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Which WALKING boots?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
With no skiing for me this year I've been getting out hiking and walking more. What brands or models of walking boots do you recommend for a decent mens all round walking boot.

Currently looking at Scarpa Maverick Mid GTX or Oboz sawtooth or low bridger which would be a big upgrade from my Karrimor boots
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@Lost in the trees, I've some Scarpa Kailash GTX boots which I bought last year to replace some Berghaus ones I'd had for some time. Very comfortable with great grip and keep the water out. I was hiking in the snow yesterday and my feet kept dry. They get a lot of use out here and it's pretty challenging. 15km and 1000m of elevation typically.

Looking at the Mavericks they wouldn't give enough ankle support for me personally but perhaps you don't need as much.
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@Lost in the trees, Personally, I would pick a mid height leather boot over the boots that you have mentioned. Having decent ankle support is nice on rocky ground, especially if you are wearing a pack, and in boggy terrain I wouldn't trust those low cut mesh boots to keep my feet dry. While they are going to need replacing in the very near future, an older version of these have been keeping my feet dry and comfortable throughout frequent use since 2012.

https://www.scarpa.co.uk/walk/ranger-2-gtx-activ/
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Bought 3 years ago and to complement some Berghaus, long time owned with less flexible sole and crampon capable, I got some "Hanwag Bergler" with greater flexibility and front/rear ramped sole to give relaxed gait.

Absolutely superbly made with incredibly comfortable interior, they are everything I wanted in support, grip security and really good quality materials. Well worth considering if your use matches.

https://www.outdoorgear.co.uk/Hanwag-Bergler-Double-Stitched-Boots-sku11181501.asp?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_quXqPPp7wIVloFQBh1Ulwt1EAQYASABEgIjb_D_BwE

The detail in manufacture is impressive, but the interiors are certainly the highlight as they are like putting soft gloves on your feet.

Did I mention the insides? Very Happy Very Happy
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These, i'm on my 4th pair (2 low risers and 2 boots) all going well but I like to have 2 pairs of each in various colours, my wife has same.

https://www.salewa.com/en-gb/mountain-trainer-mid-gore-tex-mens-shoes-00-0000063458?c=916599

They are brilliant. Worn them all over the Alps, hiking and scrambling, and here in UK full 4 seasons boot.

Also got a pair of Meindl leather boots but they aren't in same league as the above.
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@Lost in the trees, have you considered trail running shoes as an alternative?

I switched about 20 yrs ago (after using walking boots for years worth of walking all over the world) and would never go back. Maybe for a short muddy walk in the UK (e.g. if I had a dog and needed dog-walking footwear) boots would work better, but otherwise I find trail running shoes are lighter, more comfortable, don't need any breaking in, and dry faster if they do get wet.

Chris Townsend (probably the most experienced hiker in the UK) has a section in his book "The Backpackers Handbook" entitled "The myth of ankle support" where he thoroughly debunks the concept that most walking boots provide any additional (or even as much!) support as trainers.
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@snowdave, I agree for 95% of walking ankle support is not required and is over blown, however for the 5% where it is proper sketchy, steeps/ scree/ scrambling etc then ankle support is a good thing imv, rolling an ankle can be a game-changer in big terrain.....that said my wife rolled her ankle in low-risers in really steady terrain on a low level river walk in Lech 2109 and she was in real pain, we suspect a fracture, I doubt that would have happened in full boots with ankle support.
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About 4 years ago I bought some Salomon Breccia 2 GTX for general hiking. They’ve been superb.

The ground here (Upper Austria) is mixed mountain terrain - rocky, boggy, damp forestry, icy/snow/slush, loose gravel etc. I use them every day, either for hiking or walking dogs.

Zero issues and still very much waterproof. Possibly a bit warm for really prolonged outings in the height of Summer but, that feels like a reasonable compromise, to be honest.
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Interesting the last two comments from @Markymark29, @snowdave, in the past I've been a big advocate of boots and I use Aku boots, however in the first lockdown in France when we were limited to one km and one hour I got back into running straight up behind where we live and ended up buying off Sports Pursuit some Altra King MT 1.5 trail shoes which seemed to tick all the boxes.

