On the Quick:
Style: High top
Pros: Extremely comfortable, surprisingly light on the feet
Cons: May heat your feet a bit on hot days
Best for: Cool weather or wet trails, longer day hikes or backpacking trips, winter sports
Retail Price: $150
Most people are familiar with Chacos for their interestingly-tanning sandals and flip flops, but the company also makes more traditional hiking boots as well. They recently reached out to Modern Hiker with a pair of their Holbuck boots and I was happy to put them to the test.
The Holbuck is exactly the type of boot I prefer to hike in – a midweight, high-top boot with a solid sole and decent toe protection. I’ve recently come around on hiking in low-top boots – especially on shorter or hotter trips – but I would still generally rather have some nice ankle support when I’m on the trail.
Chaco includes their LUVSEAT insole with these boots as well. Pretty much every boot maker has their own comfort-creating insoles these days and all of them work with varying degrees of success – but I can say the LUVSEAT was one of the most comfortable hiking experiences the bottoms of my feet have ever had, whether I was hiking on the tough, slippery terrain in Griffith Park or hopping across granite boulders in the Sierra.
That comfort extended to the rest of my foot as well. I wasn’t able to tie the Holbuck’s laces quite as tightly as I’d like (full disclosure: I tie all my shoes REALLY tightly) but the looser feel made the interior of the boots feel soft and easy on my feet, but still secure for my ankles – and the boots didn’t feel heavy, either, even though I’m used to hiking in lighter, non-waterproof Vasques.
The Holbuck has a water resistant suede and leather exterior combined with an interior waterproof/breathable bootie. Splashing through streams in the Sierra left my feet nice and dry and the exterior of the boots still looking in good shape after a few dozen miles. Those interior breathable/waterproof linings usually spell instant foot sweat for me, especially in our hot weather SoCal conditions, and while I found my feet were fine in the cooler temperatures up north, my feet were a bit on the swampy side after a moderate but fast-paced hike in Griffith Park. But I didn’t have any discomfort on the trail and didn’t have any hot spots when I took off the boots, either.
I’ll also note that not a single pebble found its way into these boots while I was hiking – which is a very nice thing, indeed.
Overall, I’d recommend the Chaco Holbucks for cool weather hiking, or hikes where you know you’re going to get wet along the route. These boots will also do very nicely on snowshoeing trips, and I’m definitely looking forward to using these instead of an old, rigid leather pair I’ve been using for the past few years.
Chaco provided these boots to Modern Hiker free of charge, but did not compensate the site or exercise editorial influence on the review.