boots and I hadn't used them for a few years. I suspect the glue dried out. I remembered that when I bought them they had a lifetime guarantee. Took them to Cabelas and the guy in the boot dept assured me they did not have a lifetime warranty, but was willing to knock 1/2 off a new pair. When I was checking out, the cashier got paged asking if I had checked out yet. Nope. The guy from the boot dept showed up and had researched my boots. Sure enough they had the lifetime warranty. New boots compliments of Cabelas.
              Were they the Cabelas “Canada Hunters?” For quite a few years guys were consistently bringing them back for new pairs when they leaked. Some guys ended getting like 4 pairs of replacements. They finally put the kibosh on that and put a time limit on them I think.
              Last edited by 4merguide; 1 week ago.
              Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 4merguide View Post

                Were they the Cabelas “Canada Hunters?” For quite a few years guys were consistently bringing them back for new pairs when they leaked. Some guys ended getting like 4 pairs of replacements. They finally put the kibosh on that and put a time limit on them I think.
                Different boots that those. Bought them out of the catalogue early to mid 80's.
                Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by majorbam View Post
                  One idea I came up with was to add a small tube of Shoe Goo or some similar product to my emergency kit.<br/><br/>This might have helped solve the boot sole issue, but also it has other uses including to repair tent seams, patch waders, etc.<br/><br/>But maybe most important for a dual-use product to keep the packing weight down--- it's highly flammable so it would be a great emergency fire starter so I could eliminate some of those from my packing list.
                  Good idea. Especially as a fire starter. Gorilla glue or some other epoxy adhesive. Had a boot sole separate a while back. Gobbed some glue in it and secured with zip ties until it dried. Held up for about 6 months.
                  -Tim

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                  • #10
                    Bug dope makes a good fire starter. Learned that from my Boy Scouts when we had them try everything they could think of to get a fire started.
                    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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                    • #11
                      Here is some more information on hydrolysis if you are interested, it's at the bottom of the page: https://www.asolo.com/en/services/cl...-and-care.html
                      It's a bummer when it happens but there is no avoiding it with the glued-sole construction. 10 years out of a set of boots is pretty dang good though! Any boot that old will likely start to experience hydrolysis-related failure.

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                      • #12
                        Tough luck on the boots. I always take a backup pair especially if I am wearing them 12 hours a day. It's nice to get back to camp and put on fresh socks and put on dry boots.

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                        • #13
                          I had a different brand fail like this, they were 8-10 years old.

                          Lowa Tibets work great for me, just need to replace them every 7 years. Same thing with car tires.

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                          • #14
                            I have the same Lowa Tibet GTX boots and have had good luck with them over the past three years. They are one of the most comfortable boots I have ever tried on for my short, wide feet. My use includes 2 weeks of daily hiking on Umnak Island, packing out 2 moose (20+ miles round trip) with 2000+ ft of vertical, 40+ miles on Adak in crap conditions, and a handful of hikes around Anchorage. Maybe 300-400+ miles in total with much of it in wet conditions with a heavy pack and I've had no issues. I wonder if you had a bad pair or maybe they just wore out? Lowa warranty is only 1 year now.

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