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Makalu
Gear Review

Makalu

 

Page Type: Gear Review

Object Title: Makalu

Manufacturer: La Sportiva

Your Opinion: 
 - 22 Votes
 

 

Page By: Josh

Created/Edited: Dec 20, 2001 / Dec 20, 2001

Object ID: 97

Hits: 4754 

 


Makalus offer the support and protection for mountaineering and off-trail travel. Durable 3mm full-grain roughout leather uppers feature one-piece construction. Breathable, moisture-wicking Cambrelle?Epolyester linings help prevent abrasion and blisters while keeping feet dry. Rubber lug outsoles are compatible with step-in crampons and provide superior traction on rough, rocky terrain. Honeycomb polyurethane midsoles offer optimum cushioning and shock absorption. Full-length 1.5mm steel shanks and leather-covered tapered 8mm nylon insoles provide all the support you need to carry a week's worth of gear. Padded ankle collars and padded inner tongues protect ankles and insteps; gusseted leather outer tongues help keep water and debris out.


Reviews

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JoshUntitled Review

Voted 3/5

Breaking in the Makalus takes forever. I'm not exaggerating here. I've had my Makalus for 3 years and have climbed/hiked in them over thirty times. Still, whenever I use them I lose toenails and get blisters. Maybe they just don't fit my feet well. I've heard other people complain about this too, so I know the problem isn't completely due to my odd shaped feet. Other than the fact that they cause me great pain everytime I wear them, they're good boots. I usually use them for non-technical glacier/snow climbs with semi-rigid crampons. They're perfect for a trip up Shasta or Disappointment Cleaver on Rainier.
Posted Dec 20, 2001 9:51 am

Brian JenkinsUntitled Review

Voted 3/5

These shoes have mutilated my feet more than anything else has (these were one of the main reasons my first attempt at Hood failed). I am still in the process of breaking them in and have had them over a year. I have about 40 - 50 miles in them and have heard it takes about twice this to get them broken in. They have gotten a little better though already.



They do have tremendous support for heavy backpacking too which is great (like up to 60 -70 lbs in a pack). I also have used them on ice and glaciers and they work well with rigid and semi-rigid crampons. The locking laces are a great plus too. I know I will love these once they are broken in, I just hope that happens while I am still fairly young.



Be prepared to spend some money on Compeed and Moleskin if you get these though. Also, I have really narrow heels and these are made more for that type of foot. If you have a wide foot, you may want to try something else.
Posted Jan 4, 2002 3:50 pm

ben jamminUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

Contrary to other reviewers' experiences with the Makalus, I have not had a bad time breaking them in; they seemed to fit fairly well out the box. Anyway, with heavy mountaineering boots of this type, it's more likely to be your feet that get broken (in) rather than the boot.

Otherwise I've found the Makulus to be fairly robust and suitably waterproof, but somewhat disappointing in terms of mountaineering performance. Ideally, a stiff boot sole is required for front-pointing and edging performance, but the soles of my Makalus have become significantly more flexible though use.

This should not be that surprising since the Makalus seem to have been designed from the start as a compromise between mountaineering performance and hiking comfort.

The sole is just barely stiff enough to take a step-in crampon, and I use Grivel G12's with the "newmatic" front binding. Due to the flexible sole, I'd hesitate to use step-in crampons with a toe bail though. YMMV.

Overall I'm still pleased with the Makalus, in spite of some of their deficiencies.
Posted Jan 29, 2002 2:05 pm

Jerry LUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

I bought a pair and I think that they are great. I didn't have any problems with break-in. They give me excellent support. I've logged about 250 miles in them and they show very little wear. They are also excellent with creek crossings and hiking in the rain. No problem with water. I would definitely buy a second pair.
Posted Jun 30, 2002 5:06 pm

tccivUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

I´ve had my Makalus for about 2 years and after many miles on the trails have finally begun to break them in. They have taken me from the trail to the top of 5000m+ peaks without a hiccup, glacier walking, scree stomping descents, no fear in using step-in crampons, I´ve even topped out on 5.9 sport routes in my Makalus. These boots are extremely versatile and built like a tank, although one drawback is that they are a bit heavy. Just stepping in them gives you a great sensation of solidity. Make sure you go through the break-in process before taking them on an extended trip.
Posted Sep 8, 2002 7:34 pm

dsnellUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

I've had my Makalus for about 8 years now and I wouldn't trade them for any other boot. I did have a little trouble with the break in, as these boots are pretty stiff and heavy. For a while they were tearing my feet to shreds, but I finally discovered that my foot didn't fit in the boots well if I used one of those thick, padded insoles. I got rid of the insoles, stuck in the stock insoles, and the boots have felt fine since.



