In brief, a tale of woe. A good design with a few things that could be improved, which doesn’t fit and is going back to REI.
The pleather fabric seems great. The sole is rigid enough for control, flexible enough for striding and walking. The cuff balances touring and turning acceptably for such a boot (it is quite squeaky). The insulation and padding soak up lots of moisture, which necessitates a vapor barrier for multiday stuff and puts you in a bad spot if you step in a stream. The achilles cinch strap actually works to keep the heel locked down.
Unfortunately, though I had to lace them almost all the way shut to keep them tight over my midfoot, the forefoot was just barely wide enough. My foot is odd in this respect, but fat feet need not apply here. Compounding this, the grey pleather bends in a rather unpleasant fashion over this exact problem spot, you can see the hint of a crease just down from the zipper slider above. Either one of these problems would have likely been workable, but in spite of my denial and hope it would break in the boot leaves too little room for swelling and that part takes a beating during hard turning and maneuvering. My proximal phalanges still ache from Saturday.
Back to the boot drawing board.
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