The running migrated into some quite extreme trail (sky running at altitude) running and descending over 1,000m vertical on steep single track you need to have confidence in your shoes (soles).

So today OH suggested a first hike of the year, and whereas usually, I'd grab my boots I have got a sore Achilles maybe overuse (abuse) from ski-touring and I'm more comfortable in trainers without an ankle cuff rubbing on my Achillles.

And today hiking in those up and down some steep paths at no time did I feel a need for my boots, in fact on the way back down I picked the pace up to see how my Achilles faired and now hope after some more rest to get back into the altitude running again soon.
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I've got the full set, trail running shoes, gtx walking shoes, gtx hiking boots and Canadian snow boots. But for hikes around here I'll only wear the hiking boots. It's generally crapahuter as a french woman described it to me after she'd dragged me up a 15km/1300m "walk" in the Chartreuse.
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I think it depends how much of a mountain goat you are too. I tend to slip and slide a bit regardless of shoes so I like to have ankle support and poles.
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I've used meindl boots for years with great success. They tend to fit a slightly wider foot, as opposed to scarpa/ salomon which are usually narrow fit.
Lowa and altberg are good too, but I'd steer away from retailer brand or karrimor boots.
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@Weathercam, I was similar - an avid boot user for years, but then when I started planning some long hikes, I discovered that the majority of people were using some form of running shoe. Chris Townsend (and many others - Ray Jardine has even more aggressive views) have observed that stability and ankle support come from the footbed and heal cup, something that tends to be very well designed in good running shoes. The flappy soft bit of leather around the ankle in a hiking boot won't even support a bag of sugar, let alone the force of a walker slipping onto it.

On long US trails (PCT, AT, JMT etc.) it's amazing the number of boot wearers who end up hiking in their camp shoes (I met someone who hiked over 100 miles of the JMT in her crocs, after her boots gave her such bad blisters she couldn't wear them). On the PCT (2700 miles) I'd guess that maybe 25% of people started in hiking boots, but almost nobody finished in them - they switched to trainers or quit.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Some great suggestions in here...for me and for other readers. I'm a narrow fit personally. I'll use it mostly light terrain in south east and have only used trainers or low rise walking boots to date but with age and increased walking I was also thinking a mid height ankle support is better
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@Lost in the trees, Chris Townsend's website has some of the excerpts from his book on it: http://www.christownsendoutdoors.com/2014/01/why-lightweight-footwear.html

"Ankle support may indeed be necessary (though I think its importance is over-rated) but heavy boots aren’t needed to provide it. In fact, many medium and heavyweight boots offer no more ankle support than lightweight boots, trail shoes and off-road running shoes. To check the ankle support you can stand on the outer edge of a boot and see how much support your ankle has and how quickly it aches and feels the strain...

Good footwear should hold your ankle in place over the sole but what is needed for this isn’t weight but a rigid support that cups the heel. Many years ago I tried a pair of boots without such supports. Despite the high ankles on rough terrain they offered no support at all and my ankles kept twisting sideways. The thickness of the sole makes a difference too. The closer your foot is to the ground the less strain on your ankle and the less likely you are to twist it. That’s why trail running shoes have thin soles."
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
That's not quite the point Chris was making regarding ankle support. Regardless of that, there's a great deal of difference between walking on largely waymarked and dryish terrain and hillwalking or hiking through peat hags and rocky terrain or Heather.
Not to mention that the people who strongly eulogise the use of low cut footwear tend to have ankles like tree trunks, largely gained through repeated and continuous training and walking.
Those of us who walk less frequently will enjoy less scrapes and scratches, on prominent ankle bones in higher boots.
For well maintained paths and trails, definitely shoes.
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@Lost in the trees, I think you need to visit the shop and try a few pairs on. Fit is everything. I usually end up with Scarpas because their last is a bit narrower. Boots or shoes that are too wide lead to blisters. It appears to be the trend these days for wider and wider boots (and ski boots). Other tips - make sure they are gortex or equivilant and if you intend to go up on glaciers then ensure you have a pair that are crampon compatable.
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I use Salomon Quest 4's. We live on the Gower Peninsula and walk five/six miles a day of really varied terrain. Some of it quite rough. I get through a pair a year on average and always replace them with the latest model because, for me, they work. Wife uses Jack Wolfskins and swears by them. Everyone's feet are different and the hardest part is finding a make that suits you. Bit like ski boots really
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Meindl Minnesota PRO GTX - Tried most things, had 4 pairs of these, over 35 or so Tour du Mont Blancs - for general hiking it's the best I've found so far. Not a mountaineering boot not a light trail runner style either. But very good at what it is. A bit pricier than many out there, but made in Germany, not Vietnam
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Roguevfr wrote:
... there's a great deal of difference between walking on largely waymarked and dryish terrain and hillwalking or hiking through peat hags and rocky terrain or Heather.


