Decisions, decisions! Choices, choices, choices! It seems like in preparing for our Kilimanjaro adventure there are a million decisions and choices, and most of the resources that I’ve found are trying to sell us something. I’m not trying to sell you anything.
I can sell you some stuff but what I really want is for you to get off your butt off the couch and go on an adventure with me and have a great time doing it! One of the fastest ways to have a rotten time on an adventure is to tear your feet up. Boots are important.
The boots that are going to Kili with us
We have found the boots that are going with us to Kilimanjaro! They are the Vasque Breeze 2 GTX pictured here. I’ve been wearing various Vasque hikers for several years now, and they are definitely the best, most comfortable hiking boot I’ve found, having tried similar boots by Merrill, Salomon, and Oboz, and low-top hiking shoes by Vasque.
Vasque retailers like to boast that these are the only hiking boots that require no break-in – that they can be worn on long hikes right out of the box. I don’t know about that and don’t care to risk my feet in the wilderness based on the opinions of a salesman – but they are ultra-comfortable right out of the box, and they have never required much break-in if any.
In fact, the Breeze 2 is so comfortable it has become my everyday wear shoe. I typically buy a new pair a couple of months before some grand adventure, do a couple of 5-10 mile shakedown hikes that involve water or mud, and then after the grand adventure they become my everyday shoe for the rest of their lives.
What I look for in a hiking boot
The features I like most about the Vasque Breeze (besides the comfortable fit) include the high tops, the metal lace-ups, and the Gore-Tex liner.
The above-the-ankle design gives greater ankle support so that you don’t roll your ankle on a root or some gravel. The hi-tops also confer at least a little bit more snake resistance and a greater degree of water resistance.
The high-tops with the metal lace-ups let you clamp the uppers as tightly around your leg as you like. I like to lace them tight, and this design lets you lace them tightly enough that nothing inside that boot moves at all. This is important for blister prevention and ankle protection.
The Gore-Tex liners suck moisture out of the boot and put it on the outside of the boot. This feature has saved me at times when I’ve stepped in a mudhole and gotten a boot full of water but was able to continue hiking (because even wet, nothing moves inside these boots so no blisters) and ended the hike with nearly dry feet inside the boot. This is probably not best hiking practice, but sometimes things happen and the Gore Tex in these boots allows some level of forgiveness for the inevitable.
Where I buy Vasque Breeze boots
I have had so much good experience with these particular boots that I am almost ready to start buying them online instead of at a brick-and-mortar store. Almost but not quite. I recommend going to a physical location that sells Vasque (and other brands) so that you can try them on and compare.
- Go at the end of the day when your feet will be a little more swollen.
- Wear the socks that you’ll be wearing on the trail.
- Try hiking boots about 1 full size larger than your tennis shoes or street shoes.
Put on both boots and stomp around in them. Hopefully the store will have a ramp that you can walk up and down. When you try new boots on a ramp you are looking for anything pinching or moving inside the boot (those will become hotspots and eventually blisters), and you are looking for your toes or toenails beating on the front or top of the boot especially when you are walking down the ramp.
I buy my Vasque boots at Buffalo Peak Outfitters in Jackson, Mississippi. They are a bit more expensive than online, but they have been there for years, they have a great selection so you can try before you buy, they have very experienced staff, and they have a giant concrete ramp to tromp up and down on until you are satisfied you have found the perfect boot.
However, if you have tried Vasque Breeze 2 boots and love them and are confident that you can purchase them online, this is a link to Amazon where you can get them a little cheaper than at Buffalo Peak. Roaming Parkers is an Amazon affiliate, which means that if you by these boots (or anything else) through this link, we might get a commission at no extra cost to you.