Hiking boots

I need some input please. I previously hiked the Otter twice with Hi-tec Altitude V boots, they were ok but heavy and on the 2nd Otter it was like a dam inside them, rain streaming down my legs into my waterproof shoes. Well to cut the story short, they burned down during the Knysna fires and I am in the market for a new pair. I do not care if its waterproof but it must be durable, I tend to ‘kick’ alot of rocks. Which shoes would you recommend?


Also curious to hear! My wife and I do day walks with cop uniform boots but we understand that there could be better options:wink:

Mammut Nova Mid II GTX Women: Light, strong and fairly durable
Jim Green Razorback: Heavy, but ultra-durable
Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX: Rolls Royce (with a matching price tag). Medium weight, strong construction, waterproof and very comfortable. Cannot be resoled though, which is a big drawback for such an expensive boot

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What do you think about these? Very light, just not so sure about ankle support. 800g

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Also keen to hear, thanks Susanvdb :+1:t2:

I can’t comment on those boots, but Merrell generally make good products.
In that price range, you can also take a look at the Salomons Women mid boot: https://salomonsports.co.za/footwear/ladies/hiking/x-ultra-mid-2-gtxr-w.html

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i can recommend La Sportiva … have hiked the otter and the fish river and all the peaks in the jonkershoek valley… not very heavy and good support especially in rocky terrain

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I use the KWAY Tundras my self it’s a really good boot. The nubuck leather it’s made from is just a soft leather so it’s scatches easily. They are not that heavy and the water proofing holds up. Had a similar problem on our Wolkberg hike due to heavy rain my boots got wet inside but it’s not a product failure, a pair of gaiters will solve that problem. I share my thoughts on them in this short video K WAY Tundra Boots - YouTube

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Very true, we took our gaiters out of our packs the morning of the hike thinking nah won’t need them!

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It happens! I think we’ve all taken gear out only to later have need of it

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Rule #1 of “waterproof boots” - they remaining waterproof for a short period of time in wet conditions, then the water gets in and does not get out again. I have tested at least 10 different “waterproof” boots ranging from La Sportiva Tibets to the cheapest Hi-Tec boots on the market. I can tell you that the difference is that the cheapest ones keep water out for about 1h30, while the most expensive keep it out for about 3h.

I tried waterproof pants, gaiters and boots, layered to make the water run off as efficient as possible, but in dew or heavy rain - it gets through. Most don’t cope well in snow either.

All boots are heavy. My lightest boots were Salomons, which lasted about 400km before they fell to bits - and despite being Gortek, they weren’t very waterproof either.

My go to boot is the Hi-Tec Altitude Pro (disclosure: Hi-Tec sends me free gear to test), which is by far the best combination of a good boot of fairly light weight.

But the better answer - ditch boots and use trail shoes. Quick drying shoes get wet quickly, but they also dry quickly. They also tend to be much lighter. I have completed 4 Drakensberg Grand Traverses in Hi-Tec Flash Force trail shoes (which have sadly been discontinued).

All my friends are using Inov8 shoes these days - mine are bound to arrive soon, so let’s see how those go!


I’m also doing Otter next year (first time!) and my Hi-Tecs (had them for 6 years) is simply too narrow and keep on blessing me with blisters. Even a size up doesn’t make a difference. I was said to investigate the Vibro barefoot range, in specific the Primus Firm Ground (http://www.nativesport.co.za/primus-trail-fg-l-black-charcoal/) as it has a bigger toe box and gets dry super fast and is as light as a feather. Apparently you have to train in them to get your foot muscles stronger but from there on it is a breeze. Quite pricey so was just wondering if any one have experience with them? Might be an option?

Interesting that you mention the Vivobarefoot shoe Ronel, I was looking at the Vivo Tracker FG, very good reviews on them, I’m just worried about how much support they offer for ones ankles… Apparently barefoot shoes are good for ones knees too. I’m strongly leaning towards barefoot shoes. Just need to decide if its going to be a boot or shoe with and ankle brace


R500 cheaper on Amazon and free returns

Hi Ronel
Just wanted to warn you - I bought a pair of (zero drop) running shoes that had a broad toe box because I also have very broad feet. However after I bought them I realised that bigger toe box was there but the whole shoe was actually made for quite narrow feet. So it did not actually help my feet much.