I have used them in all kinds of conditions: summer snow fields, summer rock, winter ascents in New Mexico. They're not a serious cold weather boot, as my feet got a little cold on the winter ascent. Go for plastic boots under such conditions (and sacrifice some comfort in doing so).
Posted Aug 4, 2003 5:39 pm

climberkristinUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

I've had the lady makalu for almost 5 years, broke them in for 5 months, then wore then practically everyday travelling and hiking in them for 7 monhts. They are too heavy for common day hiking, (unless it's a day hike up Mt. Adams) but so supportive for carrying a heavy pack. I get blisters just looking at a pair of boots but these are like butter, now. I found that adding insoles changed it so much, they tore my feet up but once i took those out they fit fine. Waterproofing once a year makes river crossings a dream.

Only problem is the soles are starting to pull away at the toe. (they are five years old though)
Posted Sep 2, 2003 5:44 pm

tmbassUntitled Review

Voted 3/5

The Makalu is a very quality product and seems to be a great inbetween boot, ie: mixed alpine, heavy long duty backpacking and a little ice. Be forwarned ,these are designed for narrow footed southern Europeans. My personal experience is they are very limiting in the toe box and mid foot. The lacing system is awesome and they have great style. I am giving up my pair because of width issues after a few break in hikes and one climb. Will post to Forum/gear/classifieds October '03. I have moderatley wide feet and usually don't need EE boots, but the width to length ratio just didn't work for me. Otherwise, I would have rated higher.
Posted Sep 24, 2003 5:12 pm

BootboyUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

Ive had mine for 2 and a half years. No complaints. They earned me a nick name. They are a tad narrow but ive worn them several days a week since day one to keep them broken in.(ive found they get a little stiff after a fallow week) They are also very stylish. Ive got hudreds of Windriver trail miles on them with a 60lb pack. The soles wear just short of eternity. Very supportive, only had a few blisters, mostly cuz of sock issues. If you have a medium to narrow foot and want a boot that can hack it all, this boot gets my endorsment. I know who im buying my next boots from.
Posted Feb 29, 2004 2:04 am

scottfromcaliUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

These are my do-it-all boot. Lightwieght as far as mountaineering boots go, extreamly sturdy, tough with full grain injected waterproof leather. They provide great ankle support during talus and scree slogs and down climbs. A ton of grip on granite, I've been very pleased with them when climbing class 3 routes. I have yet to strap crampons on them because they are more a summer mountaineering boot used in warmer weather where kickstepping is not a problem.



They are not stiff enough for front pionting but I doubt that is their strong point. A big of a breakin period I did get some terrible blisters the first time out but I think they are close to being broken in 10miles maybe? For me, but I am probably bigger than most at 200.
Posted Mar 31, 2004 10:49 pm

briand97Untitled Review

Voted 4/5

Great boot! I've had my Makalu's for just over 4 months and probably logged 150 miles in them. The first two trips I took them out on I was very consious of blisters so I switched to my old pair when I felt any hot spots.



The newer version have a nice rubberized toe that covers much move than the original. Also, the laces have been redone with ball-bearing which lock the lower laces in a cinched position.



My only complaint was that my feet were a tad cold on my trip to shasta. But I think it was more a function of trying to push beyond the temprature limits of the boot (It was about 15 - 20 degrees)
Posted Jun 15, 2004 8:38 pm

tloganUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

I wasn't sure what to expect after purchasing my Makalu's... especially after reading some of the reviews... phrases like 'mangled my feet' and 'takes years to break in' had me worried...

So to say that I have been pleasantly surprised with how comfortable they've been would be accurate. I had my share of blisters when I broke them in in the Cascades and the Malahat mountains... but overall I have been very pleased.

Their durability and support were sorely needed and they have filled that void quite nicely in my equipment... a great boot!
Posted Sep 17, 2004 4:51 pm

joseguzman58Untitled Review

Voted 5/5

Got my Makalus a week ago. Went on a thirteen mile hike the day after I receive them, and walked maybe another thirteen the very next day . I carried my backpack with about forty five pounds. I got no blisters. Not even hot spots. My feet tend to be on the wider side. I am size ten and bought the boots ten and a half. I used a heavy hiking wool sock with a polipropilene liner. I think it was love at first stride. I just love how this boots hugg my ankles, giving stability, and how the soles grip the rock. Oh, and by the way, they are very good looking. Can wait to use them with crampons. Never use them crossing a creek right out of the box, but I treated them with some Sno Seal after my first outing, and they don't leak.
Posted Nov 6, 2004 2:55 pm

