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Owner Review - Alico Summit boots - Richard Lyon

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  • richardglyon
    For you editing pleasure. HTML is in Tests/OR folder at http://tinyurl.com/23trb5. Richard ALICO SUMMIT BOOTS Owner Review by Richard Lyon December 10, 2007
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 10, 2007
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      For you editing pleasure. HTML is in Tests/OR folder at
      http://tinyurl.com/23trb5. Richard

      ALICO SUMMIT BOOTS
      Owner Review by Richard Lyon
      December 10, 2007
      Personal Details and Backpacking Background
      Male, 61 years old
      Height: 6' 4" (1.91 m)
      Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
      Shoe size: US 12 or 12½ B for street shoes, US 12-13 (European 46–
      48) for hiking boots, depending on manufacturer.
      Email address: rlyon AT gibsondunn DOT com
      Home: Dallas, Texas USA
      I've been backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the
      Rockies since 1986. I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often
      take three-day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at
      altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m). I prefer base camp
      backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my
      share of forced marches too. Though always looking for ways to
      reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose
      a bit of extra weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to
      expect.
      Product Description and Details
      Alico describes its Summit boots as "designed for tough terrain and
      rugged wear" when hiking, trekking, or backpacking. These full-
      leather over-the-ankle boots from Italy's Dolomite Alps have four
      metal eyelets and three hooks for laces, with the lowest hook set
      outside the other holders as shown in the photo.
      Manufacturer: Alico Sport.
      Website: www.alicosport.it (resolves in English). Quotations in
      this Review come from this website.
      Year purchased: 2006
      Size: Men's 13 (USA)/48 (European), medium width. Available in US
      men's 7-13 (half sizes available), European 39-48 (half sizes
      available), medium or wide width; US women's 5-10.
      Weight, measured: 2 lb 9.5 oz/1.18 kg per boot. No listed weight.
      Height, measured from top of sole to top of cuff: 6.9 in/17.5 cm.
      Materials: 2.6 mm (0.1 in) oiled-tanned full-grain leather outer;
      leather inner (also available with brushed Cambrelle inner);
      leather/nylon midsole; Vibram Montagna sole.
      Construction: The Summit is made from a single piece of leather sewn
      to the sole with what Alico calls "the ideal stitch construction"
      for easy replacement of the sole when necessary. My local cobbler
      called it a Norwegian welt. The body of the boot is overlaid with a
      second leather piece with the metal eyelets and a gusseted tongue.
      The heel is reinforced with another leather piece, and a heavier
      leather collar is sewn at the top. Alico states that the Summits
      have a half shank for support.
      MSRP: Not available.
      Warranty: None on the website or hangtags.
      Why I Bought Them.
      What, full leather boots, in this day and age? Whatever for? I had
      several reasons for buying these old-fashioned, old-world boots. I
      need heavy boots for my volunteer work with the U.S. Forest Service,
      trail clearing and maintenance in the Northern Rockies. Stout over-
      the-ankle boots are a Forest Service requirement and a prudent
      safety precaution when handling a Pulaski, cross-cut saw, rock bar,
      or the other hand tools while trail grading, bridge building, or
      tree felling or skinning. Leather boots also provide good ankle
      support when hiking to our base camp or to the worksite with a full
      expedition pack. This past summer our work crew hiked fourteen
      miles (20 km) on a stock trail that had long sections where horse
      trains had worn the trail into a narrow gully, prime ankle–turning
      terrain with a fifty-pound (23 kg) pack. I appreciated the Summits
      especially on this hike.
      I'm used to hiking in leather boots. The Summits replaced a similar
      (though somewhat lighter) pair I'd worn for many years that expired
      after two re-solings. I like the support that leather boots
      provide, especially since I tend to overpack. Now that the Summits
      are nicely broken in I find myself wearing them even on shorter
      hikes in conditions when I could go with a lighter boot. They fit
      my long and narrow feet very well and have become a comfortable and
      reliable choice.
      These days many hiking boots are available in only one width. I've
      found that the standard size in men's boots, whether
      designated "wide," "medium," or "standard," is a (U.S.) D or E, or
      wider. I actively search for boot makers that offer a choice, as a
      narrower boot is a better fit for me. Alico's medium is between a B
      and C, much better suited to my feet, and a narrower boot keeps my
      heels from moving around when hiking.
      Once I find a boot that fits I tend to stick with it. Shoe or boot
      fit is one of the most idiosyncratic and individual issues in
      outfitting oneself for the backcountry. Materials, lasts, standard
      sizes, construction techniques, and many other design
      characteristics vary wildly from one maker to the next. I've worn
      size 12 boots that were too large, others that were too small.
