Grateful to be Hiking Again!
Well, it took a bit longer than I hoped, but it was worth the wait. If you have 7E feet like me and love to hike you will have a love/hate relationship with any off-the-shelf boot. Finally I gave up after one hike while limping out of the forest with the big and littles toes on both feet aching. Kevin’s boots fit like a dream. The leather is supple and hugs my feet. My foot (and toes) feel like they are floating on a cloud while hiking. Kevin listened to each and every small bit of feedback I gave him and really crafted a marvel. I am grateful.
Hard to Fit? No Problem!
I’m not the typical hiker/backpacker, at 6’11”, 270 lbs and size 18 feet!! There are no commercially available hiking boots that fit me well enough to use for heavy backpacking trips.
Kevin built me an amazing pair of boots that I have used on local trails and all over the Sierra Nevadas. This is legimate all season footwear—spring, summer, winter and fall. Great support, great traction and great comfort!! I have forded numerous streams, and they have never let in any water. (I do follow his directions for keeping the leather treated!)
Because of my size, and the terrain I hike on, I push my footwear pretty hard. Kevin has provided great support for the boots as well. He has made repairs when needed at very reasonable rates.
When I need to go over a mountain pass carrying a backpack, I don’t have to worry about my footwear. I have recommended Leahy Custom Boots to many other hikers, and at least two podiatrists.
I am very happy with my hiking boots that you made for me last December. In February, I was already able to do a whole 5 hour hike covering around 10 miles and 1500′ but at that time (two months from the time I received the boots), I still had some tight and sore spots around my small toes, but the usual pain in my knees and hips were much reduced. I am happy to report that after 6 months, I feel very comfortable and happy with the boots that it has reduced the overall pain, and given me more comfortable and enjoyable hikes. And the boots are still very good looking too. Thank you so much!
Comfort in the Dolomites!
I just wanted to give you an update on my boots. I took them to Italy for our hikes in the Dolomites without any backup shoes, and they worked out perfectly—no blisters or any other problems during break in. I was able to hike all day, every day without any foot discomfort. The other folks on our hike (except Debbie) complained of bruised feet from walking over rocks. The boots were so comfortable that they were my go-to footwear for walking in Rome and other cities. Thank you for a great product!
Bootmaker’s note: “I made a pair of boots for Dan’s wife Debbie. As commonly happens, Dan ordered a pair soon after.”
Until Now, I Didn’t Know What Hiking Comfortably Felt Like
I’ve had very flat feet and correspondingly bowed ankles my entire life. I’ve muddled through with orthotics and struggled with off-the-shelf footwear reasonably well, but I always paid for long hikes or walks with blisters, pain in my toes, and aching arches. I’ve never let it hold me back though and recently my daughter and I decided we were going to tackle a bucket list item and signed up for a trip to Mt Kilimanjaro.
It became painfully clear, literally, during my preparatory hikes that standard footwear would, at best, make this trip painful, if not impossible. I found Kevin’s site and knew that this was likely the only option for having a successful trip—no matter how well conditioned I was personally, if my feet couldn’t handle the effort, it wasn’t going to work out and I would likely waste the investment in money and time for this trip.
In a leap of faith, I contacted Kevin. He carefully explained the process he’d follow and the quality of the materials he would use, and after a short deliberation I decided to work with him on these hiking boots. He was very professional, clearly very knowledgeable and skilled, and in a short amount of time, I had a snazzy new set of hiking boots.
The difference was immediately obvious. The shorter hikes were suddenly much easier. Last weekend, my daughter and I did a more strenuous hike in Yosemite on the Upper Yosemite Falls trail. The trail is advertised at almost 4 miles, but my FitBit (and Apple Watch) both recorded steps equivalent to 12 miles after the 7 hour round trip.
I can say at the end that without these shoes, it would not have been possible. While understandably tired, my feet had no blisters, sore spots, squished toes, or any other similar issue I’d experience wearing conventional footwear on similar hikes—we did Glacier Point 6 years ago so I definitely had an apples-to-apples comparison.
In the end, regardless of how this trip goes otherwise, there is no question this was an excellent investment in a very high-quality set of footwear that could very well last me the rest of my life. Kevin said these would fit like nothing I’ve every worn before and he was absolutely right.
Top of Kilimanjaro
Update Feb 2017…
A week ago, we returned from that trip to Kilimanjaro. My daughter and I successfully reached the summit about 6:30am on 29 January. It was seven days from the start of our trek to the top and we took roughly two days to descend. I wore the boots Kevin made the entire trip, through lush rainforest, arid desert, and atop the snow and frozen skree at the top of the mountain. You can see me in the picture below, lower left, in the blue/white/black coat with Kevin’s boots proudly on my feet at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
For all the conditions, the scrambling over rocks, changes in temperature, these boots never let me down. I didn’t have a single blister or any other issue with my feet—frankly, between the boots and the socks, my feet were never even cold. Others lost toenails and had other problems, but Kevin’s promise rang absolutely true—these wore like nothing I’d even worn before, nor like anything I’d wear again. They got me there and they got me back. Getting these boots made was absolutely the single best decision I could have made for the success of this trip.