Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Asolo Flame walking boots - interim report

This was going to be an interim report, but now that I've given them a good look over, I think I'll be digging deep in my pockets to replace them sooner than I'd expected.

I bought these boots over a year ago, they are more substantial, stiffer and taller than their predecessors. My last ones had almost done 700 miles before seeing the inside of my wheelie bin - at a quick tot up, these ones have done 550, but they've not quite reached that stage yet.

they've started to crack in the usual place, over the ball of the foot. One looks as if the stitching is going to give way very soon, which is the point that they retire. I'm prepared to accept that this kind of crumbling is due to poor maintenance. I'm not very good at cleaning and treating them after each walk.

I was most surprised when I turned them over. The tread is almost down in the middle of the foot and is completely down in places on the heel.

I've been making a conscious effort to put my foot down flat when I walk, because the last pair made it obvious that I'd been supinating (walking on the outside of my feet.) I'm pleased to see that while these are still worn down a little bit more on the outside, it's nowhere near as bad this time.

They've been very comfortable. I picked the male version because they fit my wide feet better and because the colour is a bit more subdued than the female version. As I noted before, the soles are very stiff and the uppers breathe very well. I like the big toe box, which takes a lot more punishment than soft material would. I like the lace eyes - the ones over the foot allow the laces to slip and distribute themselves evenly and the lockable ones at the instep do their job well.

Trail magazine have given them very good reviews, the only thing that they've really been able to say against them is that the tread isn't deep enough. I've never found grip a problem (except for damp tree roots, which no boot would grip!). However, at this stage in their life, I can see that a deeper original tread would have given them a little bit more life.

You can't see the biggest problem. I hate having wet feet and so I swear by GoreTex. When new, it's fantastic - completely waterproof and breathable. However, these and my two previous pairs of GoreTex boots began letting in water well before I would have considered the boots worn out.

The worst enemy of a warm, dry foot is wet long grass or crop fields. It's not unusual to walk through wet grass even when it's not raining. Most mornings, the grass is wet from dew, and very wet if it's rained overnight. As your boots swish through the grass, they collect all the water the grass contains - and that's a lot. Over the last few walks, including the long-distance Offa's Dyke path, my heart has sunk at the sight of a grassy field, because I know that after just a few steps, I'll feel that familiar cool feeling and be slopping in my boots fairly soon.

Is it inevitable that GoreTex breaks down after a year or a few hundred miles? is it because I'm not looking after the uppers properly? Is there a boot that remains waterproof for longer? Answers on a postcard please! Or even better - use the comment link below. And if you're from Asolo, I'd love to hear your comments.


Jules said...

There is nothing worse than soggy feet when walking! The best waterproof boots I've found at the traditional leather type, but they give me awful blisters so I now have a pair that are half the way between the full leather ones and trainer style. They are almont like thick suede, still got soaked on Kinder Scout a few weeks back, but apart from that they are generally good.

They aren't a fancy make and I picked them up at a Army Navy store for £25. I've had them quite a few years now and they are coming to the end of their life which saddens me because they have been such good shoes. Just preying they hold for the 3-peaks in a few weeks time.

peahen said...

They sound like excellent value!

It's interesting that you say leather kept the water out. Brasher make a pair which are leather outside, but with a goretex layer inside. In my persuit of dry feet, I have been wondering whether they'll be perfect, but I'm worried that all those layers would stop the breathabilty - your feet can get almost as wet from the water they produce themselves!

Hope your comfy pair go on and on, and do enjoy the 3 peaks - good luck with that.

dive said...

So lovely lace-up-the-leg stilettos don't cut it for fieldwalking, eh Pea?

peahen said...

When I hit forty my heel days were over Dive!