The Makalu Boot by La Sportiva is a classic leather mountaineering boot.
|Heel Height:||2 in|
|Lacing:||rollers with locking ankle|
|Platform Height:||1 in|
|Recommended Use:||mountaineering, glacier travel|
|Shell Material:||, Roughout leather|
|Weight:||(size 9) [pair] 4 lbs 4 oz|
I've been wearing these casually since February, since the reported break-in time is so long. I couldn't get black Superfeet to work with these boots, so I did what I did with my Glaciers that I wear daily at work. I use a Dr. Scholl's half-length arch support under the stock insole.
Now that they're broken in, I can wear a light wool or synthetic liner with heavy wool blend sock with no issues whatsoever. The trick is finding the right position for the padded tongue insert.
On the test hikes I have taken these on, they are fantastic! The full shank makes steep ascents easy, giving a feeling more like walking up stairs. My calves tire out far less than with my Solomon Quest 4D GTX on the same trail. With the impact brake tongue inserts, there is no nail blackening toe-bashing on the downhill.
Like I said in mt first review, these aren't meant for high-altitude or extreme cold conditions, and your calves will start screaming after prolonged front-pointing. But, for non-extreme mountaineering, and short pitches of vertical ice, they are just fine.
Remember, as with all leather boots, you need treat them with Sno-Seal or NikWax to keep them waterproof. I've always preferred Sno-Seal.
I an extremely pleased with these boot, and can't wait for Winter to come screaming into the Blue Ridge.
I'm currently on my 3rd pair of Maks, since 2000. I work construction and prefer these to anything else. The steel shank and stiff leather support my feet all day, no matter the terrain, or whether 8 hours or 14 hour or 24 hour days.
My first pair lasted about 4 years, of near everyday use. My second pair lasted 4 years BEFORE I resoled them. I am still wearing them for work and will resole them again soon. My 3rd pair are my casual boots.
I even wear them when traveling. My feet get tired in gym shoes. And traveling from one end of an airport to another, and then the same at the other end, then walking around town, can get tiring.
Last time I bought a pair, I bought 2. They were on sale, and if La Sportiva ever does something stupid, like quits making them, I'll have a pair in reserve.
With resole kits and insoles, these boots will last YEARS.
I'm a 9 1/2 EEE and got size 43. I ripped out the stock insoles and went with the black Superfeet. I can wear a wool liner and light to medium wool sock without issues. A heavy sock takes up too much space and the two smallest toes on the left foot will rub the side. This is an issue I have with most boots and when they break in, ceases to be an issue.
With three weeks of daily wear on them, they're only just starting to break in. I don't think I can take them up Mt Washington in winter without an overboot, but they handle what the Blue Ridge can throw at it with style. My Grivel Air Tech New Classics lock onto them solidly. I can grab the center bar and pull with all my might and they don't budge.
Bought my Maks in 1998 and have 4 Oregon & 11 Washington summits with them - to date. To heavy for hiking, IMHO but YMMV. However OK for up to about a 10 mile approach without beating you up to much. Really shine when the going gets rough. Kick step all day, sidehill fine, great with crampons. Haven't done intentional vertical ice climbing with them but perfect for general mountaineering up to and including Rainier. Anything bigger you should rent doubles. Bomb proof durable but took a month of day hikes to break in and every now and then still get a blister. Narrow profile for a flat fat foot.
After break in these got a little loose on my foot and ended up being too small lengthwise. Took them to Limmer and Sons and had the tongue modified to try to lock my heel in more and keep my foot from moving but that just made my foot numb. For me these are just too stiff for heavy backpacking. Wouldnt work for me even with modifications by the best in the business! Also, these look tough on the outside but they have a fabric inner that will start to fall apart if you abuse these boots.