Back when I was in high school (before 2000), I was given a pair of Raichle hiking boots, purchased at Mountain Equipment Co-op (and also kindly mailed to me in Oxford before my first trip with the Walking Club).
The boots are excellent, with solid ankle support, a reliable ability to maintain grip in wet and slippery conditions, and excellent comfort. I hiked in them in the heat of Italy, Morocco, and Malta; on rain-covered rocks in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, England’s Lake District, and British Columbia; in ice-bound Tallinn, Vermont, and Helsinki; and tramping through the mud in Devon and Oxford’s Port Meadow.
I am glad the people at MEC recommended these leather boots over Gore-Tex ones. They essentially never soaked through, even after the occasional slip into streams, and were comfortable with wool socks in even very hot conditions.
They have also been my standard winter boots for five years in Ottawa and four in Toronto. In all that time, I haven’t even had to replace the laces — though I have tied them to fix breaks two or three times.
Yesterday, part of the rear right heel came loose. I will check into whether replacing the Vibram soles is possible and affordable. If not, I will be in the market for a new pair of hiking boots for the first time in an absurdly long while. Without a doubt, these boots have held up to at least twenty times as much use as any other pair of shoes or boots that I have owned. It makes me wonder what makes all the rest of my footwear so inferior, including Blundstone boots which cost only a bit less than the Raichle’s did but which only ever last a couple of years and Allen Edmonds boots which cost over twice as much and which have needed multiple repairs despite only being worn for formal occasions.