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Gear Guy

Is a heavy boot a bad thing?

The principal of "one pound on your feet equals five on your back" seems to be treated as Gospel, but I don't buy it. I moving in the direction of an ultralight pack but loath to give up the fit and support of my heavy Limmer boots. Where do you stand on the matter? Steve Kennewick, Washington

A: I wish I could stand firmly in the camp of those preaching that each pound of extra boot weight is equal to five pounds stuck in your pack. In other words, the lighter the footwear, the less work needed to haul you and your gear from point A to point B. But alas, I have a bad left ankle that requires at least moderate support. So even for day hikes, I tend to wear what most people call "backpacking" boots. Overall, I think a good, solid boot protects your feet in many ways, while providing better traction. Trail runners and light hikers provide lots of agility, though, so they have their advantages, too.

But Limmers, well, I dunno. They are a heavy, heavy boot—nearly four pounds a pair for the "midweight" in a size 9. If you want to move fast, you may wish to try something lighter, such as Asolo's very popular FSN 95 GTX ($150), a light boot (2 pounds, 12 ounces per pair) that gives the same support of some much heavier boots. You'll probably feel as if you're walking naked at first, but I think you'll enjoy the sensation. On your feet, I mean...

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