View Full Version : Limmer Boots? Anybody have experience with them?

01-15-2016, 23:27
A friend told me about Limmer boots today. He was reading on the net and said that they got rave reviews for how long the lasted. Anybody own a pair?

01-16-2016, 00:29
My feet are sweating just looking at them.

01-16-2016, 07:27
Limmer (NH) is one of a few makers of custom boots in the US, which also includes Leahy (CA), Esatto (WA), John Calden (CO), and a few other cottage makers. Limmer also has a stock of off the shelf boots but they are most well known for their custom boots. Those that have these boots tend to like them a lot, but the custom boots are pricey at around $700 a pair and have an 18 month or so lead time with two fittings/tracings required. But, if you have foot or ankle issues, the boots can be custom fit to your foot and will last for years.

The longevity of these boots is touted as a selling point, though the leather has to be cared for like any other leather product. Given proper attention though, they do have some longevity over many other makers. However since they do not make their own soles I don't believe the soles themselves last longer than similar sole material used on other high end boots. These boots typically are resoled between 1200 and 1500 miles, though I have heard some claims of over 2000 miles that seem a bit of a reach.

I suspect their off the shelf boots (lower cost than the custom made) are similar to the higher end commercial boots like Asolo that you should get at least 3,000 to 5,000 miles out of with proper care and a few new soles along the way.

If a custom boot is what you are looking for, it may be well worth while to check Limmer out.

Old Hillwalker
01-16-2016, 08:55
I own two pair of customs. The first pair I got in 1980, and the second pair in 2004. The oldest pair have been hiking all over the world and were resoled three times. The last resole in 2002 used up the last bit of leather used to restitch the upper to the sole (last) and had to be stapled instead of sewn therefore I ordered my second pair. The boots are made with only one seam on the uppers located on the inside near the ankle. If kept well greased, they are water proof right up the the top. Of course if you go over the top and get water inside they will take a loong time to dry out. I have walked mine dry, but it takes several days in normal weather. About the only time I wear them is when backpacking on extremely rough and rocky terrain like Aa lava terrain, limestone karst, or when hiking in the Whites when I'm working as a USFS licensed Sawyer since that requires a leather boot at least seven inches tall as part of your PPE. Do they last for years and years, definitely yes, they are heavy and expensive. My first pair cost $180 in 1980, and second pair $640 in 2004. The waiting time for custom boots was once five years, but now I don't know. Sir Edmund Hillary owned a pair as well as Chief Justice William O Douglas who was an AT thru-hiker. Old school technology but well loved by many. Not for the AT however.

01-16-2016, 09:00
I love my Limmers. They are 25 years old and have been resoled once. The most comfortable hiking boot that I have ever used. I will use trail runners on day hikes but when I'm going out overnight or longer I use my Limmers.

01-16-2016, 09:47
I had a set of custom Limmers made for me years ago. I had hiked with heavy boots previously so switching to Limmers made sense. I wore out a set of soles in three summers of hiking. The leather if taken care of will last for many sole replacements and I know folks who have 20 plus years on a pair. They use a super soft calf skin interior lining and if you wear it out they can patch it. The design makes them particularly well suited for the whites as the edges of the soles stick out past the leather. When stepping down on rocks, the sole takes the abrasion instead of the leather. They pretty much was the standard trail boot for trail crews, AMC hut crews and USFS employees. They do sell "stock boots" and if you visit them, they will try to fit you with a stock boot. The stock boots are also offered in a couple of styles including a midweight and lightweight size. They will also work on the stock boots and will resole them.

So you probably want to get the credit card out and order a pair? Here are the downsides, strap a couple of bricks to normal pair of hiking boots and that is what the custom or standard stock Limmers feel like, they are heavy and it really adds up over the course of the day. They are also hot, they usually get wet from the inside out. The traditional Limmer insole is a thick flat piece of leather and inserts are not traditionally used (but they will fit a pair of the customs with them if you bring them). The leather pad eventually forms to your feet but if you need extra arch support a thick leather pad isn't going to do it for you. This process takes months to fully occur unless you use them daily. The standard joke is that you don't break in Limmers, they break you in. The store has a rack of returned lightly used boots from folks that discovered that they weren't able to break them in and I see them at garage sales in occasion. Eventually if you keep up with using them the entire boot loosens up and forms to your feet and they can be quite comfortable (unless you need arch support).

Another issue is the much talked about resoling capability. My boots were the widest pair (13 EEEE) they made the year I picked them up. They did have great width until the sole was replaced, when I got them back they were not as wide. When I asked about this, the owner said "oh that happens all the time, you will get used to it". I didn't and started having foot problems on long backpacking trips, they were okay for day hikes but I had a couple of spring week long section hikes that I had serious blister issues due to loss of width. Many of the Limmer advocates typically work trail crew for a few years on the original soles and turn into "weekend warriors" by the time they get a resole or they use them for work boots so this loss if width is not as apparent.

