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I bought them a few days ago and took them for a long walk and then a short hike to try them out. They were fine with the walk, they felt great, but with the hike, problems problems problems. A seam seems to have been done slightly wrong and looks damaged. A friend who runs the shop and was with me at the time took one look at them and apologized, offering either an exchange or money back, that it's clearly a manufacturing fault, very uncommon with this brand, but it can happen.

I thought I'll go for the exchange, but then on the unaffected boot something started rubbing really bad against the top of my big toe joint with every step. The other with the loosened seam was OK. We were going downhill for most of the time. I had an unrelated blister on my heel from before so I started out with that foot slightly loosened, but then came to the point that no matter how I laced it was just bad. It's like the boot decided on a point where it bent in and that point was exactly against my toe. It was really, really painful in the end.

Now I have the option of looking elsewhere, but after trying on tons of boots these are the closest I came to a good fit. They were also great on the walk and they felt fantastic at first. I actually have this problem very often with boots, just not this painful. I often pad that area for a while until the boot "learns" to bend differently. I think I generally get shoes that are too long to accommodate my width and then certain parts of the shoe hit places they were not designed to... But it also could have been down to the initial bad lacing. That is why I don't want to give up on them.

But then, I'm really afraid that this coupled with the defect is actually a sign of them being a poor fit on me. That perhaps there was no fault in the boot and it's just my foot and walking style that broke it and I feel really bad about it...

I just don't know. Any ideas or pointers?

  • what kind of boots are those? sturdy full-leather? – njzk2 Sep 15 '16 at 19:36
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    Why to vote to close this? Question about boots might be one of the most important topics in this whole SE. – Desorder Sep 15 '16 at 20:27
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    Is there a reason you want boots rather than shoes for hiking? Ankle support is a myth for most folks. I just did a week long off-trail trip over talus and boulders in Inov-8 trail runners. I would have hated it in boots. – topshot Sep 15 '16 at 20:28
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    I was actually looking at lighter shoes at first as I'm used to being barefoot a lot of the time, but they lacked certain things I feel I need for hiking while being as clumsy as I am with my totally flimsy joints - proper grip, not shifting on my foot (all low shoes do that on me), waterproofing, cushioning, some ankle support - things like that. These actually were the lightest option with these features. It has been remarked that I bend and work my foot a bit too much compared to other people and that it might not be the best idea while wearing most shoes, though. – Martina Sep 15 '16 at 20:32
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    Martina, welcome to outdoors.SE! However, SE is not for personal advice. SE questions are supposed to be ones that have answers that would be of more general interest to people other than the OP. This is very specific to you and your situation and your boots. – Ben Crowell Sep 15 '16 at 21:20
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Boots take a little while to break in. My La Sportiva Makalus is a full leather mountaineering boots and took years to break in. In our mountaineering group, we had another 3 guys using Makalus and we would always finish a trip with busted feet.

Some other boots I have for other activities don't take as long. It usually takes half a dozen trips to break in.

As your friend is the store owner and is happy to replace your boots, you could ask him if you could keep the boots for another couple of trips and see if they get better. Maybe try to use them for a few days (at home, to the supermarket, everywhere) and see if they break in nicely. If they do, then you could exchange for a new pair and go through the process again.

Another tip may be useful is to use a sock liner. That would help avoiding blister. What I usually do is to use a thin sock with a very thick on top.

As a matter of reference, below is the gear I use for my activities.

La Sportiva Makalu

Lowa Z-8s GTX

Vasques ST Elias GTX

Bridgedale Summit socks (the thick pair)

Bridgedale Coolmax Liner (the thin pair)

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