Just remember. These aren’t double plastics nor are they insulated, so be wary of taking them on multi-day expeditions to high altitudes and seriously cold conditions. They’re also not the right boot for ice climbing. But for light mountaineering and winter hill walking, they’re hard to beat.
What Others Say
The Makalu will be a popular boot 100 years from now. It’s just a classic—a fairly heavy, rugged boot with thick three-millimeter leather uppers and a moderately stiff midsole. Flexible enough for hiking, stiff enough for pretty serious crampon use, thick enough to keep your feet warm in fairly chilly conditions.
The best strong boots for the long dry approaches and snow climbs on the Oregon Cascades volcanoes are the La Sportiva Makalu. They are snap-on crampon compatible, are lighter than plastic, won’t get wet (really) and you can hike in them for miles (once broken in a bit and the right fit).
All said, I think the Makalus are excellent pieces of gear. They may not be built for heavy trail pounding, but they perform solidly in uneven terrain, and despite discomfort in their fit, inability to dry when wet, and average traction, I feel like I can always count on them for stiffness, support, and versatility when I need it most.
I see in one of the comments some genuine complaints about my review in which I say the leather does not wet through. It is a fair point in so far as all leather boots will wet through after a few days above the snowline. This is exactly the reason why expedition grade boots such as the Scarpa Omega are made of plastic. I’ve found the Makalu to be a great boot but it does have its limits.
They do wet through. After two days in summer snow, mine did. Yes, they were Nikwaxed, yes the seams were sealed with silicone, yes I was wearing gaiters. At first, having read a lot of non-objective reviews like this one (you’ll “swoon” over the tongue? That’s not really helpful), I figured it must be my imagination. So I did a few tests, and yes, as common sense would suggest, leather is not as waterproof as the reviews like this one suggest. Now, they’re probably plenty waterproof for most everything you’ll do, barring lots of wet slushy summer snow. So I recommend them heartily. But nothing is as perfect as the hype.
Mr Gear says
That is a fair point. The truth is that no leather will keep going on multiday expeditions in the wet unless it has a chance to dry out a bit in between. But I sitll stand by my comment that these stay dry way better than boots I was wearing 10 or 20 years ago.
That said, I would not recommend these for major expeditions in cold conditions. For that you can't beat double plastic boots.