^ This...
Low cut trainers are ideal for short walks / fell running and dry terrain.

However you still cant beat leather boots for a proper hill walk up a 3000ft munro (bogs / heather / wet ground / rocky terrain).
Having climbed all the Scottish munros I am still a fan of traditional leather boot with vibram sole.
Though I also own low cut trainers for running in the hills.

For years Brasher were considered the iconic leather boot for UK hills.
Berghaus took them over in 2013 - still probably the best boot for £100-130 (depending on model)...

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@Lost in the trees, Be wary of goretex lined boots as they're too hot for summer use in SE England
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I’m another advocate of fell running shoes. They weigh almost nothing, which can make quite a difference over a long day. I do also have a pair of Goretex low rise boots which I use in winter, but that’s only because my trainers are mesh and about as waterproof as a sieve. My partner replaced his boots with running shoes, but as he went for waterproof ones, his have been fine in winter, sometimes with spikes on. Different pairs for winter and summer/wet and dry is probably the way to go.

Whatever you go for, consider the weight of it anyway.

If you’re walking on rock a lot, then another option is a hybrid/approach shoe with sticky rubber.
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My Goretex Berghaus boots are extremely comfortable and haven't let water in in the few years I've owned them. They also seem to regulate temperature very well, because my feet never get too hot or cold. The sole is however terrible and very slippery on rock or even sloping pavements. I've stuck with them because they're so comfortable and with young kids haven't done anything challenging for a while. Next time I'll be looking for Vibram soles I think.
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@milzibkit, how old are the boots? I only ask, because my previous pair were very comfy Berghaus goretex, about 18yrs old. They had been going well, but then on the first hike I did in Austria, completely disintegrated half way around the walk Confused That made for an interesting afternoon!
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Of all the brands I tried Meindl describe their boots the best - eg specific models for narrow, average, large feet which is helpful.
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Meindl Peru GTX supposed to be great summer leather boots.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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The ones that fit.

For South East, up on the North/South downs my preference would be mid height light weight. Most of Mine are Salomon, because they were the ones that fit when I tried them on, but then just mail order the same type each time. They are practically trainers with higher than normal ankles really.
For bagging Wainrights and Munros, I'd go for a full height hiking boot (in my case also salomon).

Used to spec Goretex for everything, but no idea why, cos it never lasts. Mesh Salomon are better in summer.

All the yanks seem to drool over those weird Altra hiking shoes, but I've never worked out if that's because they really are the dog's danglies and everyone that's been hiking for the last century is plain wrong, or if it's just the US mentality for not being able to get enough of something new, or if all the US thru-hikers are sponsored and have to give "honest" reviews. Never seen anyone this side of the pond with them, and never plucked up the courage to actually try them, but I just know they're going to be so odd that I won't like them.
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I've had trouble finding the right boots and have experimented a fair bit.
Finally managed to make some Salewa boots work after a lot of lacing experiments and some blisters when I had it 'wrong'.
This is my tuppence worth for walking in the alps (check my insta pics to see the mix of terrain) :-
Fit comes first with footware so you have to go to a shop and try them.
ANY discomfort you can detect in the shop rules the boot out, it'll be much worse after a few hours walking
As with ski boots get personalised insoles, makes a huge difference over a day
Ankle support is a myth for me BUT protection from banging your ankle on possibly sliding/moving rocks makes the protection worth it over a shoe
Sole stiffness needs to be right for the kind of walking you are doing, something too firm is not comfortable for muddy paths, too flexible is no use for mountain top boulder fields and crampons may not stay put
Finally how adjustable are the boots? I got the Salewa because the lace goes right down towards the toe whereas most leave the toe box unajustable which is no use for my wide forefoot.
And finally finally (who knew there was so much to say about boots?...) lacing makes a big difference. There are lots of ways to lace to check out YT and experiment till you find the one that holds your heel down (no heal blisters) but leaves the foot comfortable.
Now I really am done.
Good luck with the search.
Happy feet!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
hanwag tatra 2 gtx. Most comfortable all day boots I have ever experienced. Used over welsh scrambles an muddy winter hill walks. Not got to the alps with them yet because covid.
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Scarlet wrote:
@milzibkit, how old are the boots? I only ask, because my previous pair were very comfy Berghaus goretex, about 18yrs old. They had been going well, but then on the first hike I did in Austria, completely disintegrated half way around the walk Confused That made for an interesting afternoon!


