I usually prefer to hike in trail runners, but this fall I worked for a conservation corp in Colorado and I had to have a
pair of leather, ankle high boots. I went with a pair of Vasque Taku GTX hiking boots because I found them at an REI garage sale for $45 (they are $180 new).
Since I was working for a conservation corp, I wasn’t hiking all day everyday. I was doing lots of trail maintenance work in them, walking across streams, and carrying a pack that was at least 50 pounds (I wouldn’t recommend having a 50 pound pack ever, it was just part of carrying community gear and tools). While I did hike in these boots everyday, I didn’t hike as much as I would on a regular backpacking trip. Due to the nature of my job, they did see a lot of action though.
The product description promises that these boots are waterproof yet breathable, good traction, and great support. Like I said, I bought these boots used, so some of the cons might be alleviated by buying a new pair.
- They are definitely waterproof. During a few stream crossings, the water came up to about two inches below the rim of the boot, and they stayed dry. One rainy day, I spent several hours working in a stream to place rocks so hikers could cross easily. Water did not leak in at all.
- The traction is great. I lived in these boots for about 30 days total (on dirt, sand, and rocky terrain), and the traction still looks relatively new. Even while walking across wet rocks, I felt pretty secure.
- These boots are durable. They still don’t look or feel very worn. They will definitely last quite a while longer.
- The boots I bought were for men, but they still fit pretty well.
- They do take a while to break in. Even after a few weeks of wearing them, I was still getting blisters.
- They aren’t very breathable. My socks were damp and sweaty almost every day. My toes were never cold from having wet socks though.
- The rubber on the toe of the boot started peeling relatively quickly. However, it didn’t seem to affect their water-proofing.
These boots would be great for hiking in a rainy climate, snow, or cold weather when you want to assure that your feet stay dry and warm. They would also be great for anyone who wants a boot that will last a really long time. However, if you’re planning on hiking in a hot, dry environment I would go with something more breathable.