General Question

woodcutter's avatar

Looking for some opinions of hiking shoes. Any out doorsy people here?

Asked by woodcutter (16249 points ) January 19th, 2011

Ok, ‘bout sick and tired of the “fall apart, Walmart” footwear. Fine for everyday walking around but out here in our mountains they just won’t pass the acid test. Yeah yeah, I know, you get what you pay for, so I’m in the market for a decent shoe I can dedicate for this kind of use. Those who know about this activity know what shoes like this need to be so I wont bother telling my requirements. I’m aware I can go online myself and find things. I am looking for some actual recommendations from people who have used the shoes and will know some decent brand names or companies just to get me going in a direction.
Thank you and have a great day :)

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17 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

REI is the place to shop. I like boots from Vasque and Merrill. You don’t say what your budget is, but expect prices in the $120 – $150 range.

Rarebear's avatar

Whatever fits well.

TexasDude's avatar

These are what I wear while hiking/camping/fighting zombies and sometimes from day-to-day. They are awesome.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I think it’s important to find a local place and try on several different brands and styles. A lot depends on your foot structure and how you walk. What’s good for me, may not work with your foot. You’re going to want to try the boot on with hiking socks. A pair of good-fitting boots are going to last you a long time.

Whatever you get, you are going to want to wear them around for several weeks to break them in. A hike in new boots can be uncomfortable.

I have these.

deni's avatar

REI is the shit. And if you’re trying to save money, they have gear sales twice a year on everything that’s been returned…most of it is perfectly fine. I got really expensive awesome Merrill hiking boots for like 10 bucks last spring. I love them.

woodcutter's avatar

@BarnacleBill yeah I would be worried about getting shoes on line. So many things could go wrong and the hassle of shipping them back and what not.They don’t need to be top of the line but durable enough. Water proof would be a nice extra but not necessary as I try to stay clean or at least not get into too much water like Rambo. My feet have gotten a bit tender over the years and it really gets me when I can feel every contour and pointed rock up into my foot. I have been just using whatever I go to work in and the other day I suffered a complete blowout where the soul separated from the shoe in one spot, bummer. That was the last straw so it’s time to get something that can take the punishment. Of course good ankle support is at the top of my list in new shoes. I need to use a Velcro/ elastic brace to shore up the right ankle so I’m very careful of how I step so I don’t have another incident.

woodcutter's avatar

I see REI mentioned here more than once so that is a direction. I’m willing to spend some money on these because I want to be confident that my shoes at least, won’t be the reason for a less than fun walk. Out here the terrain is so rocky and jagged that a nasty fall will probably involve a helicopter ride out. Me, I prefer walking out.

Mamradpivo's avatar

I’m a big fan of my new (this past spring) Keen boots. They’re incredibly comfortable and have held up great after a couple seasons of day hikes and a little camping in Oregon.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

It depends where you’re hiking. Any mountain store employee worth her salt will be able to point you in the right direction. She will also tell you, provided you are embarking on a journey of any measurable length, that what you really need are a pair of heavy duty hiking boots. Depending on the difficulty of your expedition, this may not be true. I hiked Mount Whitney (a short, relatively easy climb) in a pair of simple Merrill trail shoes that I cannot recommend enough.

BarnacleBill's avatar

@Ltryptophan, that’s an awesome looking boot.

@woodcutter, I think what you’re going to find is that there are a lot of quality boots out there, and that you should expect to pay between $120 – $200 for them. They will be an investment, and as you won’t wear them the way you would wear athletic shoes or everyday shoes, you will have them for a long time. $200 for a shoe you have 10 years is like buying a pair of $20 shoes each year for 10 years, in terms of cost. Like athletic shoes, each manufacturer makes their shoes differently, it terms of width through the toe box, the height and amount of ankle support, the arch support, even the distance from the heel to the ball of the foot, and from the ball of the foot to the tip of the longest toe. High arches, flat feet…

MGreen's avatar

I think Keen makes great, and comfortable, outdoor shoes!

incendiary_dan's avatar

I usually go with Milspec paratrooper boots and remove the heel so I can walk more stealthily. I prefer thin soled footwear with little or no arch support so I can walk more like how our feet are designed for. The last pair I got, though, wasn’t quite up to snuff. They usually last for a couple years at least, but the stitching started coming apart after maybe 8 months.

