LE CHAMEAU CONDOR LCX HUNTING BOOT
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
INITIAL REPORT - November 21, 2017
FIELD REPORT - February 13, 2018
LONG TERM REPORT - April 17, 2018
Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Le Chameau
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Made in Romania
Manufacturer's Website: lechameau.com
Listed Weight: 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) pair
Measured Weight: 3.5 lb (1.6 kg) pair
Height: 17.5 - 22 cm (7 - 8.5 in)
Ankle: 27 - 34 cm (10.5 - 13 in) *I think this means calf circumference
Color Available: Brown
Sizes Available: 6.5, 7, 8, 8.5, 9.5, 10, 11 and 11.5 US
Size Tested: 9.5 US
A note on sizing from the Le Chameau website.
"Due to the tighter fit in our Condor range we recommend ordering one size larger than you would usually wear."
My experience with this later on in this report.
Season: Year Round *rated to -10 C (14 F)
Uppers: 2.2 mm Oiled Nubuck Leather
Lining: Le Chameau LCX
Sole: Michelin OC Deep Forest
-LCX is Le Chameau technology that's a waterproof and breathable 5-layers of various textile boot lining. Feet stay dry and comfortable in all weather.
-OC Deep Forest is based on motocross tire technology from the tire manufacture Michelin. The result is a very lightweight, hardwearing, flexible and strong gripping sole.
The Condor LCX feature a 360* rubber rand.
The Condor boots arrived in the usual style shoe box. Opening the box my first impression is these are tall boots. The next thing I notice as I remove them from the box is that they are much lighter than they look. The leather of the boots is very nicely finished with a even polish. The rubber rand is even all the way around and securely attached flush to the boot. All stitching is well done and neat. The Condors almost look too good to think of stomping through the mud with.
The Condors are tall boots approximately 8.5 in (21.5 cm) from inside the boot to the top of the ankle cuff. Being so tall the laces are long. The laces pass through four metal rings at the foot. There are then five metal hooks above this to the top of the ankle cuff. The upper portion of the boot has a soft quilted cushion fabric section on the sides and back where the ankle flexes most. Opening the boots wide reveals a large tongue gusset. This should make for easy foot entry and exit. The tread of the sole has a varied pattern. It looks as it would provide traction and stability in varying conditions. And the Michelin Man is on there! I don't remember ever wearing a boot with a sole made by a tire manufacture. I do remember the Michelin Man from my youth and thought he was kinda cool. Anyhow I would imagine Michelin would know something about making durable tread.
All in all the Condors looks like exceptional well made both in material and construction. I cannot find any flaw or defect on the Condors. This a high quality boot made for wet, rough conditions.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The boots arrived with two informational cards. One has model and size info. The second explains LCX
Technology and the design of the soles.
Product care and warranty I found on the company website.
Warranty - guaranteed for two years against manufacturing defects. This does not cover accident or
Care - clean with nothing more than water and a brush, allow to air dry
- use a silicone spray and polish using a soft, dry cloth
- keep boots in a dry and ventilated place, away from direct sunlight and away from any heat source
- if boots become wet, dry the lining thoroughly before using them again
- if storing boots for a long period, clean thoroughly and store away from direct sunlight in a dry, cool
TRYING IT OUT
I wear a US Mens 9 ninety nine percent of the time. Luck would have it the Condor does not come in a size 9. My foot is on the wide side for its length. So this and arch support is where fit is most critical for me. I also have a slightly higher than most arch. Based upon this and the early mentioned company suggested sizing, I went with a US 10. However this would prove to be too big. I found the size 9.5 a good fit. So while not a whole size bigger, I did need a half size bigger. Maybe because I wear a slightly larger size to accommodate my wider foot the 9.5 is actually a full size large. Either way there is a matter of sizing to consider regarding the Condor.
