Can I make my mountaineering boots more comfortable?
I just returned from climbing Longs Peak in Colorado, and it was my first trip wearing mountaineering boots (Asolo Titans). They were a bit overkill for Longs, but is there any reason why every step I took after the first couple of hours felt like someone was slapping the bottom of my foot with a two-by-four? Are all crampon-compatible boots this uncomfortable, and what can I do for next time? Nick Maryville, Missouri
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Oof, yes. The Asolo Titans ($270; www.asolo.com), while an estimable boot for heavy off-trail backpacking and glacier climbing, are also stiff and perhaps a touch unforgiving, particularly on a long hike/scramble such as Longs Peak.
Asolo Titan Mountaineering BootAsolo Titan
I hate to suggest that the Titans dont fit, but thats always a possibility. Poor fit tends to show up in heel or toe blisters more than sore arches, however. Still, I assume these boots are fairly new. If so, theyll break in a bit and become more comfortable. Also, on mountains such as Rainier and Hoodfor which these boots probably are better-suitedyoull be on snow more than rock and hard trail, and thats a bonus for foot comfort.
Otherwise, it could be that youre having some arch issues in the stiff Titans. You might swap out the stock footbeds for something else. There are several models of Superfeet, all about $34 (www.superfeet.com), and you might find that one of those gives the sole of your feet more support and cushioning, so you dont get that nasty two-by-four feeling. Ive found that Superfeet or other after-market insoles (Spenco makes good ones as well) almost always improve a boots comfort level.
For all that, make no mistake: These are not dancing shoes, or trail-runners. They certainly shouldnt cause you pain after a half-days walk. But youre never going to swap them out for your bedroom slippers when youre at home.
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