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281 Sportiva FC 3.0 GTX 2010-09-15

Sportiva FC 3.0 GTX boot

While getting ready for our summer trip, once again, boots and shoes were major concerns. Good footwear makes for good trips. Bad footwear leads to disasters. Testimonial tales from hikers crippled by foot blisters are good enough reasons for our obsession.

This year, Amy, my wife, bought three new pairs of footwear. Two she really liked and the other she liked; but could not get the correct fit.

A note about our reviews: we review things we like, and don't mention the others. If everyone liked the same thing, there would only be one manufacturer. But, we all have different tastes, fits, needs, and styles. This is true of boots, shoes, tents, bags, etc. One shoe - does not fit us all.

Another note: I am reviewing a boot I have never worn. Ah, but I have walked heel and toe with my wife who wore the boots. I heard her excitement of getting a boot that fits and I would have heard her misery if they had not fit. The third person reviewer is at least interesting.

The Sportiva FC 3.0 GTX boot is a light to mid weight hiking boot. The shoe won the 2009 "Best Buy" award from Backpacker Magazine and the new "Eco" model won the 2010 "Editors Choice - Green" award.

I could not decide what the FC stands for (the boot name). My guesses are "foot control", "first choice", "foot comfort", or "fun cabins"; or the initials could stand for Italian words that mean nothing to us. I guess it does not matter; but I could not find anything in Sportivas consumer literature defining the FC.

What we do know is the FC 3.0 weighs 2 pound and 8 ounces, not much heavier than a pair of running shoes. Despite the lightweight the boot still offers support and protection.

The boot has a GoreTex lining. GoreTex does give a shoe a certain degree of waterproofing, but it also makes the boots hotter. Amy does not have hot, sweaty, feet and the boots did fine with her. Others who primarily walk in the south (USA) might find that a GoreTex shoe is too hot. This is not a trait of the FC, it is a trait of GoreTex.

Amy has short, wide feet with high arches. The shoes fit her perfectly. Lori at Cumberland Transit did a good job selecting the boot and fitting her.

Days after buying the boots she wore them on our hike of Mount Kephart from Alum Cave Trailhead in the Smokies. She carried an extra pair of "just in case shoes"; but she did not need them. She had no troubles. The day hike was no slouch, it is about 21 miles and 6,000 foot elevation gain. A pretty good break-in-your-boots hike. The whole way up the mountain she raved about the boots. The trail was wet, as usual, and is very rocky. She confidently climbed the slick rock. She also commented continuously on the boots's comfort. By the time we returned to the trailhead, I definitely knew she had found the right boot, she told me enough times!

On to the summer, in the Rockies she got to put the shoes to the test. Each day we hiked or climbed. On all but the most technical routes, she wore the FC's. She was surprised by the grip of the sticky rubber. They were not as sure footed as an approach shoe, but they were close. The boots also performed well in the snow, creek crossings, and scrambling.

For the summer she wore the boots an estimated forty days and had a perfect record - no blisters, hot spots, sores, or turned ankles. I know, because I would have heard about it! Amy is one tough cookie and is definitely not a whiner; but we have an agreement - it is okay to complain about things that can be fixed. I only heard raves.

I am sure that Amy would give the boot a 5 star rating. She thought the boots were that good. Try them on and see what you think.

Happy good fittin' boot trails.


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