Forum Index > Gear Talk > Lightest, cheapest, waterproof hiking boots?
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peter707
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peter707
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PostWed Feb 21, 2024 10:58 am 
I'm working on joining Snohomish County Search & Rescue. On the required gear list are waterproof hiking boots. I use trailrunners and road running shoes in the mountains, but I plan to carry a pair of waterproof hiking boots in my pack as required. And who knows, I might end up using them as weather will be worse when not getting to select the day. Bonus points if the shoes are good at bushwhacking. Any recommendations?

Cyclopath, KascadeFlat
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Bowregard
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PostWed Feb 21, 2024 12:38 pm 
It sounds like you are not really all-in on the idea of wearing boots at this point. If I was in your shoes (so to speak) I would be looking for something fairly flexible at a lower cost than many of the top quality boots that are available. Most common boot brands sell a flexible light-weight version these days and some of the specialty running brands have begun selling mid height waterproof "hiking boots". Ten years age I bought a pair of light-weight Keen waterproof mid height boots that fit great and didn't break the bank. The uppers started separating from the sole after a couple years and the sole started to come apart but remarkably they still stayed dry and although I switched to a sturdier brand for hiking they felt so good I kept gluing them together and still use them around the yard today. My point is they weren't very durable but were a good transition to boots from shoes until I found out if I liked wearing boots and learned what my feet needed. I chose to move on to more supportive longer lasting boots but part of that was my aging feet. To be more specific I would go to downtown REI or similar that has a large selection, tell them what I am looking for, and try on a large variety of boots focusing on how they fit and feel. I would make sure to include both traditional boot brands but also try on Altra and Hoka and pick one that fits your budget and is most likely to get used. If you find you like wearing boots then start asking around and looking for a more durable boot that fits as your requirements change. I may get flamed for this (hikers are notoriously loyal to their favorite boot brands) but That's my $.02

peter707, KascadeFlat
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KascadeFlat
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PostWed Feb 21, 2024 2:10 pm 
Congrats! SCVSAR is a great org. Honestly, I'd recommend a REI trip and just pick up something from the clearance rack. Then after you have been on a few missions you can upgrade as needed. But since you asked.... I have used three types of boots over the years and I'll discuss the pros and cons of each. Light weight mid height boots from La Sportiva (don't remember exact model). These were by far and away my all time favorites. They lasted about 5 years of missions + recreational hiking before they were sent to the Great Shoe Closet in the Sky. Not good for snow. La Sportiva mountaineering boots. I had these for climbing and I only wear them for missions where I know we will be snowshoeing (very very very rare). Very stiff and cumbersome for long hiking. Lowas mid height insulated boots. I actually use these a lot more often than I would have guessed. Sometimes you are in a "hurry up and wait" situation and you can layer/up down your tops and bottoms but not necessarily your feet.... I wear these in winter and shoulder seasons. Too warm for summer! With any boot I always double layer wool socks - thin wool liner sock and thicker sock over top. This works wonders for keeping the feet warm in dry or wet conditions. Throw gaiters on anything (including your Crocs!) and you'll be a bushwhacking machine!

For a good time call: 1-800-SLD-ALDR.

peter707, RichP
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Chief Joseph
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PostWed Feb 21, 2024 3:12 pm 
For a lower priced option I would go with Hi-tech or Keens, for a longer lasting option I recommend Asolo's that are mostly all leather and can be waterproofed with Obenoffs, Snow Seal, Mink Oil, etc...I bought some online several years ago, I paid $220 total with an online purchase, they can also be re-soled. They will very likely be the last boots I will ever buy. Like you I wear trail runners or lightweight hikers but for wet, cold, and sometimes steep and rocky conditions, I will wear the boots. Cabella's has a great selection and Fred Meyer carries Hi-Tek with frequent sales.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.

peter707
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huron
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PostWed Feb 21, 2024 7:36 pm 
Light, cheap, waterproof... pick two? Like you, I try to do more in trail runners but sometimes you really need some warmth or edging ability. Maybe the best way to get the cheap box checked is to bring/buy one pair rather than two. I like the LaSportiva Ultra Raptor boot. As comfortable as a trail runner but still as water resistant as any other membrane based WP shoe and quite capable for many activities. In the really wet stuff, knee high wellies will keep you dry for a bargain price.

peter707, dave allyn, KascadeFlat
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Chief Joseph
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PostWed Feb 21, 2024 8:14 pm 
I owned a pair of those ^^^ and they quickly fell apart, I had better luck with the Hi-Teks...Merrell also makes a decent boot for not a lot of money.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.

peter707
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dave allyn
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PostFri Feb 23, 2024 4:23 pm 
The best shoes according to an internet website might not be the best for you. Go to some outdoor store like REI and try some on before you buy. The terrain and conditions you encounter on rescue can be different from a trail hike. There's probably a good reason for wanting proper footwear on a rescue. Like not wanting to carry out a rescuer with a broken ankle. And size and weight of rescue loads make carrying an extra pair not a particularly good idea.

peter707, Kascadia
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domaz
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PostMon Feb 26, 2024 8:59 am 
La Sportiva's are great but I wish they would make wide versions of their boots and shoes. They are just too dang narrow for me 90% of the time.

peter707
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huron
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PostMon Feb 26, 2024 9:45 am 
Hear ya. Wide here too. Not all retailers stock them tho.

peter707
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PostMon Feb 26, 2024 1:50 pm 
Any properly-built boot with leather uppers and a good proper dose of Obenauf's LP will be about as waterproof as you're going to get. I wore out one pair of low-end "Timberland" boots - the soles came unbuttoned from the uppers - but they served well for the time I used them. I am wearing out another pair of similar low-end "Timberland" boots right now. They've been doped up good with Obenauf's a couple times. My feet stay dry. They are not the best in respect to how they're constructed - they have a problem with their crappy metal eyelet hooks they use - but for the money you can't beat 'em with a stick. ($35 + shipping from ebay) (The Merrells on the right were $30 bucks including shipping from a Craigslist seller up in Bellingham.) Search ebay for "boot 12" (or whatever size you're wearing.) Pretty amazing what's out there in the "second hand market". (Both the Timberlands and New Balance models were listed as "used" but both were new as near as I could tell.) YMMV

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."

peter707
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