The SL M3
The SL M3 (courtesy, Scarpa)

What’s the best old-style boot that’s rugged and repairable?

A few years ago, I bought a pair of hiking boots with a molded sole. Spent $250 for the things. I have to admit that they were comfy. They lasted less than a year; the sole ce off both boots, and because of the way the sole was attached there was no way to repair them. I just had the third sole put on a pair of Lowa's that I bought in the late ?70s. As far as I'm concerned these new boots are for the throw-away crowd who face all the adversities of hiking across the parking lot of the local mega box. I'm looking for a new pair of boots with the good "old" style welt and a similar rugged construction. Or, at least, something that can be repaired. Leroy Fayetteville, AR

The SL M3

Eh, that’s too bad. I think you fell victim to a bad experience. Really, the current technology is both comfortable and, in most cases, durable. And they should have been repairable. That’s not a good thing.

The SL M3 The SL M3

But certainly, there’s no real question that “old” technology—soles stitched to uppers with a Norwegian welt or Littleway stitching—is incredibly durable. And almost infinitely repairable.

A few makers still make boots in a traditional manner. Scarpa‘s SL M3, for instance, uses Littleway stitching, a “hidden” stitch line that binds the upper to the sole. Really tough, really replaceable. Price is $250. But these are great boots, and should last you for years.

Also take a look at Lowa Banff Pros ($280). They also use a stitched-sole design, and are renowned as a durable, heavy boot. Tough stuff.

The real deal is a boot such as the Limmer Lightweight (which is anything but at $260). These use good ol’ fashioned Norwegian welts, the kind with the visible stitching. Plus, 2.8 mm leather uppers, leather linings, and rubber midsoles. A lifetime investment.

So, shop around, and you’ll find what you seek.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: courtesy, Scarpa