The other aspect of Limmers is there was "hiker snob appeal" to them. AMC (and RMC, DOC and WOC) folks regarded them as " the club tie" if you had Limmers it proved that you were a long term hiker even though you were wearing them on a dump run. As the AMCs influence waned in the area, this snob appeal is far less, although its still a subtle sign that you have been up in the whites for long time. The very long list for the custom boots reinforced the snob appeal. At one point the official list was in excess of 2 years. The local joke was that if you really needed a pair (for trail crew or USFS employees) the wait could be as low as 6 weeks. That's why the official wait list was so long was that the owners were always doing special orders and they realized that the longer the wait list, the more people wanted them.

The entire concept of the "right" hiking boot has changed, for years various authorities strongly recommended heavy stiff hiking boots with ankle coverage. The concept sort of was go hiking with a cast on so that you couldn't twist an ankle. This tended to work with weekend warriors who may not hike regularly to build up the musculature in ankles. Most dedicated hikers have figured out that using lightweight low cut hiking shoes allows far better flexibility and develops the musculature in the feet so that turning an ankle is far less likely. I used to roll ankle far more frequently with my Limmers (or any heavy boot) and when I did I was out of commission for a couple of days. I still occasionally roll an ankle but when it happens I curse for a couple of minutes and then go on hiking. I also hike considerably farther in a typical day with my trail runners than I ever did with Limmers.

I still have them in storage but they are mostly souvenirs of part of my hiking career. When I try them on I realize how darn uncomfortable they are. If you go in a lot of local bars in the whites there will be old hiking and skiing gear hung up on the wall as decoration. The equipment has long since been replaced with improved gear. Limmers have for most become anachronisms, yes you can still use them but there is better modern gear that works for the vast majority of folks.

Maui Rhino
01-16-2016, 14:36
I have a friend in Colorado who loves his Limmers. He tried talking me into getting a pair and even got me a coupon for $350 off a custom pair, but I'm afraid to drop that much $$ on a pair of boots. Pretty much all of my off-trail hiking is in A'a lava, and it tears up boots. I've had a brand new pair of leather boots become completely unserviceable in less than 30 days in the lava fields: soles wore out and uppers all cut up and full of holes. If I didn't live on a volcano, I'd be a lot more interested in a pair.

01-16-2016, 14:38
I have a pair of "off the shelf" Limmers I bought 25+ years ago and have had resoled 3 times. The leather on mine is still in pretty decent shape. I oil them up now and again. A heavy boot with the classic Vibram lug soles stick to wet ledge like no others can or do and are good for use on the rocky trails we have here in Maine and NH. If I want bulletproof feet, I put on my Limmers, but my feet have grown some over the years so they no longer fit very well and only rarely wear them now.

But they are insanely heavy and even more so when they start to soak up water. They have no arch support or cushioning. It probably took 500 miles just to break them in.

Limmer also has a light weight leather boot which is good, but don't last nearly as long as the classic. They also have a mid-weight leather boot, sort of a scaled down version of the classic Limmer boot. These two boots are "off the shelf" so there is no waiting, but they are also pretty expensive and take a long time to break in.

Next time I take a trip to North Conway, I should stop in at Limmer and say hi to Peter.

Old Hillwalker
01-17-2016, 08:49
I love going into the old, no longer green barn in Intervale just to smell the leather and look at all the many years of pictures sent from all over the world showing Limmer Boots worn in spectacular terrain. In the olden days, hikers would wear approach shoes getting to the climb prior to putting on their climbing boots. Back in the 80s I wore my Limmers winter climbing with SMC hinged crampons of the "long strap" type. I wore that combination climbing up onto the Franconia Ridge loop a couple of years ago and the hikers I met probably thought they had entered a time warp. I will be using my newest Limmers for a three week backpack of the Central Pyrenees in Spain this coming summer. One of the Limmer boys moved to Vermont some years back and started making custom dress shoes of definitely European design. I own two pairs of these also. Note the one piece upper with the seam in the same location as the boots and the leather laces like the boots. 33275

08-15-2016, 12:20
Over-rated IMO. I have two pairs of the standard models and both are needing resoling again. At $400 or so, just too pricey for most people, and they don't last a lifetime for those who really use them. Both my pairs are around 10 years old and they both look really worn.

Leo L.
08-16-2016, 05:35
We have a small local shoe factory that makes about the same top-quality leather shoes and boots as the Limmers are.
I had (and heavily used) a pair of their low-cut shoes, very similar to the Limmer Walkers, for more than 35 years, resoled two or three times, finally had to thrash them last year when the repair shop refused to resole them claiming I had waited for the resole job to long and the mid-sole was demaged. These shoes, bought for about EUR 70,- back in the early 80ties, was one of the most worthy investments in all my life. Have a new pair waiting in the shelf to be broken in.

After having tried a lot of different shoes for my desert hikes in the past years (different trailrunners, Adidas Jogging High II, lokal made "lightweight" leather boots) which all failed, broke, developed dramatic odor, or at least didnt't last long, I finally switched to leather boots again, which I'm very happy with.

09-11-2016, 22:39
I prefer the stock boots fairly indiscriminately, for day hikes, yard work, motorcycle boots, snow boots, take your pick. These are getting close to needing to be resoled, as you can see. I'll probably do this. If you go to the shop in New Hampshire, they will spend an inordinate amount of time with you to insure the proper fit, the quality of the stock boots is phenomenal, and. I bet they should discuss with you over the phone too.