gear I use: footwear
This is just one post in a group of posts about the outdoor gear I use in my own adventures. It's not about what is "the best", it's about what works (and in some cases doesn't) work for me, getting done what I need done. I'm always up for suggestions, questions and feedback, that's what the comments are for!
For the longest time, my all around favorite, every day wear shoe was the Danner Tachyon boot. They are light, comfy, and great for street or trail. They are similar style to a military jungle boot, so they are not any sort of water resistant. The main downside is that the soles are soft and wear down relatively quickly. I wear the soles down long before the uppers wear out on me.
Well, mostly. Out of the half-dozen pair I’ve gone through over the years, on a couple of them the rubber where the toe of the sole wraps over the top of the boot started separating. I used a bit of glue, and it never became more than just the edge, but was a bit annoying when it happened.
Unfortunately, They no longer make the tan ones, which were my preference. Right now that means black, sage green and coyote. I have sage green right now, and will probably get a pair of coyote when I’m ready to get a new pair.
When I wanted to move to something a bit beefier, I stopped by the Danner outlet in Portland and picked up a pair of Tanicus Dry (the waterproof version). I wore them the next day to do about 8-9 miles at Mt. St. Helens, and wasn’t sure I was going to like them. Took a few more wears to get them broken in, and they are my go to winter boot for snowshoeing and such. They are ok in the summer, but can get a bit warm, so they’re more of my three-season option or fall through spring.
My main issue with them is the stiff ankle area can make them difficult to slip on and off, I really have to shove my foot in there. Once on though, they’re very comfy. And their water proofing really works… well, at least until you submerge the boot.
They seem to have a zip up option, that when I get to the point of needing to replace them, I may go that route.
Looking for something in between the Tachyon and Tanicus, I got these on sale at REI, the Oboz Sawtooth Mid BDry boot. They are the boot I probably wore the most during the cooler months during 2018 and into 2019. Until the laces started busting.
The outer layer started cutting against one of the metal lacers, and in the two hikes I took after replacing them, I ended up with blisters on my heels both times. The only thing I can think of is I somehow messed up the fit when re-lacing them. I want to get it figured out cause I like these boots too much to just give up on them.
I was using them mainly for shorter hikes, and then went through another pair of laces. Since moving to another set, I seem to have no issues with blisters and they’ve been my main pair for spring-fall hikes when I don’t want the high support of the Tanicus, but want something beefier than my trail shoes.
They no longer seem to make this model, so when it’s time to replace them I will see what else Oboz has to offer.
My most recent pair are from 2019, a pair of Merrell MQM Flex Hiking Shoes from REI. They are my hot weather choice. They’re lightweight, not quite a trail runner, but close. I was looking for something light like the Tachyon’s, but in a shoe, not boot. I know the soles will wear quicker than my hiking boots, but given that I don’t wear them year round, I know I’ll still get years of use out of them.
They’re nice for some of the shorter backpacking trips, they’re comfortable enough that I don’t need to also carry a pair of camp shoes to wear after taking off my boots at the end of the day. These breath great, and are easy to slip on after getting out of the hammock.
This wasn’t my first attempt at using a lightweight shoe, about 2 years earlier I bought a pair of La Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX hiking shoes. Overall, I liked them… but after putting on about 30 or so miles, they just weren’t fitting right. I ended up taking them back to REI. My only real concern with these so far is they have been quite slick on wet rock/wood, so I just have to make sure I’m very careful doing crossings and such.
Overall, I do try to buy my footwear from REI. I know I may find the same item elsewhere cheaper at times, but the 1-year return with an REI membership means I can really put it through it’s paces and make sure it’s going to work for me. It’s different when it’s an everyday shoe that I’m only wearing around work, etc. When I’m miles from anywhere, I want to know my feet are taken care of.