Dunham's Mountain Master ($240; www.dunhambootmakers.com) is indeed a bit of a throwback, especially because it uses Norwegian (i.e., stitch-down) welt constructionthat is, around the joint between the boot and the sole you can see heavy stitching. Hardly anyone uses that any more. "Cemented" soles, which are literally glued to the uppers, are lighter and more flexible, easier to make water resistant, and generally preferred by consumers.
And in many cases that construction type results in a very "traditional"-style boot. Exhibit A would be the Montrail Moraine ($235; www.montrail.com), an extremely rugged backpacking boot that is perfectly suitable for fairly ambitious mountaineering. It's pretty much the gold standard in heavyweight boots these days. Still, a few companies do make boots using the old stitch-down method. The Scarpa Rio ($240; www.scarpa-us.com) is one such. An utterly classic bootall-leather uppers, stitch-down sole, steel shank. A slightly lighter but similar boot is the L.L. Bean North Col Hiker ($149; www.llbean.com), which is a helluva deal for an Italian-made, all-leather, Norwegian-welt boot. And there is the Limmer Light-Weight ($250; www.limmerboot.com), another really classic boot that will defy modern affectations as long as the grass grows and the sky is blue.
One thing I'm not sure of is how the tongue design on these boots compares with that used in the Dunham. You'd need to look at a few and see if they suit you. Certainly, how the tongue hits your foot can make a big difference in terms of comfort.
Until December 15, the Gear Guy is unveiling his ten favorite pieces of gear, and in the spirit of the season we're giving it all away. CLICK HERE to find out what makes his all-star Hall of Gear and enter the 2003 Great Gear Giveaway!
Lead Photo: courtesy, L.L. Bean
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