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  • Writer's pictureSteven Reinhold

My Limmer Experience

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Lacing up My Limmer Boots with the Great Smoky Mountains in the Background

We were within sight of the exposed summit of Black Rock when I first asked Jim Kern about his rugged, yet stylish, boots. He turned to me with a sly, inside smile, that only the gatekeeper of great gear can wear, and said, “have you ever heard of Limmer Boots?” I had not, but I quickly learned, as will you, that for those in the know, Limmer Boots are the cream of the crop.

I tend to take Jim’s word when he makes a gear recommendation—he’s got an unparalleled track record when it comes to the great outdoors. He is the founding father of Big City Mountaineers and a founding member of the American Hiking Society and was instrumental in orchestrating their infamous HikaNation campaign. He also dreamt up and built the Florida Trail and At nearly 90 year’s old, Jim is still kicking it: just last year he took all 8 of his grandchildren on a backpacking trip through the French Alps!

Relaxing in My Limmer Boots in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Jim had recommend gear before, but never with such reverence. He went on to tell me about the 100-year history of Limmer Boots which was started by Peter Limmer in Bavaria circa 1919 and followed a storied path to White Mountains of New Hampshire where their “barn,” in the Mount Washington Valley of Intervale, lures enthusiasts in from all over the world for the custom-boot experience.

Jim recounted his trips to the barn for his own custom fittings and told me how this last trip—which yielded a customized pair with an extra lift on the right sole to compensate for complications associated with a hip surgery—was extra special. He also explained that Limmer’s are for life: they can be resoled, the company has a robust repair program, they are easily refurbished with Limmer’s Boot Grease, and are often passed down as a hiking heirloom from one generation to the next.

Limmer Boots in the fall

Fast forward one year later—this time walking the floors of the Denver Convention Center for an Outdoor Retailer Show—and I heard the name Limmer Boots for a second time from another brand enthusiast named Chris Sawyer. Suffice it to say that Chris isn’t your average brand enthusiast, though. In 2021 he and his business partner went in together to purchase the Limmer Boots brand which was facing the growing pains that only a 100-year-old company can face. Their dream was to steward the classic brand into the future and keep the Limmer legacy alive.

It’s hard to describe the feeling when you find someone from your tribe, but you recognize it instantly. Chris and I are kindred spirits who share an uncanny love for the mountains of North Carolina (Chris graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone and cut his teeth in the outdoors backpacking on the ridge lines of the Carolina Highlands) and the desire to introduce others to the wonders of the outdoor world—the opening to our initial conversation was sparked by the #unityblaze!

Limmer Boots perched high above the Pisgah National Forest

Fast forward another year, and I finally got my first pair of Limmers and simultaneously found out how Chris, and Limmer Boots, are taking the personal touch to a new level! I was passing through colorful Colorado and Chris, who lives near Boulder, took the time to meet me personally. We set up outside a cafe, shared a warm conversation and cup of coffee, and then he ceremoniously presented me with a personalized letter welcoming me to the Limmer family. He then produced a plethora of sizing options from the bed of his Toyota Tacoma and proceeded to hand-fit them to my feet, right there, on the side of the street.

When I think back to that moment, I could shine my boots with tears of joy. Here I was in Boulder, CO—a place where I had worked so hard, for so long, to grind my way into the outdoor industry—being treated like royalty. For once in my outdoor industry career, it seemed like the shoe was on the other foot, and that ultimate gesture of compassion by Chris is what, in the end, turned me into a loyal Limmer enthusiast!

Ramblin' Reinhold relaxing outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Fast forward one more year and here we are: ready to launch a groundbreaking cobranded trip with Limmer Boots and The AAC! That pair of boots that Chris expertly fitted to my feet are finally broken in and I wear them everywhere. I’ve walked a thousand miles of trails in them, rocked them during hard labor, trampled through pastures and greased them up to host fancy dinners at upscale resorts! That pair of Lightweight Limmer’s are literally my one boot quiver and I look forward to walking in them along side Chris, and other brand enthusiasts, on a spectacular section of the Appalachian Trail traversing the Roan Highlands during our premier Limmer Experience later this summer.

Hope to see you there, happy trails,

Steven Reinhold


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