The problem with some outdoor adventure activities is the price required for gear to get started. This can be an impediment for many to start the hobby. No one wants to risk buying a bunch of expensive gear to find out that perhaps they do not enjoy the activity as much as they thought. This is especially true for hiking and backpacking with the hiking boot being one of the most expensive items. Most good hiking boots will set you back at least $150 making many wonder where are the best affordable hiking boots.
Nortiv8 Armadillo 2 the best affordable hiking boots?
I had the opportunity to try out the Nortiv8 Armadillo 2 hiking boot this fall, and I was impressed. There are five metrics that tell whether a hiking boot is top quality. Those metrics are how much does it cost, how comfortable is the boot, is it waterproof, how is the traction, and is it durable. In my first outing with the boot, it definitely passed four of those five tests. How durable a hiking boot is cannot be measured in one hike. A hiking boot should last for many hikes, and many years, so only time will tell about how durable the boot is.
Forest Glen Preserve hike to test whether the Armadillo 2 is the best affordable hiking boots
A good training ground for beginning hikers is the Forest Glen Preserve Backpacker Loop. It is only around ten miles, so a good place for beginning hikers and a good place to try out gear. You don’t want to test important gear on multi-day hikes in hardcore wilderness settings. If the new gear fails, this could put the hiker in an inconvenient situation at best and a dangerous situation at worst, so a hike where it is easy to hike out in one day, or even a couple hours, is optimal for testing.
Related: Forest Glen Backpacker adventure
Forest Glen is perfect for this as one is never farther than one or two miles from the nearest road; however, it is wild enough to make one think they are in the wilderness. The only hikers I saw were at the beginning. They almost caught up at one point in the hike, but then I did not see them again until the campsite. The rest of hike was in complete solitude. In fact, there were certain ridges and ravines that felt like I was in the Smoky Mountains and not central Illinois.
How the Armadillo 2 best affordable hiking boots fared on the key metrics
How much does the Armadillo 2 cost
The Armadillo 2 is $50.00. Enough said; however, that sometimes can be a hindrance when looking for an affordable hiking boot. Even though the price matches up what one would like to spend, it opens up a lot of questions. Buyers fear the boot could be flimsily made and break on the first hike. The Armadillo 2 passed this test on the first hike, but more on that in another metric.
How comfortable is the Armadillo 2 hiking boot
I broke in the Armadillo 2 hiking boot properly before my hike. Whenever I get a new boot, I never take it on a hiking trip until I have worn it and broke it in a bit by just using it at home. I fortunately have a job teaching that does not require a strict dress code. I was able to wear the boot while teaching, so I sufficiently broke it in for two weeks prior to my hiking trip. A good rule of thumb is to wear a boot for at least two weeks prior to any aggressive hiking trip. I experienced no blisters or hot spots during my two day hike. It did not seem too warm either. I felt like the boot allowed my feet to breathe.
Another side metric to this section is the lightness of the boat. A boot needs to be durable and light. Hiking is difficult enough carrying a heavy backpack over rough terrain, so one does not want to be carrying more of a load on your two feet. This is another area the Armadillo 2 passes with high marks. These shoes weigh in at 22.4 oz as found on another review website. I felt like I could run or jog in these shoes, so they were perfect for hiking fast in.
How waterproof is the boot
Even though I was hiking in early November, the Forest Glen Preserve was quite wet. Usually late fall is a dry period in the Midwest, but this was not the case on this hike. It got even worse while I was there. A rainstorm swept in at 8 p.m. and roused me off to an early bed. It rained constantly through the night, so conditions were even wetter the next day. While I never submerged the boot in water, I did have to walk across and through some muddy sections where the boot was at least three-quarters submerged. I also crossed a creek where I had to put my boot in the water. I did not experience any wetness to my socks, so the boot passed this phase with flying colors. The Armadillo 2 advertises as water resistant, and I can definitely attest that this is true.
How is the traction
Since conditions were wet and muddy and the Forest Glen Preserve is a rugged area, I was in a perfect position to judge this metric. In fact, conditions at Forest Glen were so slippery at places that it was almost unfair rate the shoe. I slipped on the mud more than once, but there is no shoe on earth that has traction for steep muddy inclines. Fortunately, the hills here are steep, but they are short. When I fell, I fell on my rear and slide for a few moments before coming to a halt. Other times, I was able to catch myself before falling. In other less severe steep areas, the traction of the shoe was perfect. I will deduct a point here because I did fall more than once, but I do not blame the boot for these slips.
The most important aspect of a hiking boot is its durability, but this is the most difficult to judge. It is impossible to make a statement on this after one outing. I can attest for the fact that nothing broke on the first hike, which is a good sign. When one buys something that is less expensive than others, the fear is it might implode on the first rugged test. A hiking boot should last for many hikes and many years. I have many more hikes in the future. In fact, I am contemplating a trip to Nepal, so these Armadillo 2 boots might walk on the tallest mountain in the world. Check back for future updates on the durability of this product.
I am an affiliate marketer with Nortiv8, so I make money if you click on the link and order these shoes; however, I believe I wrote the most unbiased review possible. This is why I noted the stumbles and the fact that I am not sold on the boot until further testing.