The shoe fits but what caused the blister?

#31
I never said they were classified as a "Narrow." I simply said they trend narrow, just as goofy Keens aren't classified as "Wide" yet you could put a clown foot in there.
I'm sorry, you're right. I wanted to clarify in print that these are not narrow shoes. If you are an A-AA width with a low volume foot, go to Red Wing to try on these boots or contact the custom boot makers noted here on EP. These are about your only choices in America. It is critical that all of you understand this. White's Boots seems to have the most reasonable deal, at $270 for a low-cut hiking boot. Another one would be the Thornbush PH by Russell Moccasin for $325 without options. As I mentioned, Red Wing would at most resole and recondition the leather. These other companies will completely rebuild your boots if necessary. I think these companies, though initially expensive, would be the best deal going over the long run. That would be if you absolutely can't find anything that fits or works.

I need to add one other thing - if you need a boot just like the I'm raving about, but for cold weather, without the steel toe cap, consider Red Wing's model no 1626, which is the same shoe as the 2326, otherwise.
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
#32
Then I have to correct you and clarify things a bit. Oboz nor Vasque do not make a narrow boot, but merely a medium-width boot that "happens to run a LITTLE narrow." Definitely not classified officially as a narrow-width boot (must be B-width or less). We have Vasque boots at REI,!
You're in luck.

Vasque:

Item# W7465 - Breeze GTX Women's Narrow
Item# W7177 - Wasatch GTX Women's Narrow

Those carry over to 2011.
 
#35
2010 and 2011 Dealer catalog.
But who sells them FOR Vasque? They may not be available in the American market. They are not available at Gander Mountain, REI, nor Cabela's. Only in medium width with some wide options. I honestly don't believe that they are sold here. Until somebody coughs up the web site of a retailer in America, they don't exist.
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
#36
But who sells them FOR Vasque? They may not be available in the American market. They are not available at Gander Mountain, REI, nor Cabela's. Only in medium width with some wide options. I honestly don't believe that they are sold here. Until somebody coughs up the web site of a retailer in America, they don't exist.
What in the wuurld are you talking about?? Just because a retailer online doesn't chose to stock those narrows in inventory, that does not mean they are not available, or NOT sitting on a shelf at the Red Wing warehouse in MN by the crate.

It's right here in front of me in the Vasque Fall 2010 dealer catalog as well as in the Spring 2011 dealer catalog.

We're like a lot of retailers. We seldom INVENTORY narrows and wides, but that doesn't mean we can't get one here in our store with a phone call or an email.

Dealer web site: http://www.vasque.com/vasque-shoe/7465-vasque/7465-vasque-womens-breeze-gtx-xcr-olive-sage:sombrero:
 
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#37
What in the wuurld are you talking about?? Just because a retailer online doesn't chose to stock those narrows in inventory, that does not mean they are not available, or NOT sitting on a shelf at the Red Wing warehouse in MN by the crate.

It's right here in front of me in the Vasque Fall 2010 dealer catalog as well as in the Spring 2011 dealer catalog.

We're like a lot of retailers. We seldom INVENTORY narrows and wides, but that doesn't mean we can't get one here in our store with a phone call or an email.

Dealer web site: http://www.vasque.com/vasque-shoe/7465-vasque/7465-vasque-womens-breeze-gtx-xcr-olive-sage:sombrero:
I checked it out, and yes, it's there. HOWEVER, I check all five retailers here in Houston including my footwear department at REI. We can't special order these. The only one who could special order them is Sun and Ski. I would have to call Vasque and ask to confirm a rumor that they would discontinue the Breeze model soon. One of the stores said that it would be discontinued ONLY in the narrow and wide width and keep making them in the medium width only.

Now, what about a heavy-duty hiking boot in the A-AA width range with a steel shank for long-distance backpacking with say, 50 lbs? I haven't found anything that would work thus far without going custom.

