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Gear Review

3 5

The Universal Boot

I got these boots on the recommendation of a guide before doing the Grand Traverse in the Tetons. Unfortunately for me, due to my busy travel schedule, I didn't get to start wearing them until only a week before the trip. The toe box was very tight and gave me wicked blisters on my little toes within the first 10 minutes of hiking in them. After taking them to a local store to have them stretched, the fit was fine, but the damage was already done to my feet.
On the trail, on boulders, scrambling and climbing the North Ridge of the Grand Teton, I found them to have excellent grip and support. As we were on the move 15+ hours per day, the light weight was a huge benefit.
I did experience two drawbacks, both mentioned by other reviewers. First, I question the durability of them. The sole doesn't seem to be an issue (at least not yet) but the rubber along the sides of the toe box was quickly shredded, revealing the leather underneath. Second, I did experience lots of small pebbles and grit getting inside and exacerbating the blister problem I had from the week before. I didn't find the lacing difficult to remove, but was wishing I had some time of gaiter to prevent that. My guide was wearing the same boots without this issue, but his pants were significantly longer and bunched up around his ankles.
All in all, I am somewhat disappointed considering the price, but they did the job.

Responded on

I find that i get blisters in the same spot with these on my pinky toes. Now every time i wear them i just tape my pinky toe with climbers tape and I have no more problems.

Responded on

Just did the Grand meself about 2 days ago with my GF and a guide, renting a pair. I had the same issue Aaron noted during the training day, irritating my right pinky toe. The guide said that the widest footed guides in EXUM could use these shoes. He said to tighten up the laces around the instep and loosen them around the toes; my pinky was still a bit red, but I managed th 6-7k ft descent the second day without blisters.

Also, we got hit with a snowstorm while on our July descent, the shoes got a bit wet, but it
was my hands that were the problem.