As far as trying the Condor on it went like this. They open wide at the top and my foot easily slips right in. Support and cradling of my foot feel good. The heel and arch hit in the right place. They fit close on the sides of my feet with room to wiggle toes up front. One pull at the top eye rung pulls the laces tight enough at the toe. I haven't laced hooks since early spring so this feels strange. But this goes easy enough and I pull tight at each level. The Condors fit close without being tight. I have wiggle room without my foot or heel slipping.
I have not worn a tall boot for some time. So I feel a small restriction in range of motion in my foot and ankle. This is most noticeable when make lateral movements, taking side steps. I went for a short walk around the neighborhood on a mix of pavement, grass and gravel. The Condor feels good on my feet. My stride is easy and unencumbered. Again a stiffer boot than a low cut trail shoe but not uncomfortable. I don't think the Condors are made with strolling the boulevards in mind. These boots are going to be much more at home in the woods.
The Le Chameau Condor LCX Hunting Boots are sturdy, surprisingly lightweight and extremely well made boots. They feel solid and protective on my feet. I wore low cut, lightweight trail shoes all summer and fall so the Condors are at the other end of the style spectrum. While they limited range of motion compared to less substantial footwear they are very comfortable and move with my stride. The waterproof feature in my opinion is a must for the winter. I also think the additional height over the ankle will be of benefit once the snow accumulates. I am eager for adverse trail conditions in the Condor boots.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Moose Mountain - Hanover, New Hampshire
Elevation - 1350 to 2300 ft (410 to 700 m)
Pack weight - 15 lbs (7 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 4.1 mi (6.6 km) at 40 F (4.4 C) and raining, heavy at times
Mt. Hancock Loop - Lincoln, New Hampshire
Elevation - 2200 to 4420 ft (670 to 1347 m)
Pack Weight - 30 lb (14 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 9.8 mi (15.8 km) at 10 F (-12C) and very windy higher up
Greeley Pond - Lincoln, New Hampshire
Elevation - 1940 to 2245 (591 to 684 m)
Pack Weight - 20 lb (9 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 4.5 mi (7.2 km) at 20 F (-7 C) with 10 in (25 cm) of fresh snow and falling heavily
Storrs Pond - Hanover, New Hampshire,
Elevation - 525 to 400 ft (160 to 120 m)
Pack Weight - 15 lb (7 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 4 mi (6.4 km) at 0 F (-18 C) with 6 in (15 cm) of fresh, powdery snow
Girl Brook - Hanover, New Hampshire
Elevation - 530 to 390 ft (162 to 120 m)
Pack weight 10 lbs (4.5 kg).
Distance and Conditions - 6 mi (9.5 km) at -10 F (-23 C) clear and calm under a full moon with 18 in (45 cm) of old snow
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During this test period I have hiked in the Condor boots in temperatures above freezing and well below freezing. My feet have been comfortable in all settings. Only at the coldest temperature experienced were my feet chilly and this was only when standing still. At the warmest temperatures I noticed my feet were very warm only after removing the boots. The Condors breathe quite well as my feet were not sweaty or moist. Along with comfort my feet were always dry. These boots are very waterproof whether hiking in snow, rain or through standing and running water. I could stand in an ankle deep stream without a drop of water getting through to my feet.
Thinking of ankle deep brings to mind hiking in measurable snow. The height of the Condor boots provide coverage well above the ankle. This allowed me to travel in snowfall up to 6 in (15 cm) deep without using gaiters. Not that I dislike gaiters but if I can minimize gear needed for certain conditions that's a positive. I think the extra height of the boot also helps in the lower temperatures. This section is insulated protecting a portion of the legs as the warmth of circulating blood moves to the feet. In deeper snow conditions I did use gaiters. The Condors fit with my gaiters nicely and allowed for them to go on and off easily. This brings me to compatibility with traction devices. The Condors worked well with both MicroSpikes and snowshoes. Both fit the boots nicely and stayed comfortably in place to work while in use.
