Another backpacking trip, & another chance to wear those remarkably expensive boots you got for Christmas using the 20 gift cards you request from friends and family in order to afford them. What's that? Don't you have a pair of really expensive hikers? Nah, Me either.
I used to believe that I needed to invest $300 plus dollars into an expensive pair of boots for my trips. After my first backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon wearing too small boots with too little cushion, I swore NEVER AGAIN! So started my obsession with finding a more durable more comfortable pair of boots that I hoped would last me a few years.
I read review after review, visited my local REI to try on different brands, all while being too afraid I would get stuck with another defective pair and never committing to a purchase. I read blog posts on how to properly size my boots and had great assistance from the shoe salesman in the boot department but my confidence was shot and I decided that maybe I should invest in a super expensive pair. I mean, you get more for your money, right? Not always. Thanks to the gracious return policy at REI I was able to learn this fact without losing a small fortune.
I'm a moderately successful adult and I manage to get up on time most mornings and head into a job that pays my bills. As Beyonce so accurately puts it:
"The house I live in, I've bought it
The car I'm driving, I've bought it
I depend on me, I depend on me
All the women who are independent
Throw your hands up at me"
All that to say, I'm blessed to have a job, I work hard for my money and I don't enjoy wasting it. I tried several of the more expensive hiking brands and learned the following:
1. Most of the more expensive boots were very heavy - I'm sure this is a great feature if you are hiking on rougher terrain or climbing Denali. I found the extra weight just wasn't necessary for the type of backpacking trips I would be taking.
2. They didn't fit the arch of my foot - of course, this is completely based on my foot type, but many of the boots caused foot pain for me.
3. Most boots had the same features of their less expensive competitors but justified the hike in price by touting how "pretty" they were. I don't know about you but I'll take function over "pretty" any day & I recommend you do the same.
I searched and I searched and then I found Keen's Terradora Women's Waterproof Boots. I immediately remembered my guide in the Grand Canyon recommending I trade in the crap boots I had on our hike for a pair of Keens as soon as I got back to Georgia. He said "Why not go with a company who's been in this game forever?!" True dat hiker dude, true dat.So I took my 15th trip back to my REI store to try them on in person. I instantly liked how they fit, how light they felt on my feet, the touch of color in the designs and best of all, their price! Nice design, affordability, plus function?! I wasn't sure these boots were for reals so I left them on the rack. I'll admit that I was still a little scurred and nervous about purchasing another pair I would hate, so I left it to the hiking gods and decided to just wait on it. Fast forward a few weeks later and I received an email from the amazing team at Keen, informing me that they had a new ladies boot line and they wanted to know if I would like a free pair to test out and provide my honest opinion. Low and behold it was the Terradora Women's Waterproof Boots.
Free boots for an honest opinion on how they hold up to the trail? Challenge accepted! I've been rocking my Terradora boots for 3 months now and I've experienced dirty trails, sandy trails, snowy trails, muddy trails, flooded trails, easy trails, hard trails all without issue. These boots rock when it comes to weight. They feel as if I'm sneakers or trail runners but with the ankle support that solid hiking boots should have. As far as comfort and fit, don't feel the need to add additional arch support on longer hikes but will mention that I did have to adjust to the tighter toe box initially but have yet to experience any hotspots or blisters. I’ve worn them during the latest “snow storms” we’ve had here in Georgia and depending on where you live that may or may not be a true winter weather test considering we only had around 5 inches. But for my winter needs here in the south they work great.
I will continue to wear these hikers this spring and summer because I'm extremely happy with them thus far. I will continue to keep track on how these babies hold up and report back with updates. For those looking for a great pair of AFFORDABLE boots, I can honestly recommend these boots!