Two of my cousins are inveterate backpackers, and when I expressed a desire to go on a backpacking trip, they jumped at the chance to "show me the way". But I more or less grew up with the tradition of drilling holes in toothbrushes to save weight, and I've spent a fair amount of time in the woods, though lately these have been the unload the truck, check the brakes on the bike, check the Camelbak, go ride types of trips. So when I said I would need boots, they quickly jumped to the conclusion that I'd need everything else as well. "We have all that stuff. Just get some boots so that you can have them broken in." Truth is, I didn't need anything but the boots, but I found myself scrambling when one of my cousins proposed a trip within the next couple of weeks.
I needn't have worried. I was told to go to the right shop and get fitted for boots; I found them at backcountry. I was told they wouldn't fit if I bought them online; they fit perfectly. I was told they would give me blisters if I didn't break them in; they didn't hurt my feet at all.
I was looking for an all leather upper, and I know the Vasque brand from way back. Also, it looked like they came in my size: a 9W, which are impossible to find so I usually have to settle for a too narrow 9, or a too long 9 1/2. At first it looked as if they were sold out, but the sold out message and my frantic attempts to know where my boots were crossed in the ether, and I was chatting with customer service before I received the message that they were sold out. The CSR was very helpful and managed to land me the last pair there. They fit perfectly right from the start, and I knew they would work just fine. In spite of the rain, the mosquitoes, the sunburn, the poor packing job, my feet never felt bad.