Never ending. That’s what this is. I have been a fan of Scarpa boots for some time now, having Mirage, Rebel Light GTX, Trek, ZG10, and my lightweight option, the Cyclone.
I should probably just use trail shoes, which have been an effective option for me for lighter weight walking and fastpacking. However, sometimes I still look for the height of a midweight boot because it helps keep the gravel and muck out of my feet. This is particularly useful when walking through forested areas where leaf mulch, twigs and bark is easily caught in the low top of a trail shoe.
On a recent multi day trip in italy, I found my outside toes were taking quite a battering in the Cyclones after day four, this was starting to be an annoyance with some uncomfortable blisters developing. I had previously noticed this on an overnight backpacking trip in Scotland, but convinced myself that this was due to being part way through a busy week of traditional Scottish big booted mountaineering wearing the ZG10s. I realised that for my next trip, if I wish to continue wearing mid height, lightweight boots then I may need to find replacements.
So began the search.
I have become very conscious of the fit of my boots. The Scarpa lasts are all very similar on me with a little pressure on the outside of the foot which is only noticable when I focus on it. My B3 boots are Raichle and have a similar fit. Asolo are too narrow on me, as are La Sportiva.
Meindl have a reputation for being a wider fit, and an earlier trip to Whalley Outdoor found me being properly fitted for a new pair of approach shoes. To my amazement, I was told I was a size 8.5. Having previously worn 9.5 to 10.5 depending on brand this came as a bit of a surprise, but the Meindl Comfort Fit was exactly that. Snug, but not tight, they were a good buy.
It was an obvious option to try, but the range of Meindl boots I was able to try revealed that unless I could get the comfort fit in an appropriate style, I was going to be out of luck with the brand.
With a trip to Andalusia looming, boot choice is again a concern. From Scottish winter to Spanish spring, the occasional heavy downpour could not be ruled out and wet, muddy tracks mean I am looking for boots rather than trail shoes would be the preferred choice. However, I stll want to keep them fairly lightweight.
Back to the drawing board? Perhaps. It feels as though I have exhausted every brand from Asolo to Zamberlan withouth success.
Is there such a thing as a perfect fitting boot? Possibly not. A rubbing bar may be an option, as would the preventative taping of the offending toes. This just prevents the friction, but does not eliminate the bruising from the long descents.
The quest for the Holy Grail of holiday bootwear continues.