Gear test: Chaco Teton boots

Just a few years ago, and while still in my 30s, I was required to have both of my hips replaced as the result of arthritis and overuse. My ankles, unfortunately, are in about the same shape as my hips. Rolled ankles, sprains and softball sized swelling are maladies with which I’ve become all too familiar.

I managed to ruin a pleasant multiple-family outing a few summers back by falling at the absolute top of a high rock bluff, severely spraining both ankles and breaking one foot. Suffice it to say that it was a long and painful hike down (one which I hope to never repeat). Consequently ankle support is more than just a passing interest of mine.

I’m exceptionally happy to report that the Chaco Teton boots have been a revelation to me, and have honestly changed how I look at footwear. Until starting to test the Teton boot roughly six months ago, I had always worn low-top sneakers (“tennis shoes”). What low-top sneakers provide in terms of ease of use, lightweight construction and breathability, they lack in ankle support. The Chaco Teton boots have semi-rigid sides that cover and exceptionally support my ankles. The boots’ lace system utilizes eyelets low, and a hook system high, allowing laces to be drawn tight, and soundly secured. For a full boot, and given their exceptionally well-constructed nature, I did not find them to be heavy. I have worn these boots essentially non-stop since receiving them.

I’ve hiked them through Rocky Mountain National Park on a recent spring break trip, taken them all through Wisconsin’s Driftless and Kettle Moraine areas, worn them through Wisconsin’s never-ending winter, and worn them to concerts where I was on my feet for hours. The boots’ non-marking soles even allowed me to wear them while coaching my daughter’s basketball team.

In all respects, these boots have performed, performed well, and most importantly they’ve supported my ankles and kept me upright. Like any shoe or boot made out of leather they have a short break-in period. Overall, they’re comfortable, they look great, and they are tough. Despite one-half year of continual use in varied circumstances and with no maintenance whatsoever save occasionally wiping off snow, my boots still look and function great, with no signs of breakdown. To be completely candid, I never expected that I would become so attached to a pair of footwear.

The Chaco Tetons are a great product, and have earned a repeat customer assuming this pair ever does in fact need replacement.

—Henry Koltz

By Chris Hunt.