Rated 5 out of 5 by QueenAnnie Excellent for wide feet!
Bought these in a 7.5 Wide, as I'm usually a 7.5 or 8, and they fit perfectly! I usually have to really work hard to break in shoes and especially boots, but these are already sufficiently wide enough even for me. While I bought these for an extended stay in a rural region of South America, I live in the city and these are great boots for trudging around on concrete in the snow and rain--they have solid soles and are totally waterproof (even if they don't look very chic). I have only had them for a month but have also worn them doing yard work, and have already been hiking on a few very different trails that are any combination of very rocky, muddy, steep, icy, snowy... They have supported my ankles well and protected my feet and I barely slipped at all, and then only on really severe ice. The only drawback is they are a little uncomfortable around the ankle, mostly due to being new and a bit stiff, but I also think that has to do with what socks you wear and how you tie them--the laces tend to loosen up quite a bit as you hike so be sure to really knot them. Surprisingly they didn't feel TOO stiff though to begin with, as other reviews have stated, though they definitely need more time to be fully broken in. And I agree they are very heavy, but when you're hiking over a ton of sharp rocks, you want that heavy sole. But coming from someone with really wide feet that usually hurt horribly by the end of the day if shoes aren't wide enough, these give me plenty of room and plenty of protection from the elements. Seriously awesome boots, can't wait for my trip!!
January 23, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by Twiggy305 Great boot
I got these boots a gift in the black leather version about a year ago in a 6.5 narrow. These boots have been through a trip to Alaska including a bouldering/glacial hike. I have also worn the, through several other week+ hikes in British Columbia, the Smoky mountains, and various state/national parks in Pennsylvania. In each circumstance the boots have been fantastic. They have even become so comfortable that I have been wearing them as everyday boots in cooler months! I can't wait to put more miles in them!
December 26, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Poppy5027 I LOVE these boots
I bought these boots as a treat to myself a year and a half ago. They are still in excellent condition and haven't failed me at all. When I first got them out of the box, they seemed heavy and tall...the soles are very thick. This wasn't something I was used to, but it works to my advantage because it protects my feet incredibly well. It took a little bit of getting used to, but I quickly did.
I tend to wear them as farm boots on a regular basis. They keep my feet cool in summer, warm in winter, and always dry.
I went up to the Canadian Rockies this past summer with my brother who swears he only needs tennis shoes to hike. The trail had slick, melting, wide patches of snow on it and several streams. I didn't slip once on the snow (unlike my brother and others on the trail) and I didn't have to risk jumping between slippery rocks in the streams - I just walked through and my feet stayed dry. I was grateful for that, since most people ended up slipping in the stream and the trail followed a cliff, so a slip could prove to be dangerous. I didn't have to worry.
There are some things to consider with these boots, though:
- The leather where the attached tongue meets the boot tends to squeak when the boots are new. I found some leather conditioner and breaking them in solved this.
- I would recommend good, wool hiking socks. I wore regular socks with them on the farm and was fine, but I noticed after spending days in them in Canada that I was getting blisters on my toes and heels. A woman at a camp store sold me an amazing pair of wool socks and I didn't run into the problem again.
- I did get some of those semi-custom insoles for my boots. They didn't really *need* them, but the sole they come with is rather firm. Now I feel like I am walking on air, and I feel like the boots themselves feel lighter too.
- I do think the boots run a little large. I wear between an 8.5 and a 9, but I ordered the 8.5 figuring it would be easier to see if the boots were too small and I could exchange. Even with insoles and wool socks, the boots are kind of big. It's not enough to bother me or warrant sending them back, but I probably could have worn an 8.
Overall, these boots are awesome. So comfortable, durable, and practical.
November 22, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Thrillseeker My second pair -- the last one lasted 20 years!!
I LOVE these boots. My first pair lasted about 20 years, and I hated to part with them (I actually still have them just in case). I ordered my new pair for a hiking trip in South America last month. They were fabulous...I specifically remember an incident when I stepped into a rapidly flowing stream up to my ankle and did not get wet at all. These boots are THE BEST. The quality does not seem to have changed.
Even better -- they come in narrow sizes. I wish LL Bean offered more narrow sized shoes and boots!
November 2, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Hiker45209 Happy customer
I purchased these boots two years ago with points that I had earned. I've put about 200 miles on them since then, and each time I wear them I fall more in love! It took a few wears to understand how to set the tension w/r/t the laces - I was tying them too tight at the top and my feet would start to go numb after about an hour. Once I set the laces to be more loose, it was perfect. I mostly hike around rocky terrain and through water, and these keep your feet protected and dry.
