I’m beginning to despair of ever finding a pair of reliable, long-lasting, lightweight boots for the hills.
The list of boots I’ve had in the last three or four years seems to be endless and none of them have been completely satisfactory for more than a few short months. Maybe I’m expecting too much, I don’t know, but at around £100 per pair I would hope to get more than a single year’s walking out of them.
I thought I’d discovered the answer last year with the Salomon Mission GTX boots. After almost 12 months of use they were certainly lightweight, they were supremely comfortable and they seemed to be on the their way to ticking the final box too – longevity. It all went horribly wrong almost exactly 12 months after I had them though. Those faults are documented elsewhere on this site and involved the footbed of the shoe coming away from the upper and leaving longitudinal gaps along the boots that let in serious amounts of water.
Fortunately, Salomon’s warranty policy is excellent – you get two years on boots – and Go Outdoors where I bought them from were very helpful in getting them replaced for free. The new boots were identical and I put the problems of the first pair down to a freak manufacturing problem and crossed my fingers.
Just last week though, these new boots also started to go quickly downhill. After noticing that they were letting in more water than I would like, I started to notice that the coating on the front of the boots was fraying and peeling away from the upper. Over the course of a single walk I could see this process becoming increasing worse.
I got home and took these photos – the left boot is the worse, but the right boot is showing signs of doing the same thing. You can click on each photo to see a bigger version.
So these boots had lasted even less time than the first pair – I’d got 7 months walking out of these. Again the Salomon warranty was called upon. Although they don’t re-start the warranty period when the replacement boots were provided, I was still within the 2 years period from the purchase of the original pair. I took them back to Go Outdoors again.
I must say, for what appears to be an outdoor supermarket type organisation, Go Outdoors are fantastic. I ended up speaking to the same chap as last time and he remembered me and my boots – I suppose it helps that he has a pair of Missions too. He contacted Salomon immediately.
As the boots are no longer made, Salomon weren’t able to replace them, so I’ve been given an in-store gift certificate for the original price of the boots. Now this isn’t anything like as flexible as a refund, but I suppose it’s an acceptable outcome given it’s been almost two years.
I’m tempted to try another pair of Salomon boots – the Comet 3D GTX seem to be a replacement boot for the Missions, but they are £125 – which seems quite a lot for what they are. But at least I know if they go wrong in the next two years I have an excellent warranty to fall back on.