If you only going to buy one pair of outdoor footwear in the next 20 years, this is, in my opinion, the best hiking boots in the world. In almost every backpacking boots evaluation you read, there’s one brand that gets high ranking in listings of the best-rated hiking boots.
A combination of rubber and leather
I don’t claim to have tried every brand out there, but if you are lucky to find a perfect pair you don’t have to. So don’t expect an all brands comparison review. Hiking boots come in a variety of forms, shapes and sizes. But the type I find best suited for outdoor activities is the ones with a combination of rubber and leather.
How it all started
This story starts back in 1990 when I visited my local shoe dealer. It is a rather small shop in a small community, and that’s where I live. The owner had inherited the shop from his father after he passed away. Ever since I was a child, this was the place to go it was time to buy new shoes. This as a small community where everyone knows everyone, and he was well known and trusted and known for selling quality products.
The ugly duckling
And there on a shelf, almost as an ugly duckling among all dress shoes, stood a pair of Lunghags boots. They were not very pretty and not the cheapest shoes in the shop, but they caught my interest. One thing leads to another, so after trying them out I ended up bringing them home. And I must say it was love at first sight.
Years of activity
They served me well in my outdoor activities for many years. Under this first period, only in my free time and in weekend activities. But about 14 years ago I got a job at a ski resort and my Lundhags began to serve as my working shoes. This was the start of an over five-years long period of daily use. There was a lot of walking up and down the slopes, climbing the platform posts of the ski lift and a lot of time in the repair workshop. They had to put up with oil and diesel spill, welding sparks and everything else you can find in a repair shop. So it came as no surprise that the rubber finally gave up and crack after five years of daily use.
Recycling at Lundhags shoemakers in Åre
But at a fraction of the buy price, the Lundhags shoemakers in Åre did replace the faulty cracked rubber but reused the old leather. You send the old shoes to Lundhags and a week later you get them back and they are as good as new. So the service is as excellent as Lundhags products. If you care for your boots and treat the leather with dressing they might well last your whole lifetime. The wear and tear of everyday use for five years is a very long time of use.
Walking the dog
It was after my time at the ski resort I got my first dog and with that a new chapter for my shoes. Before I got the dog I was an active outdoors person, but not so much walking and hiking back then. But when I got the dog a natural progression was to walk for longer and longer distances as well as longer periods. Nowadays I can be out hiking for up to a week or more. And now I got a second dog, so I’m walking a lot.
The last walk
One of the last trails I walked with my boots was the 90 km long Wasaloppsleden. A three-day hike with my dog and a friend, starting in Sälen to the finish in Mora. My hiking companion had tremendous problems with blisters and chafing. Thanks to my Lundhags I had no problems with my feet. I did have to tape the heels the last day, but that was it. The fact that I even had the same socks for the whole trip says a bit of the quality of the shoes. But now they where well broken in, which can take some time when they are new.
They take time to break in
If there is any drawback to a pair of Lundhags, it is that they need quite a bit of time and distance to break in. A pair of Lundhags don’t get comfortable until you have walked with them for at least 1000 km (620 miles). And that is consistent with my experience as well. But after that, they become more and more comfortable for every kilometer you walk.
A trick to break them in
One trick to break them in is to let them soak in water for about an hour before you take them for a walk. Fill the inside of the shoe with lukewarm water and let them soak for an hour. This makes them a bit softer and pliable and adapts to your feet a bit quicker.
A discontinued model
A new pair of Lundhags
But when I replaced my old ones in august of 2012 I went for the top of the line at Lundhags. I bought myself a pair of Lundhags Syncro High. A fine pair of shoes, but they have one disadvantage. A disadvantage I found out on my first longer hike in them. I took them for a 60 km, two-day weekend hike after I had begun to break them in.
Blisters and chafing
But as this was at the end of the summer it was rather warm outside. And with a high lined shaft, it is like walking with your feet in a foot bath. The feet get so warm an sweaty so you can wring out the sweat from socks when stopping for a rest. As I mentioned elsewhere, don’t walk with wet feet if you can avoid it. So when I finally got home from that trip, my feet were full of blisters and chafing. But for colder weather and winder use this is an excellent choice of shoes.
And a third pair of Lundhags
So in the spring of 2013, I bought my third pair of Lundhags. This time I opted for the Ranger Mid, it is like the Park model. It’s a mid-high classic boot with an unlined shaft. A very light and versatile boot for walking and hiking. But in my experience, the size is a bit on the small side, so if you order a pair, be sure to order one size bigger than you are using now. They also seem to be out of production, I can’t find them on Lundhags site.
Cracking nubuck leather
My third pair of Lundhags made good work for five years before I had worn out the sole and the rubber had cracked. I did not send them to replace the rubber because the leather had begun to tear as well. The leather in those boots was of nubuck type. I can’t recommend that leather in hiking boots.
And a fourth pair
Last year, 2018, I bought my fourth pair at a Lundhags outlet. This time I decided on a pair of Vandra Mid full-grain leather 2 sizes larger than what I have on my old boots. The larger size made them much easier to break in. After about 100 km (~ 62 miles) I could walk without discomfort. But I had to use tape on the first longer hikes. They are a bit pricy, but if you divide the cost over the distance you walk, it’s nothing. My experience is that the light sneaker trail runner type shoes many uses for hiking don’t last a season. You have to buy a new pair each year and that adds up over the years. With proper care, you can wear Lundhags every day for five years or more without a problem. I walk to and from my work every day, a distance of over 10 km (~ 6.2 miles)
Here you can see a video review by Vildmark on Lundhags Vandra on YouTube.
How to care for your hiking boots
Clean your boots before you put them away and let them dry in a not to warm environment. If you plan to apply wax or water repellent it’s best to do that before you dry them. The best most long-lasting water repellent I have tried is Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for leather. This is the only product I know that doesn’t wear off when your boots get a little wet. It lasts for many days of daily use, I can recommend this product and you can buy it here: Nikwax on Amazon.
To conclude, I must say that this is not so much an attempt to review hiking boots, but a love affair to a pair of shoes. But it’s a bit hard to judge when you have owned such a pair of outstanding boots like these for over twenty years.
You can rest assured that these boots are for walking.
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What is your experience of Lundhags hiking boots? Do you agree with me or do you prefer another brand? Leave a comment and let me know your best Hiking boots.comments powered by Disqus