October 31, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by Paddleswithlabs So far, worth the expense
This review is for the women's Cresta hikers. I am a traditionalist and like hiking boots with full leather uppers. I have been looking at these boots for about the past year, and when the sole split open on my Vasque Sundowners a few weeks ago, decided to make this expensive purchase. The boots are, as one would expect with leather boots, stiff when you get them, but I hiked 4 miles up and down some steep hills in the Adirondacks on the first day I wore them, and my feet did great! I usually wear between a 7.5 and 8 - these run large. The 7.5 fits very well and especially on the down-hill, my toes had plenty of room in the toe box and were not getting jammed. Traction on the vibram soles is good, as expected. I also like the fact that I could order in different widths - medium is a great fit for my not narrow, not wide feet. The ankle supporting portion of the boot is a bit taller and snugger than my last pair of boots - takes a bit of getting used to, but I like the extra support.
I'm hoping that these boots hold up well over time, as that was the main disappointment with my last pair of non-LLBean boots. Bean's excellent warranty is part of what made me switch to this boot, given the expense.
The boots arrived with a second set of laces. Nice touch.
So far, I'd say they are worth every penny. However, it is a lot of pennies! Thus my 4 rather than 5 star review (plus, I'm holding out until I see how they do over time).
October 11, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by SeaMtnGal Wow! This boot come in a narrow size!
This is my second pair of boots. I purchased my first pair 2 years ago. I couldn't be happier with this boot. It is hard to find a boot that comes in a size narrow. The boot is well made with very good support. It's was a little heavy feeling the very first time I wore them, but I quickly got use to this and knowing my feet are protected no matter what type of terrain I walk on. I walk every day and have these boots on as little as 2 hours and as long as 10 hours. Thanks LL Bean for carrying an excellent boot in a size narrow.
September 15, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by NCtoMA Fantastic tread, but stiff leather uppers
BREAK THESE BOOTS IN BEFORE YOU WEAR THEM ON A LONG HIKE!!
The leather on the tongue was very stiff on my pair and actually left bruises on my ankles the first few times I wore them. Thankfully, an LL Bean employee showed me some alternative lacing strategies to alleviate this issue as I broke in the boots-- my secret is to lace up the regular laces, then start at the highest set of hooks and work my way down the ankle hooks.
The saving grace on these babies, however, is the tread and resulting stability. Went on a 7 mile hike that involved a lot of gravel-covered surfaces, both flat and hilly. There was no slipping, no turned ankles, no lost footing. I'm incredibly klutzy, so I was surprised to have made it through the hike without falling. Unfortunately, the boots rubbed my heels and left me some great blisters. Again-- make sure you break the boots in really well prior to anything longer than 4-5 miles!
August 29, 2014
Rated 1 out of 5 by YosemiteHiker Fit is awful
I wore these boots on a 13-mile dayhike and lost my little toenail. The toe box is too narrow with my usual liner sock and hiking sock, and the heel is too wide. Overall there is just too much volume in the boot. I tried a variety of tricks to get these to fit properly, including replacement insoles and extra gel inserts to take up some of the excess room in the heel. I still slipped enough to get blisters on my heels, in addition to having my toes squished, and also developed a blister on the side of my foot. Plus I hit the front of the boots coming downhill. The fit is just all off on this boot.
August 8, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5
by nicknamesareforninnies Fifteen years and going strong!
I became an evangelist for these shoes after I wore them for ten straight days backpacking in Torres del Paine (Chile), trudging up and down mountains and through mud, carrying a 60+ pound backpack. I didn't get a single blister.
These are hands-down the best shoes I have ever owned, let alone the best backpacking boots. You'd think after 15 years of backpacking and river hiking in these boots they would be thrashed beyond repair, but somehow they are still going strong. Even the laces are basically intact.
After my Chile trip, I immediately called LL Bean and ordered a "backup" pair of these boots. They have been sitting in storage for more than ten years because the original pair just won't quit!
Do your feet a favor and buy these boots. If they're the same quality as the ones I purchased in 1998 (and LL Bean seems to be pretty reliable this way), you will not regret it!
Note: my feet are rather narrow, but the standard-width boots were plenty narrow for me (when wearing thick socks). I found the Narrow size a little pinchy on the toes. One reason I love these boots is that they actually fit and support a narrow foot. It's hard to find boots that are this well designed for slender feet!
July 13, 2014