wildstarUntitled Review

Voted 2/5

I know that many people have really enjoyed this boot and have many good things to say about it. I have an older version and after years of it tearing up my feet I am tired of this boot. I have had too many trips with torn up heels and lost toenails. I am stubborn in thinking that this boot would break in but I have finally realized that I am fooling myself and that I no longer need to be punished by this boot. I am buying something new this spring and staying away from anything that says La Sporitva.
Posted Dec 5, 2004 12:16 am

ungerfeldUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

Where I've used them: low and non-technical climbs like Mt Washington, Mt Hood and Mt Massive, top roping ice climbing, backpacking in the Appalachian trail.



Breaking in: contrary to some other people's experiences, break in was in no time for me. Perhaps they adapt better to my narrow feet.



Terrain and confort: they did well in all of the places I tried them, with and without crampons. Traction in packed snow without crampons is good. They climb well on snow and vertical ice, and are confortable for hiking.



Insulation: Okay, but not great. Once that I was breaking trail solo in deep snow in the winter I could feel my toes slowly getting cold.



Weight: Probably around average.



Durability: I've had them only for one year, so it's a bit too early to tell. So far no problem.



Overall: a very good all-around shoe, that can be used both for a climb and the approach. I wouldn't bring them if I was expecting extreme cold though, but then, plastic boots are for that.
Posted Feb 8, 2005 8:06 pm

amochkaUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

Great multi-purpose boot for the type of climbing I've been doing. I've been on climbs with people wearing plastics where we inevitably end up on rock or end up hiking on dirt/rock for miles, and I can't imagine having worn anything but these boots in those situations.



They work really well with my crampons (step in black diamond sabertooths), so they've been great for glacier use. They smear well on rock, so they're great for mixed climbing. Once broken in, they also make great trail shoes...I've hiked hundreds of miles in these boots.



My feet stay warm, no problems with cold feet yet, but I wouldn't take them up something where plastics would be more appropriate.



Only complaint is waterproofing. They consistently get wet if kicking in steps or moving around in soft snow all day, which can be a real drag. I wax them after every climb, and that has helped, but I was surprised that the leather soaked through on my first trip out with them...



People complain about blisters with these boots...I'm not prone to blisters, so I haven't had that problem with these, but I've seen them chew up other people's feet on hikes/climbs.



Overall, I'm very pleased with these boots and will use them for years of climbing.
Posted Aug 17, 2005 10:29 pm

MountainjumperUntitled Review

Voted 1/5

Great boot as long as you do not have a problem. La Sportiva has a the worst repair/warranty policy out there. Purchased new pair in Nov. for trip in mid Dec. had a workmanship problem that was confirmed by the retailer but Sportiva wanted them returned and would let me know if they would cover them. Even with the retailer calling them they would not budge. He gave me a new boot (diff-brand) at cost. Obviously not enough time to break in a new pair. Ditched them and bought the other brand. Beware!
Posted Jan 29, 2006 8:09 pm

julesblaiddGood opinion

Voted 4/5

I bought my Makalus 4 years ago. Breaking in was a painful torture for 20km but since then I've loved to wear these boots. I used it winter in snow, in summer on via ferrata and for trekking and it was always comfortable. It was never wet but I always pay attention for correct impregnation.
I used it with crampons... To tell the truth I never attached full automatic crampons but I used it with semi-automatic ones (Petzl Vasak LL, Cassin C14) but worked properly.
I think in winter it is cold with any amount of socks on your feet.
Posted Feb 26, 2007 8:26 am

Augie MedinaDurable and Versatile

Voted 4/5

I've had my Makalus for 5 years. The break-in period was a few weeks to be sure, but after that, they were so comfortable I've even used them for day hikes on trails. Great for talus and scree slogging and stiff enough for most crampon use except for sustained front-pointing. They make my ankles feel solid under a heavy pack. And they adhere nicely to the rock on 4th class sections.

The only negatives I have are (1) snow/water soaks through the leather in relatively short time; I put seal on before every single trip in the winter; and (2) they don't keep my feet warm for as long as I'd like. I expected they'd be warmer.
Posted Sep 28, 2007 7:46 pm

fossanagave up

Voted 2/5

I don't have enough patience for multiyear break-in periods, so I gave them to my mom. Haven't had much luck breaking in the K3s either. Just when I think they are broken in I get a hot spot. Maybe I'm not a good match for La Sportiva. We'll see how my Kaylands go.
Posted Jan 30, 2008 8:56 pm

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