Yeah, I’m into leather. Boots, that is. For alpine and desert hiking nothing beats the durability, breathability and comfort of tough animal hide covering your feet. Sure, leather boots weigh a few more ounces than the latest synthetic marvels that they cook up in Italian chemistry labs and espresso shops. And leather doesn’t keep your feet dry like Gortex does if you’re spending days hiking through alpine monsoons. But leather works. To that end, I recently acquired a pair of mostly leather Scarpa SL M3, which they call their “premier backpacking boot.” I’m very happy with these zapatos, but of course everything at WildSnow.com world HQ must be modified…
|Scarpa SL M3 leather hiking boots, an effective mix of old and new technology. And less black rubber over the toes, so reduced solar powered roasting of the tootsies!|
|Ah yes, the mod! If you use your leather for the rough stuff (hiking, that is), exposed stitching can wear to the point of the boot coming apart. Solution is a protective layer of epoxy. I start this by cleaning the stitches with lacquer thinner, then add some tooth by quickly scuffing with a Scotchbrite. A bit of 5-minute epoxy and I’m done. Hint, the quick epoxy seems to cure better than using 1-hour, perhaps because it doesn’t have as much time to be contaminated by oils and solvents in the leather. WildSnow mod number 3,264 is complete, now my boots will endure.|
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.