Aside from that, I found two other makers you might consider - http://www.nicksboots.com/ and Viberg at http://www.workboot.com/ - I don't know anything about these two, I just saw them on a page discussing lineman boots.
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
#38
I checked it out, and yes, it's there. HOWEVER, I check all five retailers here in Houston including my footwear department at REI. We can't special order these. Now, what about a heavy-duty hiking boot in the A-AA width range with a steel shank for long-distance backpacking with say, 50 lbs? I haven't found anything that would work thus far without going custom.

.
Any Vasque dealer can order any Vasque boot. There's no such thing as a limited dealership. It might be that certain retailers don't want to special order them, but they certainly are available to any Vasque dealer. We've ordered a number of narrow and wide Breeze and Briza boots. We just don't stock them because the regular widths fit most of our customers.

Regarding the steel shank component, you won't find many boots with steel shanks. Steel shanks are/were used to stiffen leather mid-soles. Traditionally, the only things available to add stiffness to a boot were heavy layers of leather, essentially raw-hide, augmented with a steel shank. This is common for those classic Norwegian Welted boots like Fabianos, Limmers, etc. Zamberlan is going to re-introduce some Norwegian Welted boots with leather mid-soles and steel shanks. Point being, newer boots don't need the steel. Higher tech alpineering boots as an example will use a variety of fiberglass, nylon, or even carbon fiber mid soles to add stiffness without additional weight (steel ain't light), as well as being able to keep the sole thin. A La Sportiva Makalu has a small chunk of steel (3/4 shank) in it to augment the stiffness of the nylon midsole. So, the inclusion or absense of steel is relative to the construction method used for the boot, not a measure of it's capabilities on the trail. My alpineering boots are as rigid as a plank without a steel shank.

Anywho...the world is flush with excellent boot options. In fact, the much harder part is finding solid custom boot makers. I think one of the very best backpacking boots available these days is this:

http://www.lowaboots.com/catalog/ShowBoot.cfm?StockNum=2204964649&Category=2&Type=M

And whattaya know, it's available in a narrow!! Notice it forgoes the clunky steel shank for a much more efficient 5mm "full width" and "full length" nylon midsole or shank. Sweet boot.
 
#39
Wow! Thank you on that Lowa model. I have never been able to find boots like this via google. I'll have to see if I can get a dealer deal on it through work. It would be nice to try it on first, though, since these deals not are returnable per REI policy, AND I can't sell it for a year from purchase IIRC.

It's been a while since I worked footwear, so I forgot about the full-length shanks and the materials. Thanks for the reminder! They do make the boots lighter! Recently, I tried on some casual boots from Merrell, and I was marching around like a nazi or communist soldier because they were so light. The feel of the boot told me they were heavy, but they're not. It's like picking up an empty jug you think is full. Hilarious!

I'll have to contact Whole Earth Provision and see if they can special order these (I recall him saying that he didn't have a single narrow width boot available at the store and didn't know of one, either). These look like a done deal! I would have to find out about whether they can be resoled (do you know?).

The thing about the Red Wing 2326 model is that they can be resoled. I hate having to search all over again for narrow boots, especially if some of these models you've shown thus far cease production in the future. I'm buying multiple pairs for that reason. I don't know if I would be buying these (Lowa and Vasque), since I'm not a backpacker, really, and I'm on the light side. I just like a good, sturdy boot that fits well and works well year-round and on the day hikes I take from my truck. These are rated to be very comfortable on concrete, which is where I spend the vast majority of the time outside of home. I've had to wear the superfeet in the old boots, though. Otherwise, my feet would hurt. I'm going to try wearing the new ones without superfeet, and then see the difference. If they don't give me enough arch support out of the box, I will REALLY feel the difference, as I have a high arch.

Good job on digging up these boots! I've bookmarked these for future reference.
 

T.Low

Expedition Leader
#40
ALso in the hiking boot business years ago (did the Phil Oren boot fit clinics multiple times).

SOme good info in this thread so far. One thing I've not heard so far is to change into fresh dry socks at lunch break. That was always a recomendation when I was in the industry.