I have worn the Condors while carrying varying loads over very varying terrain. They are comfortable under all conditions providing great support and very good traction. The soles grip nicely to all trail conditions except ice which is reasonable. The only other condition I notice a difference in traction is at temperatures of 10 F (-12 C) or lower. My guess is that the composition of the soles hardens slightly making them less flexible to hold footing.
The only other ding against the Condor boots is where the toe of the boots flexes. The shape of the toe is slightly longer and narrower than other footwear I have worn. This combined with how the material bends and creases it hits right on my fourth and fifth toes. This is mildly uncomfortable for the first few minutes of wearing the boots. However I quickly become desensitized after awhile and I never have blisters or sore spots after removing the boots.
Overall I am very happy with the Condor boots at this point in the test series. They are quite capable in a wide range of temperatures and conditions. The shape of the boot and shape of my foot are not a perfect fit but they still work very good. These are not the best deep freeze winter boots I have worn, the decreasing traction being the reason. They are however excellent fall into winter, wet and/or snowy weather boots.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Day Hike at Velvet Rocks - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 8 mi (13 km) from 525 to 1100 ft (160 to 335 m)
Pack Weight - 30 lb (13.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 34 F (1 C) with 10 in (25 cm) of soft, mash potato snow
Day Hike at Balch Hill - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 6 mi (9 km) from 525 to 950 ft (160 to 290 m)
Pack Weight - 30 lb (13.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 20 F (-6 C) clear and calm with 18 in (46 cm) of fresh powdery snow
Overnight Hike at Smarts Mountain - Lyme, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 8 mi (13 km) from 1100 to 3238 ft (335 to 987 m)
Pack Weight - 25 lb (11 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 15 to 2 F (-9 to -16C) clear with light breeze, perfect, soft snow atop broken out trail
Overnight Hike at Zealand Hut via Mt Hale - Bethlehem, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 15 mi (24 km) from 1450 to 4055 ft (442 to 1236 m)
Pack Weight - 30 lb (13.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 18 to 5 F (-8 to -15 C) with light snow and gusty winds, variable snow pack
Day Hike at Storrs Pond - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 4 mi (6 km) from 525 to 400 ft (160 to 120 m)
Pack Weight - 10 lb (4.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - Temperature 40 F (4 C) and sunny
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During this phase of testing I wore the Condor boots under heavier loads for more miles. This was with a combination of bare boots, Microspikes and snowshoes. As well as one shorter hike under lighter loads in a mix of soft, wet snow and substantial mud.
The Condors remain comfortable on my feet. They never fail to keep my feet warm and dry. They work with winter traction devices and handle deep snow nicely. The longer hikes under heavier winter pack loads in conjunction with the regularly changing angle of foot placement in the snow led to minor discomfort. Or minor fatigue might be more accurate as I felt my legs doing more work. I feel the height of the Condor boots limited the range of motion in my ankles enough that it caused the rest of my legs to compensate.
When the white stuff began to melt leading to foot devouring mud the Condors wade right through. I was quite impressed when tucking my pant leg in the Condors and stomping through the above ankle mud. My feet and socks remained dry and my pants remained clean. After returning home a quick rinse with the hose and a wipe with a towel the Condors look almost new.
Here are my final thoughts on Le Chameau Condor LCX Hunting boots. They are very well made of high quality materials, they provide good comfort with excellent protection from the elements. These are excellent wet weather boots that can transition into winter conditions. The Condors are compatible with my winter traction devices as well as gaiters. The need for gaiters although is reduced thanks to the height of the boot. Additionally, when encountering serious mud the extra height was very much appreciated. While these are pluses ultimately I feel the height of the boots reduce my range of motion just enough to be a negative. I find for this reason the Condor best fits my hiking style on shorter snowy and/or muddy hikes with lower pack weights.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.
This completes my Long-Term report. I would like to extend my appreciation to Le Chameau and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Condor LCX Hunting Boots.
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Read more gear reviews by Michael Pearl