      Boots that give me a good fit might drive another person to blisters
      or crutches. I consider boots my most important equipment choice –
      if my boots don't fit my feet hurt, and when my feet hurt soon
      everything else hurts. I tried on many different boots before
      settling on the Summits and I urge the reader to take the time to
      find the pair that's right for her or him.
      Field Conditions.
      The Summits have about 120 trail miles on them, not counting a
      rather lengthy break-in period when I wore them on my morning and
      evening walks with my dogs and short day hikes. Most backcountry
      use has been on well-maintained trails that often include scree
      fields and rocky stretches, and the trail work sites. I've worn the
      Summits in all seasons, though mostly in the summer and fall.
      Daytime temperatures have ranged from 0-100 F (-18 to 38 C). When
      backpacking I almost always pack sandals or sneakers for river
      crossings, fishing, and evening wear in camp, so rain and soggy
      trails are the only chance the Summits have had to get wet. This
      past September I had plenty of the latter when I hiked the Bechler
      River Trail in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming and Idaho, where the
      relative lowland and abundant thermal features made for much swampy
      trail.
      Evaluation
      Care. Heavy leather boots require a lengthy break-in period. These
      boots were very stiff out of the box. I gave the Summits three
      separate treatments of Sno-Seal (a beeswax-based leather conditioner
      applied after heating the boots) before wearing them anywhere.
      Then I spent at least two months wearing them on weekends and my
      daily dog walks before I was willing to trust my feet to them in the
      backcountry.
      After any hike during which the boots get wet, dusty, scuffed, or
      dirty I clean the boots with a leather cleaner and then give them a
      new dose of Sno-Seal and if necessary a coat of shoe polish. I
      always store the boots laced up, especially immediately after taking
      them off in camp or back at the trailhead, to reduce the possibility
      of deformity. If I end a hike at home I also use shoe trees for
      this purpose.
      Accoutrements. As I have done for all hiking boots I have owned, I
      replaced Alico's factory insoles. The Summits rated a pair with
      Shock Doctor Ultra insoles, a model I really like that is now either
      discontinued or impossible to find. When shod in leather boots I
      always wear silk or merino liner socks and a heavy wool sock of some
      kind, more protection for my skinny ankles. I have added Engo
      Blister Prevention Patches (see my separate review, linked below) on
      the inside of the heels.
      Performance. Sadly for my desire to lighten up on the trail, I
      really like the Summits. The fit is great, they are comfortable, I
      haven't had a blister, and I haven't turned an ankle. I can't see
      anything special about the Montagna sole; to me it's just another
      Vibram – solid and grabby on rock faces, even when wet, and loose
      rock. My feet stayed dry through the trail mud in Yellowstone, and
      have stayed dry when hiking through a rainstorm. As work boots in
      Montana last August they were ideal. They took some real abuse on
      that trip, in hot, dry, dusty weather. We worked in an area called
      The Burn because of a huge fire in 1988. Most of our work was
      clearing blown-down trees from the trail, using a cross-cut saw and
      levers. Much of the blowdown was sooty or rotten, giving the boots
      constant exposure to more unpleasant and possibly harmful media than
      mere dust, rock, and mud. Daily wiping and my regular post-trip
      spruce-up were all I needed to restore the Summits to presentable
      condition. As the leather softens from use and re-treatment the
      Summits seem to get more comfortable.
      It's hot on the feet to hike in leather boots. These boots breathe
      fairly well, but I confess that at the end of each work day, or any
      other warm day on the trail, I look forward to releasing my feet
      from suffocation by leather and wool and exchanging the Summits for
      camp shoes. OK, often this desire doesn't wait until the end of
      the day to set in. In any weather above 70 F (21 C) I pack camp
      shoes even when not needed for water crossings just to give my feet
      some rest. That's not a great inconvenience (I also use the lighter
      footgear for fishing) but does mean even more weight. Given the
      great fit of and so far blister-free hiking in the Summits, however,
      I'll take the heat for the safety and support they provide. The
      Summits are definitely overkill, though, when I'm hiking with a day
      pack.
      After a clean-up the boots look just fine. Not like new but better –
      like a well broken-in saddle. Six months' use this summer and fall
      hasn't put a noticeable dent on the Vibram soles. I expect to be
      able to wear these boots for years to come.
      Upside
      Sturdy and safe. Great for heavy-duty work or an expedition load.
      Excellent fit for me
      Durable
      Downside
      Heavy, and hot on the feet on a summer day.
      They require considerably more break-in and care than synthetic or
      fabric boots.
    • Jamie D.
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 14, 2007
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

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