Air out the dogs at lunch, then pull on a fresh pair of socks for the remainder of day. (recommended even with the hi tech hiking socks in mind).
Feet sweat a lot morethan most people realize. They are one of the main areas of sweat glands in the body. Especially if you're in waterproof boot with the GoerTex PTFE membrane

With your boots laced up snug, you should barely be able to jamb a finger down inside the back of the boot to the bottom of your heal. Anything more is too loose. And your fitter should have held your boot to the ground as you attempted to raise your heal. He should know if it had too much movement or not, inwhich case SuperFeet insoles or the like should have been tested.

It takes time to do a proper boot fit.If people came in at 20 minutes to closing, I would tell them there was no way we could do a proper fitting that night.

I too remember the Summit Hut in Tucson and you could probably call and get an appointment there with a Phil Oren boot fitting clinic attendee, even with your boots you've purchased elsewhere.
 
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Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
#41
ALso in the hiking boot business years ago (did the Phil Oren boot fit clinics multiple times).
Ha! Small world. Phil Oren is from Prescott. I was in his first week-long boot fitting clinic. Because of that, I was in many subsequent fit clinics as his system evolved and then...devolved. Dude had some messed up feet, huh?

Stephanie,

Because of the way these boots are made these days, resoling is not really much of an option. I could elaborate, but suffice it to say, when the soles are done, so too is the boot. That said, by the time you put 2,000 miles on your boots, new boots sound pretty darn attractive. Regarding buying two or three extra pairs, don't bother. People have had narrow, wide, fat, round, crooked and funky feet for decades and will long into the future. There will be ample boots to fit your feet in the future. I did plunk down $1200 for two pair of custom Fabiano Mountain Masters a decade ago because I happened to be in Italy at the factory and I knew they wouldn't be easy to get later on. Those Lowas would take a LOT of walking to wear out.
 
#42
Because of the way these boots are made these days, resoling is not really much of an option. I could elaborate, but suffice it to say, when the soles are done, so too is the boot. That said, by the time you put 2,000 miles on your boots, new boots sound pretty darn attractive. Regarding buying two or three extra pairs, don't bother.

I can't not bother. I don't have the time to be researching boots all over again every 4 years (I'm about to hit 4 years with these and may go to 5 years). Boot makers usually NEVER keep the same models in stock or even change the last on them or drop certain widths over the years. These Red Wings can be resoled, so I'm sticking with the decision to buy more of these so that as I wear out one pair, I can send them in and pull the next pair out. That way, I don't have to wait on them, and I don't have to spend several weeks like I did last time looking for these old ones back then. Not to mention being able to pull out a new pair out of storage for $129 versus $150-170 later on down the road or when they break down when I'm out of a job. That's one thing I didn't mention about buying several pair. What if I lose my job, but need a new pair? Got that covered.

I haven't heard the name Phil Oren in years. What happened?
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
#43
Boot makers usually NEVER keep the same models in stock or even change the last on them

I haven't heard the name Phil Oren in years. What happened?
Actually, many of the better boot makers never change their lasts. I've actually been to the La Sportiva factory in Ziana de Fiemme, Italy. They have the same lasts they've used for 50 years. They're the crown jewels of any boot maker. They're in many ways the identity of a maker's ability to make a boot for....a foot....their ideal foot, the last. So, if a pair of Makalus from 1995 fits, so too will a pair of 2020 Karakorum Super What Evers.

I'd also point out that everyone's feet change. Something I hoped wouldn't happen even though the Fabiano fitter told me it would. So, keep in mind your fit today may not be the same fit in just five years.

Oh, and Phil just retired. I still see him around now and then. Super nice man.
 
#44
Actually, many of the better boot makers never change their lasts. I've actually been to the La Sportiva factory in Ziana de Fiemme, Italy. They have the same lasts they've used for 50 years. They're the crown jewels of any boot maker. They're in many ways the identity of a maker's ability to make a boot for....a foot....their ideal foot, the last. So, if a pair of Makalus from 1995 fits, so too will a pair of 2020 Karakorum Super What Evers.

