On my hike to the top of Mt Judah, I had the chance to review GORE-TEX hiking boots. I share my honest thoughts and opinions and sit down for a special interview.
Walk a mile in another man’s shoes.
Metaphorically, it’s a compassionate step in an attempt to understand how someone else feels. Taken quite literally, these steps could be physically painful.
Anyone who has worn shoes that don’t fit in size or comfort can tell you how painful it is. However, try wearing shoes that don’t fit, are painful with each step, allow your feet to get wet and blistered, and can cause you to slip and fall while hiking miles over rocks, rivers, and up mountains.
Honestly, I don’t care anything about shoes. I think I have a total of five pair – most which I never wear. However, one thing I am picky about is hiking shoes. I’ve worn the wrong pair, taken painful steps while hiking, and dealt with wet socks and blisters on my feet.
I should have been admiring the views. Instead, all I wanted to do was go home.
When I was asked to review GORE-TEX hiking boots, I jumped at the chance. My older Asolo shoes were fine but I wanted more from a hiking boot than what I had. So I got my pair of Merrell Legacy GTX Boots with GORE-TEX Performance Comfort Footwear and put it to the test.
On top of Mt Judah – A review of GORE-TEX hiking boots
What better way to break in a new pair of hiking boots than with a new hike in a different area. While I loving hiking in northern California, I decided to try a hike on the North Lake Tahoe side.
My Mt Judah hike put my Merrell GORE-TEX hiking boots to the test.
Early on a Saturday morning, I headed up the hill to hike on one of the hottest days of the year. The Mt Judah trail was a 5.5 loop climbing over uneven rocks with 1700 feet of elevation change to a peak of 8243 feet on top of Mt Judah. Much of the trail was open with no shade from the sun. The dusty trail and ambitious climbs up rocks and peaks put my shoes to the test.
On a 90 degree day with very little heat over small and large rocks, my feet stayed dry all day. Not once did I ever have to deal with pain or blisters on my feet. I wasn’t wearing slippers but when you hardly notice you have hiking boots on all day, that’s a good thing.
While scaling large rocks to get to the top of Donner Peak, the terrain was uneven both on the climb up and the climb down. During these climbs I noticed the shoes.
Honestly, I probably shouldn’t be a hiker. I have horrible ankles. I’ve sprained my right ankle ten times and been to the hospital twice. I get nauseous watching other people sprain their ankle. I’ve nearly sprained my ankle on the grass and on sidewalks. So scaling large rocks and uneven terrain on hiking trails isn’t a good idea.
When I hike I am very wary of my footing. My shoe can’t slide or slip when I am hiking. Most of my hiking boots did. However, my Merrell Legacy GTX GORE-TEX hiking boots have a Vibram Multi-grip sport sole. And from someone with horrible ankles, I can honestly say it’s the best traction and grip I’ve ever had from a shoe or boot.
After hiking nearly 6 miles (I scaled Donner’s Peak – my most difficult climb of the day), I was hot, tired, and sweaty. When I got back to my car and took my shoes off, my feet were dry and didn’t hurt.
Without a doubt, I put them through a work out – hot day, uneven terrain, dirty trail, little shade, and lots of big rocks. For a hiking boot, they were the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn. Dry, breathable, comfortable, and best grip I’ve ever had on a shoe.
When I got home, I decided to wash them – with my feet in the shoe. After all, it’s GORE-TEX so I had to put the waterproof protection to the test. They passed.
I have been a big fan of Merrell for years. However, the GORE-TEX technology impressed me. Hiking boots are big and bulky. Their size is one thing I don’t like (especially when you wear a US size 11). However, these were the most comfortable hiking boots I’ve ever worn.
After my hike, I wanted to get another opinion on the shoe. So I sat down and interviewed Mr “L” of the Merrell Legacy GTX GORE-TEX hiking boots for his thoughts.
Shoes with a view
Shortly after the hike on the Mt Judah Trail, I sat down with Mr L to get his opinion of the hike and how he performed today.
Budget Travel Adventures: Mr L, how did you enjoy the hike today?
Mr L of Merrell Legacy GTX GORE-TEX hiking boots: It was a hot day. The trail was dusty and there were a few more rocks than what I was used to on a hike. Climbing up the large rocks up Donner Peak was fine but I didn’t get much of a break from the heat today.
Budget Travel Adventures: What makes you better than the other hiking boots you saw out there today?
Mr L: I saw the normal crowd out there today – other hiking boots I’ve known for years, shoes, even some of the new kids on the block, the Vibram FiveFinger guys. We are all familiar with each other but are typically much too busy providing cushion for people’s feet, walking, climbing, and gripping to chat. However, I know myself and am proud of the comfort I provide while hiking. I may get wet and dirty on the outside but that’s not acceptable on the inside.
Budget Travel Adventures: What do you do after a long hike?
Mr L: I love undoing my laces, kicking back, and getting a good bath. Either during or after a hike, a good washing in a lake or river washes my dirt away. I feel refreshed after a dip in the water but unlike humans, I don’t like water inside my tongue. Allowing water on the inside of my boot isn’t good for me or the hiker.
Budget Travel Adventures: What was the highlight of the hike?
Mr L: I have to give you credit BTA. As a hiking boot, I am used to doing my job – getting hot and dusty on the outside, hiking for miles while seeing nothing but dirt and rocks all day long with an occasional dip in the water. However, I got a treat today – great views of Donner Lake and the mountains. Thank you for that. It’s not often I get to enjoy the views as well.
From the opinion of a hiker exploring the Mt Judah Trail to the words of Mr L from the Merrell Legacy GTX GORE-TEX hiking boots team, the hiking boots did their job well. Hiking boots aren’t always the most comfortable shoes to wear but this is the best performing and most comfortable hiking boot I’ve worn.
If you don’t believe me, believe the words of the shoes with a view.
Thanks to GORE-TEX and Jessica Dunten for providing me with a pair of Merrell Legacy GTX GORE-TEX hiking boots. While these hiking boots were given to me review, the opinions and reviews of these boots are my own. Thanks to Mr L for providing his views on the hike and his performance today. Giving Mr L a view of Donner Lake and the mountains was in no way intended to influence his opinion.
Latest posts by Jeremy Branham (see all)
- I am retiring from travel blogging but Budget Travel Adventures continues - July 20, 2013
- A sacrebleu Sacre Coeur sunset - July 12, 2013
- 4th of July, a different side of me, and a world domination summit in Portland - July 10, 2013