Friday, February 25, 2011

Animal-friendly Hiking Boots. Hi-Tech Cascadia XCM. Hike with a Conscience.

Finally, I found a pair of hiking boots that doesn't have any leather on it. This one is made by Hi-Tech, and it is called Cascadia XCM. It runs around $140-$160, depending on the seller and whatever discounts they are giving at the moment.
The Cascadia XCM uses a waterproof but breathable membrane, seamless nylon uppers, brass hardware, and vibram soles. It also sports rubber toe protection. Several users gave it good reviews online, and I don't see any problem with giving it a try especially considering the rarity of animal-friendly shoes. Footlocker sells this model.
I am dismayed at how difficult it has been finding hiking boots that do not have leather on them. I have looked at models produced by Asolo, Merrell, Columbia, LaSportiva, Mammut, Garmont and others. One can see that the prevailing attitude is that a good and dependable boot must have leather on it, if not entirely made of leather, at least some trimming. I think this is just more along traditional thinking and not that synthetic materials have been proven to be inferior. Shoes were made of leather, for centuries. And I suspect that there is genetic memory involved here. Humans blindly expect good shoes to be made of leather, like good food must be tasty. It is only in our modern age (I estimate it as late 20th century) that synthetic materials have come into use in our daily lives. And it would be a wonderfully humane world when synthetics have completely replaced leather, and animals considered as commercially useless.
A word of caution to those seeking non-animal products. Dura leather is still an animal product. It is recycled leather. One of my friends argued that Dura leather has some benefits since it saves more animals from being killed for their skin. Maybe, this is true. But, it will not do for people who want to do away with animal products altogether. Another one is Cordura. Known for its strength, Cordura will appeal to consumers with a conscience because of its synthetic makeup. The trouble with Cordura is that it is usually used with leather in shoes. And that would make the shoe unacceptable.

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