Buttonstc's avatar

You mentioned wanting to avoid the hassle of returns etc for ordering online. But if you can’t find an REI store close enough or find a comfy fit, Zappos has free shipping BOTH ways.

They carry many of the same brands as REI plus some and they’re a great company to deal with. 24 hr. telephone availability and their customer service reps are head and shoulders above the rest.

I had long been aware of people raving about this company but really hadn’t dealt with them until recently when none of a dozen or so stores in my local area were carrying any Down-filled camping booties.

I was incredulous after calling all around to the appropriate stores here. I guess I’m the only one in Michigan with cold feet.

Anyhow, I ordered from Zappos and was delighted with their helpfulness. Plus, the ones I chose ended up being a tad too small, but their 365 day return window gave me the assurance that when they restock my item in the larger size I can return these.

In the meantime, the phone rep made several suggestions of alternate selections.

And I have the option to keep them or return those when the larger size for my original ones is reordered-EVEN if it’s several months later. Due to their liberal return and free shipping policy, it’s totally risk free for me. Whichever one I decide to return, they’ll send me a pre-paid shipping label for the return. The only (really tiny) inconvenience will be to re-tape the original box and notify UPS for pickup.

I can live with that :)

In case you can’t find what you want locally, it’s nice to know you can have Zappos as a fallback. They really are a fantastic company that knows the true meaning of customer service. That’s quite a rarity in this day and age.

woodcutter's avatar

I just now checked out the zappo site for a quick second and saw some really attractive shoes there @Buttonstc, I really want to keep the price at around 100 bucks if possible. They look cool. My pup and I are day hikers so I don’t see the need to go nuclear on this. I’m still gathering up things to carry with us to make it more enjoyable. My old girl and I used to strike out with nothing but a biker bottle and we did ok but as we both got old it was rough. She learned to drink from a camelback I got for this, and now my new pup does it too.

Buttonstc's avatar

In that case, you may also want to give www.6pm.com a try as well

I just found out yesterday that this is a “sister site” to Zappos which carries the closeouts,clearance and on sale items (and possiblyreturns as well) at much lower prices.

If your feet are at either end of the size spectrum, that’s where they have the most bargains since those are usually the ones left over.

It didn’t work particularly well for me cuz my size is right in the middle and tends to sell out first.

But I saw tons of size 11, 12, and 14s at rock bottom prices.

But I’ve found regular Zappos pricing to usually be quite reasonable and frequently the lowest for a particular item when everything is factored in.

Other sites may have it listed for less but when their $7–9 AND MORE shipping charges are added to the advertised price in their low initial listing, Zappos will still be the lowest actual out-of-pocket total.

Some sites on which I’ve looked have been less than forthright or upfront about the ship charges they will add. You have to go numerous clicks further and create a cart in ordr to get a true total.

I have yet to order from Amazon because they carry this to the extreme. One cannot see a final total including the ship charges unless they enter in their credit card number. I know of no other site which takes it that far

I refuse to fork over my cc number just so I can get a straightforward idea of the ACTUAL amt. of money I will be out of pocket. I wonder how many other customers they’re losing besides me due to this stupid way of choosing to do business.

That’s why Zappos and Overstock get my business and Amazon doesn’t. Yes, their listed prices are frequently the lowest, by a few bucks, on any Internet product search, but the ship charges can bump up that “bargain” price by a significant margin. Because they have so many affiliated marketers using their store’s checkout system, these charges are all over the map, so it’s basically a gamble. The smarter affiliated businesses will include the ship charges in their listing but many don’t and Amazon doesn’t do it for their own items.

I much prefer a place that’s either free ship or a reasonable flat fee and they’re the ones who get my business.

Anyhow, Overstock.com is another place you can try. Reasonable or rock bottom pricing on everything under the sun. They charge a flat $3 ship fee regardless of how large a purchase may be.

I’m sure you’ll be able to get your hiking boots for a reasonable price if you search around a bit and keep a sharp eye out for bargains.

woodcutter's avatar

here’s what I got today at big 5. For about 68 bucks. They feel pretty good hope i did ok http://www.hi-tec.com/us/47839-product-windhoek_mid-all.html

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