Will My Next Hiking Boots Live Up to My First?

Eight years ago, I walked in to my local +REI and purchased my first pair of boots, +Merrell Continuum Women's Hiking Boots.  Up until then those were my most expensive footwear I had ever purchased, vaguely remember the price...about $180.00 but my husband (then fiancee) told me, "Trust me they are worth it..." and they sure were.  I wasn't a big outdoors person back then as I am now, but if I can contribute piece of gear that helped me grow into LOVING the outdoors it would be these boots.

I have never had an issue with my +Merrell Continuum, maybe I lucked out and picked the perfect boots and I know without a doubt that these were greatly made.  I have so many memories attached to my boots, they have traveled with me, been with me on arrest and search warrants, firing range, law enforcement training, camping in Mexico and most importantly hundreds and hundreds of miles on the trail in the United States and Peru.

My +Merrell Continuum are currently in "ok" hiking condition but one of the front toe seams recently ripped when a branch hit the seam perfectly and the soles are starting to peel away from the sides.  I can still hike in them but I am most certain that the waterproofing has been compromised.  They will get a few occasional hikes in but the Bay Area "Rainy" (I'm being sarcastic) season is approaching and don't want to risk testing the waterproof issues on them.

I recently asked my fellow outdoors connections what boots they recommended and now I'm torn!! There are so many options now!  Will my next hiking boots live up to my first?  Based on my needs and the recommendations I've received I'm actually thinking of getting two types of boots for the following reasons:

  • Day Hiking Boots: For shorter easier hikes, not carrying too much weight (30lbs and under).
  • Backpacking and Longer Day Hiking Boots: I normally carry 40-50 lbs when backpacking and lesser weight during longer day hikes but during certain times of the hike I usually end up carrying my pack AND one of our children.  The weight I carry (child and backpack) usually ranges from a minimum 30-80lbs, so I need a hard boot.
+KEEN has been highly recommended and of course I will be looking into +Merrell again, for day hiking boots.   For backpacking boots, I'm leaning towards the Asolo TPS 520 GV Women's Hiking Boots but I'm still looking into others.  My husband has the Asolo Men's version and he absolutely loves them, so much that he sent them to get resoled to a cobbler in Seattle, Washington.

Until then, a little photo montage of where my boots have taken me over the last eight years....

The Inca Steps on the Inca Trail - Peru

The clay muddy hills of the San Francisco East Bay Hills.

The steep trails of Rancho Corral de Tierra in the Peninsula.

Of course, Chasqui Mom's and any hiking boot mecca - Machu Picchu.

I want to cry just writing about my boots...is it weird that I have such en emotional attachment to a piece of gear?  Do you have a emotional attachments to gear? Also, if you have any recommendations on Day Hiking and Backpacking Boots please leave a comment with your recommendation, I would really appreciate it.