The Most Comfortable Hiking Shoes Ever? Perhaps Tecnica Forge


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 30, 2018      
Tecnica CAS Custom Adaptive Shape

Tecnica Forge line of hiking boots includes CAS Custom Adaptive Shape system the molds both the upper and a custom bed.

When I was a wee lad of 23, I’d become frustrated with mountain boots that only lasted me a couple of NOLS mountaineering courses. I was working as an instructor, backpacking hundreds of miles on granite gravel and rocks, snow climbing, and even rock climbing in my big klunky leathers.

While I did practice exquisite denial about the cost of my gear, and was even then buying equipment on pro discount, I could not help but notice the cost of my boots was a good percentage of the money I made per course — coin which otherwise was destined to buy oatmeal for consumption in Yosemite. Giving up on mainstream products, I figured something custom built by Europeans in the Alps could perhaps last more than eight weeks. Specifically, the shoe makers in Kitzbuhel Austria, who I figured must possess the secret of cobbling boots that didn’t become tattered ribbons the first time they kissed Wind River granite. In a series of overseas letters and a scratchy international phone call, I ordered a pair of Haderer mountain boots, made from a tracing of my foot.

The Haderers were bomb proof. I’ve still got them for sentimental value, though the thick leather has become much too age stiffened for real-world use. Despite (or perhaps because of) their robust nature, the Haderers were never much for comfort (not to mention weighing a ton), they missed the key of in-person custom fitting, and you can only do so much with leather anyway. That’s where modern technology comes in. Whether it be ski boots are trail running shoes, touching the entire boot with a fitting process is the way to go.

This past winter, Tecnica introduced a technology in hiking boots to match the CAS Custom Adaptive Shape feature of their ski boots. While this being a fancy mouthful for the simple inclusion of lower density area of the boot that’s more easily heat punched (identified by a patch of small divots), the feature does work to make ski boots more readily heat punched, and is now featured with the Tecnica Forge collection of hiking boots.

Both Lisa and I had Tecnica Forge boots fitted last winter with the CAS system. The process involves molding a comfy footbed, then molding the actual trekking boot to your foot. The procedure was technical, clearly requiring a trained operator, but the results were excellent. I’m not sure every last trekker in the world would need this, but if you have the slightest tendency to foot issues or trouble fitting hiking boots, check it out. Below, the process in photos from a demo last winter. Lisa and I are using the boots and they’ve become go-to for both of us.

First step, a nice pair of customized beds.

First step, a nice pair of customized beds.

Next the boots are heated and prepared to be custom molded to your feet.

Next the boots are heated using custom shaped blankets, and prepared to be custom molded to your feet. )Unlike spot punching ski boots, the process actually works with the entire Forge hiking boot upper).

I liked Tecnica's portable system, in-shop will be less fun but probably less intimidating.

I liked Tecnica’s portable system, in-shop will be less fun but probably less intimidating.

Compressed air bladders squeeze the heated boots to your feet.

Compressed air bladders squeeze the heated boots to your feet.

Customer view.

Customer view.

Both Lisa and I clearly got a molded boot out of the deal. In my case, left is obviously wider than the right for my more messed up foot, heel pockets feel like they were made for me. They probably won’t last as long as my Haderers, but they’re ten times more comfortable and weigh a third as much. Worth checking out.



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Comments

11 Responses to “The Most Comfortable Hiking Shoes Ever? Perhaps Tecnica Forge”

  1. Halsted Morris April 30th, 2018 2:41 pm

    Have you ever seen haderer double boots?

  2. Pablo May 2nd, 2018 2:07 am

    And with Fede himself fitting your boots!!
    No better technician is posible! 😉

  3. Chris B May 2nd, 2018 8:50 am

    Hey Lou,
    What an innovative looking boot. Thanks for high lighting them. Do you think these boots are able to accommodate very pronounced bunions? I use Hokas for most of my hiking so I am used to that level of cushion. How plush do these feel?

  4. Lou Dawson 2 May 2nd, 2018 1:22 pm

    Hi Chris, I think some parts of the Forge might be quite amenable to spot punching. In fact, I’ll go ahead and try a spot on my samples and report back. Stay tuned. Lou

  5. Jonathan L May 2nd, 2018 4:47 pm

    The Tecnica website is a riddle wrapped in an enigma when it comes to figuring out who stocks and fits these. The dealer locator isn’t really helpful. Do you have enough pull to get us a list ?

  6. Lou Dawson 2 May 3rd, 2018 8:36 am

    It’s always rather amusing when companies market something heavily, it looks good, we cover it on Wildsnow, but nobody can figure out where to buy it! I’ll look into it. Perhaps someone from Tecnica will chime in. Lou

  7. Chris B May 3rd, 2018 9:00 am

    Yes indeed, the Technica website is a joke when it comes to finding dealers who could fit this boot onsite. If you live in the Denver metro area, I found Bentgate in Golden has these boots. They have very experienced fitters for ski boots so they can probably do a good job on these.

  8. Lou Dawson 2 May 3rd, 2018 1:28 pm

    Hey all, Tecnica sent me here: Click on link for “Stores.” It seems to work ok. https://www.tecnicausa.com/outdoor/

    Let us know if this helps, I’m sure some feedback would be useful for Tecnica.

    Lou

  9. Jonathan L May 3rd, 2018 3:28 pm

    Thanks for digging through the layers to find the link. Even with an Avi 1, it was beyond me.

  10. Justin May 3rd, 2018 3:51 pm

    Hey, go to this website, https://www.tecnicausa.com, and click “Outdoor” and there you are.

  11. james hooper July 16th, 2018 3:50 pm

    Thanks for this review. I bit and got them. Really pleased with the Tecnica Forge. I use them for Colorado 14ers and general mountain hiking. First boots I’ve had in a long time, other than heavy, custom leather, that I can put on my wider/bumpier than normal feet and can forget about ’em and hike all day in comfort. I was skeptical of how much of a difference the molding/fitting process would make, but now I get it. Nice to have boot support on rougher and downhill terrain instead of sacrificing it for the comfort/tolerability of trail runners. Money well spent.





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