I used to live in a place where if you lacked proper hiking boots you could actually die, or be very badly injured.
My 1991 Vasque Sundowner hiking boots are now barely good enough to wear while cutting the lawn (damn monoculture!) in my now-suburban life. (Then again, that means they are old enough to go to college.). At least I still have some great state parks very close to me and some great national parks within 3 hr where we could backpack.
When looking to order a new pair of Sundowners online (since our local REI stopped carrying the version for my wide stubby feet), I was shocked to read the 1 out of 5 ratings from a ton of commenters who lived and died by their Vasques.
The major complaint on the threads is that boot quality is so poor that they last barely one year. The common theme is that they are now made in China. But at least there are no allegations (yet) of heavy metals or melamine. Anyone from Vasque want to comment?
So, Dear Reader, what are you wearing when you want a one piece leather jobber medium-weight hiker/short backpacker? No, not the lightweight ones with Gore-Tex mesh – I want a nice, solid piece of leather that’s gonna serve me well for at least 10 years. This is very important as Christmas is my window of opportunity.