I am also looking for new hiking boots - and am considering a men’s Hi-Tech Altitude V - they start in Size 6 and this may work for me for lack of other options.

Good luck!


Best advice on this Forum!

I have kicked the boot about 5 years ago, best decision ever!
Have used all kinds of trail shoes, but the best in my opinion Nike Wildhorse 3. But keep in mind to get the non Goretex versions, to let the water out again.
Got a new pair of Saucony peregrine 7, tested them in Mountain Sanctuary park. They got totally soaked, but were very light and comfortable once most of the water was out again, and dried up very fast.
Will be using them on the upcoming Fanie Botha Hike.


I’m thinking I’m with a pair barefoot boots this time. Our trip is in Feb next year.

Another thing to bare in mind with the minimalist Vivo boots, is the lack of protection underfoot. I tried trail running in a pair of minimalist shoes and they were great until I stepped on a sharp stone and that pressure went straight through and I ended up with a bruised foot for two weeks.

Your choice in footwear is largely dependent on what you are setting out to do. You can’t use trail shoes to climb Everest, and La Sportiva Olympus Mons boots (which are often used on Everest) would be very impractical on the Otter Trail. Similarly you don’t use a Ferrari as a delivery vehicle, and you don’t use a 30 ton truck to transport staff - that isn’t what they are built for. Just a question of picking the right tools for what you are trying to achieve.

Hiking boots do help in the snow, and you generally can’t put crampons on trail shoes (notably my crampons do fit on my trail shoes - but trail shoes in snow is a bad idea).

I find rock hopping with a day pack much easier in trail shoes, but carrying a heavy pack through a loose rocky field would be a different game entirely.


From personal experience I’ve found that the problem with waterproof boots is not that the waterproof barrier doesn’t work (it works well and works for days on end -Ghaz, maybe clean them once in a while :wink: ), the problem is water getting in from the top.
Waterproof gaiters works well in low grass or snow, but when you walk through tall grass or in deep snow your pants collect water that fills up your boots, which then can’t get out and you end up walking in waterlogged shoes.

Long enough rainpants is the only thing that works in situations like this. Did many multiday hikes like this and my feet stayed dry, no problem. The key is to make sure no water gets in from the top.

Boots vs other type of footwear. I prefer boots. Yes, they are heavier. However, I’m 2m tall and carry a heavy backpack (working on getting it lighter) so a heavy duty boot helps to support all this weight, which a trail shoe doesn’t do. Furthermore, I tend to hike in mostly rough terrain and goes off the trail a lot, so in this broken terrain through rocks etc. A stiff sole makes walking much easier. For walking on smooth trails my boots would probably be overkill, but where I go they are needed.
The rubber rand and stiff toe construction have saved my toenails on many an occasion, even with boulders falling on my toes.
The ankle support also helps a lot. I would have sprained my ankle many times over if I was in trail running shoes. Again, the terrain I hike in, combined with my height makes falling over and damaging an ankle more likely.
Lastly, it could potentially also prevent a snake bite from killing me (although, granted, this could be wishful thinking :slight_smile:

Horses for courses I say. I run in the mountains with trail shoes, but I hike in boots.


Hey RiaanG

The most waterproof pair of boots I have ever owned was that old Rubber pair that I won in a facebook competition (Hi-Tec Sierras) - I used them on that first hike we did together at Injisuthi.

Nonetheless - yes, I do clean my shoes properly (sometimes). Case and point on this is day 5 of my second DGT. We did 3100m on the Yodeler’s Cascades to Starboard Basecamp. We did this in about 4h (which seems insanely slow now, but felt fast at the time), and I was wearing my La Sportiva Tibets. I had cleaned them and reapplied waterproofing immediately before the hike - so every procedure was done. I also had my waterproof layers layered correctly. That stretch is entirely on a trail and all the grass is lovely short escarpment grass. We got hit by a monster storm that lasted almost the entire stretch. My shoes were drenched within 30 minutes, and were only starting to feel dry again by Ntsupenyana 5 days later! Michael (not Hobbit) had the same problem - can’t remember what boots he was using. Meanwhile Andrew was laughing at us as his trail shoes were dry before our first stop the next day.

I only made the switch to trail shoes in 2015, just before my first speed GT (so that’s about 10 months after the 3 person 13 day GT) - and all 4 GTs I’ve done since then have been in trail shoes.

Good to know someone has managed to make hiking boots work!

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