I'd also point out that everyone's feet change. Something I hoped wouldn't happen even though the Fabiano fitter told me it would. So, keep in mind your fit today may not be the same fit in just five years.
I'm just going by my own experience. I can try a slightly different boot, but it's never the same fit as it was years ago. I had a pair of Merrells, I forgot which one it was (those, I bought around '91), and they had a sloppy fit. Looking back on it now, I didn't think anything of it then, since they were very cushy shoes and hid fitting problems that wouldn't come up at all unless I was on the trail in rough country, and I thought that how it was supposed to be. Getting out there was about toughing it out in those days for me. This was pre-REI (I joined in '93, left in '95, and came back in 2005). I did buy a pair of women's work boots from Red Wing probably about '96-'97, now that I remember, and they fit like a glove, contact with my feet everywhere up to just behind the ball of the foot and plenty of room in the toe box. They were real heavy, though. Things fell through in 2000 and I had to start all over. I made my way back to REI and bought a pair of Vasque Mica or Mica II boots, I think. They didn't fit well, but couldn't find anything else then. I wore thick socks with them and didn't take them on the trails as I hadn't gotten back to the point I could afford to travel without waiting for something else to fall out of my previous car, so I don't know how miserable I would have been on the trail, especially downhill a mile. They started to wear out after nearly two years on the job, so I started looking. It took me several weeks of looking. I looked at the models we had on the web site, I looked at the other retailers in the hope of finding this exotic, Italian or Norwegian hiking boot that would fit me perfect. Hah... Finally I got to thinking about the Red Wings I bought way back then and wondered if they were still in business, so I looked them up and explained to them my problem. I found a couple of their hikers, and they were the best fit so far, but not quite how I needed them to be. Something like this, which are near 4 years old now, and I have not had problems with them so far.

http://www.redwingshoes.com/productdetails.aspx?prodid=1191

No toe contact, no blisters, EVER, even on the entire trail system at Lost Maples (11 miles of some pretty rugged hiking with rocky trails - I don't get out much). The bottom of my feet did hurt, though, and I don't know if that was from too soft an outsole or lack of physical conditioning.

I have a different pair that are suede, different model, same story. The best fit so far, but can't really complain considering the circumstances. And now, I'm finding these new ones to be by far a much better fit. And I'm wearing the light hiker socks for now to really get a feel for how they feel. I have tried to wear them with the thicker socks, and it's the same if I lace them up looser, just a softer feel to the fit. I'm very happy with these. Since they are not gortex or waterproof-breathable, They should breathe better and keep the sweat down, especially here in hot, humid Houston.

I came home from work, and I forgot to take my old boots off, and when I did, just from hours of sitting and reading, my socks were sweaty. The waterproof-breathable stuff, I've not been too crazy about for technical reasons.

Yes, I noticed customer's feet would change over the years after they would try on some of the longer-lived models like the Vasque Sundowners. Some people would have to go up a half size if they had their old boots for more than 5 years. I would have them sit down to be measured and then stand up and remeasure to see if there was a change in the way their arch maintains its shape. If there was, like their feet elongated quite a bit, and I couldn't pick up their big toe while standing at attention, I would talk to them about Superfeet, especially this group of people. The feet tends to change over the years, especially if they don't stay on a healthy dietary and let themselves go. I mean major changes in some cases where illness is involved, and they're just starting to get back outdoors on easy hikes as part of their health recovery program. When they lose weight, a few months later they'll come back and ask for a different boot because their feet are different from the conditioning and weight loss.

I'm one of those people whose feet stay stable and my weight stays the same, and that's why I'm willing to buy the extra pairs knowing they will fit me years later. That's what I've had to do working in the office environments with pumps or flats, depending on the job. I ought to mention that one thing that keeps my feet in shape is the fact that I drum with a double bass drum pedal on my drum set, and I like to play rock.
 
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#45
I just ordered the Lowa Banff Pro in the narrow width yesterday, through my company! Hopefully, they'll be here before the New Year. I want to try them out before deciding to order more pairs.
 
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