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Adventure, Alpine / April 11, 2016

Forsake Hiker- Have Hiking Boots Changed?

Written by: Devon Balet

One of my earliest memories of hiking boots were those belonging to my Father. Purchased in Boulder, Colorado just before going on Outward Bound in 1972. Full leather Vasque boots with a steel shank sole and toe box, these babies weigh in at over five pounds. These boots were part of my first experiences camping and backpacking as well; hiking to the bottom of the Black Canyon, now a National Park just outside my hometown of Montrose, CO. These early outdoor experiences certainly helped mold me into the outdoor loving person I am today.

My memories with hiking boots continued with the classic Asolo FSN 95 GTX. Much lighter than my Father’s full leather boots, with a more nimble feel as well. If you hiked in the early 2000s you likely either owned these boots yourself, or knew someone who did. My relationship with these boots came to a halting stop after a freak accident in where my left achilles tendon was sliced a half inch deep. The stiff nature of these hiking boots left my ankle sore whenever I wore them, so I put them in a closet to slowly die with so much usable life left in them.


My father's Vasque boots.

My parents on a hike before kids.

Family camp out near Montrose, CO.

I started this young

Since then I have kept my shoe wear extremely light, using mostly trail running shoes. There are times that this simply doesn’t meet the bill either. Then came along the Forsake Hiker. A new age take on the classic piece of outdoor gear, the Forsake Hiker is a rugged high-top boot with an urban twist. Part of a new trend of footwear coined “sneaker boots”.


Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii

Kalalau Trail, Na Pali Coast

On a recent trip to Kauai, I brought along these lightweight boots that have more of a sneaker feel than any hiking boots I have worn before. The first few days wearing them was more in an urban setting as my everyday use shoes. One concern I did have was that these boots would be too hot for the warm days of Hawaii but the moisture wicking liner left my feet dry and cool.


With hiking boots that breathe so well, can you count on them being waterproof? While they boast “Waterproof” right on the side of the boot, I was curious to find out how well they truly would  keep water out. They performed amazingly! Over the 22 mile hike on the Kalalau Trail I experienced well over 20 miles of wet and muddy trail, along with two hours of hiking in rain. By the end you could hardly tell the original color of the boots, but my feet stayed completely dry!

It’s waterproof and breathable membrane, paired with taped seams and fully gusseted tongue, water and mud had no chance to make it through to my feet. These boots offered a great alternative to the traditional stiffer and heavier hiking boot. Having a less stiff construction they worked well with my pesky ankle and it’s lighter weight also came very quick drying, which is crucial on multi-day hikes. For anyone seeking hiking boots that can be used off the trail and not be cumbersome to travel with take a peek at these hiking boots. For all the nitty gritty details check Forsake’s website.

These boots held true to their Waterproof claim. After 22 miles of mud and rain my socks were dry.

Like no hiking boot I have ever experienced.

about the author

Devon Balet

Born and raised in Colorado and living in the outdoors with a bike between his legs and a camera in hand, Devon discovered mountain biking after he started working at a bike shop at age 14.

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