Purchased from Amazon on October 26, 2018 for $209.96 (on sale now for about $190). The difference between these and the non-plus version is that these have a full leather upper, and the others are suede/textile. I probably would have gotten the suede model, but the plus’s were actually a little cheaper at that time on Amazon.
I got these after my Soloman’s failed on a wet hike to Yakedake (review on both the Soloman’s and Yake is forthcoming). I wore these boots around the office for about a week to break in. I still don’t think they’re completely broken in as I write this). I wear size 11, and these seem to fit consistently with other brands.
First real test with these was on a perfect day in the Kita Alps, Ogisawa-Alpen Route-to Tsurugi-Tateyama (10 miles, 2 days). On the uphill, these boots feel solid, light(ish) but not clunky. They aren’t a fast hiker, they’re built for hauling loads, and slow to moderate paces.
Descending down a rocky spur trail, I started to notice the stiffness of the shank. Instead of absorbing edges, small rocks, and corners, they stay rigid and if you don’t hit them at your center of gravity just right, your ankle will roll slightly. Overtime and distance, this becomes noticeable and slightly painful.
Minor thing, but I wish these had a tongue/lace stay (the little loop in the center of the boot tongue that the laces go through in order to keep the tongue straight). One side stays reasonably straight on its own, but the other side needs frequent adjustments. Maybe a longer break-in period will soften up the tongue and I won’t have that problem.
I had a chance to test out the waterproofness the next day, as it rained hard pretty much all day. I didn’t walk through any deep puddles or streams, the trail absorbed most of the water immediately. As I was hiking, I didn’t feel any excess moisture, but when I finished, I took my boots off and my socks were more moist than expected, the liner was damp too. I suspect the cause could be 1 of 3 things:
- Foot sweat
- Rain getting in from the top of the boot
- Wetting out, or water slowly percolating through the membrane due to constant exposure to water.
Whatever the cause, I’m sure that the integrity of the liner is fine (my Soloman’s are a different story). And, other than rubber boots (which aren’t recommended for hiking), I don’t think a truly waterproof hiking boot exists. Only water resistant.
That said, I think it’s too early to give a recommendation on these boots as I’ve only tested them on Tateyama/Tsurugi and Azumaya (oh, and the trail to the snow monkey onsen, but I won’t count that).
I’ll update this post as my opinion changes.