I have a big climb I've just been able to book, but need advice on buying and breaking in boots.
Last time I went to high altitude, I had a pair of reliable four seasons I'd been using on the smaller climbs and snow stuff. They were about two years old, in great shape, but really used to my feet.
Anyway- The guy at the retail place says that, even gearing up for a big climb, I can afford to wait up to two weeks before setting out, and still buy and break in new boots. This seems like cutting it close to me, but I've never had to do it before. I might buy new boots two weeks before a little climb, but I've got a six day trip planned, including high altitude. I need my boots to work, especially if I have to take out a small mortgage to get them.
So, is two weeks long enough to break in heavy boots before an unusually big climb for me?
Also, looking for advice on a lighter weight but sturdy four seasons boot. My Mammuts have been with me on every big excursion. I've loved them, but they were really heavy... feel like I'm lifting boulders with every step after about hour ten... Anyone recommend a good women's boot that's a bit lighter weight for the sturdyness?
Breaking in boots (and shoes) comes from the days when said items were all-leather. Here the warmth and humidity from your foot moulded the leather to the shape of your foot. Synthetic materials, like Gore-Tex, do not behave that way, and the bottom line is the boot better feel right when you purchase it, because it's not going to "break in" in the traditional way. We've headed out the day we purchased our boots and had no issues what so ever. I'm very, very picky regarding footwear because I have "problem feet".
On thing to consider. There is no "standard" foot size or foot shape amongst the various footware manufacturers. The make their lasts, based on internal company standards. This means you may find a particular shoe or boot that fits really well, but the same from another manufacturer just doesn't fit right. If you find a manufacturer that makes a boot you like, you should consider sticking with it.
Our personal preference is a company called Lowa. By some unknown fluke, my wife and I ended up with exactly the same boot and we both love them. Light and sturdy, and unfortunately the saying "you get what you pay for" is true; they are not inexpensive. We've had them in quite interesting terrain on at least four continents...
Hope this helps.
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Grumpy gives some excellent advice.
I personally am sceptical about being able to break in boots in a fortnight - not necessarily because I don't think it's possible, but rather because you have no time to take corrective action if the boots you buy don't turn out to be compatible with your feet (you'll have a thousand other things to worry about in the final countdown to your trip).
If you think about it, if you're going to hike Kili, then the single biggest thing that could go wrong is that your boots let you down. Considering the huge investment (time, money and anticipation) that you'll have made in this trip, then I don't think that this is a risk you want to take. I don't quite understand why you would want to consider waiting to make the purchase until so close to your departure - probably the eye watering cost? - but if it were me, I'd bite the bullet and buy then sooner rather than later and get then broken in so that this is one less thing that you need to worry about.
And just as a piece of whimsy, here's a YouTube link to the song you may want to celebrate with once you reach the top of Uhuru peak (Kilimanjaro by Juluka): youtube.com/watch?v=C2R0mRif...
Regards (and good luck!)
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