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Re: Need Advice/help

>Are we talking about a thru-hike here?  I was under the impression that most
>(all?) boot makers would replace a pair of boots worn out on a thru-hike for
>free.  I've had a couple of thru-hikers tell me this, including cases where
>boots were shipped overnight to waiting hikers.  It seems that the makers
>don't want any bad publicity among a group that tests boots thoroughly and
>tells others what they find.  Maybe this is no longer the case; I'd be
>interested in what others have experienced.

  This was the case for most companies in 1992 anyway.  I started in Maine
and my Vasque Sundowners started coming apart in Massachusetts.  I took a
few days off in New York City, and I was able to replace the boots at an
outfitter at no charge.  The second pair carried me to Georgia, but they
wouldn't have made it much further than that.
  Incidentally, I think you're right about companies not wanting bad
publicity among the AT hiking community.  I recall that a particular
company wouldn't replace a pair of boots for a thruhiker and they got
flamed pretty bad in the registers for miles along the trail.  (OK, the
company in question was ... Timberline.)  Now, I'm not sure that it's right
to expect a manufacturer to replace boots that are put through the rigor of
a thruhike.  But then again, I asked and they said yes.  So I took them up
on it.  I guess it's a good idea to ask about the warranty and whether the
warranty applies for cases or extreme use.

  It is kind of important to consider that if you are going to go through
at least 2 pairs of boots, then you want something easy to break in.  From
what I saw, big heavy mountaineering boots couldn't cut a 2100 mile hike
(never mind that they're a lot of weight to boot -- oops, sorry..).  Folks
who had failures with these boots had to break new ones in.  Not easily
done.  A lighter weight boot that feels good out of the box is generally
easy to break in.  I had no problem with a fresh pair of sundowners (same
for my partner with her newbriers) midway through my hike.  I saw lots of
happy hikers out there wearing Merrells too (and Asolo makes a fine boot).
Some people were even great fans of fabric boots, and I'd consider them a
viable option (although I lean towards leather myself).  But beware of the
really big bulky boots (unless you're a big bulky person I guess).  Just my

Best of Luck,
  Mike    ME-->GA '92

Michael Roberts                    Graduate Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
mroberts@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu   Tulane University