Had this happen a couple of times.
After a certain time the soles of certain boots disintegrate - not sure if it's the glue or a layer of material in the sole. Once it happened right at the start of an alpine mountain walk so wasn't too bad.
The other time I used some 25 year old (but hardly used) work safety boots to walk to the supermarket. The soles fell off and I ended up walking home with just the boot uppers covering my feet but my socks touching the pavement. Embarassed
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@DB, yeah, that's pretty much what happened. I'd noticed the sole was starting to come away at the sides a little, but normally when this happens, I put some glue on and get another six months' wear, by which point they've probably worn through somewhere else anyway. These ones catastrophically failed, in a way I've never experienced before, and went directly into the bin on my return.

I bought some replacements online but have since found out that one of the sports shops with a big footwear range has a scanning machine to help find a shoe in the right shape/size. I'll definitely give that a go next time, as the Millet ones I bought are not as comfortable as I would like (a bit narrow).
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As with skis a quiver is the answer (all of which should fit your feet).

Extensively walking in the UK (esp. up norf) = leather boots as goretex membranes usually leak after time/use. Leather boots tend to take longer to dry out so if doing multiday trips probably best to invest in a lightweight boot dryer.

For summer prefer a more airy (e.g. mesh) lighter weight boot as sweaty feet can lead to blisters.


http://youtube.com/v/MXc2BsVmseI

If crossing streams in summer - tend to take a lightweight water shoe to change into.

If you are doing steeper stuff / winter conditions probably best to check crampon compatibility.

Failing that, sandals and white socks never fail to impress. wink
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andy wrote:
All the yanks seem to drool over those weird Altra hiking shoes, but I've never worked out if that's because they really are the dog's danglies and everyone that's been hiking for the last century is plain wrong, or if it's just the US mentality for not being able to get enough of something new, or if all the US thru-hikers are sponsored and have to give "honest" reviews. Never seen anyone this side of the pond with them, and never plucked up the courage to actually try them, but I just know they're going to be so odd that I won't like them.


US thru-hiking is quite "faddy" (tho' possibly no more so than skiing!). Sponsorship is vanishingly rare in thru-hiking - when I did the PCT, even the person who set the unsupported record and also completed the first ever thru-hike triple crown of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails end-end in a year had zero sponsorship.

Most people are trying to optimise for very similar constraints, so it's not unusual to 25% of people using the same pack, tent, sleeping bag etc. It's also (just like skiing!) the "easy" way to think you can make things easier/better, rather than working on fitness/technique.

Interestingly, also like skiing, the real pros (the distance/speed record holders) very rarely talk about their gear, or optimise it in the same way. I'm still waiting to hear Chemmy Alcott commentate "oh, if only he'd had an 85 degree edge angle/used a horsehair brush/Fischer skis, he'd have made that turn".

Finally, on trainers - for me, they obviate the need for stream crossing shoes (or camp shoes), or for worrying about waterproofing/goretex etc. They dry out fast enough that its irrelevant.
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snowdave wrote:
Interestingly, also like skiing, the real pros (the distance/speed record holders) very rarely talk about their gear, or optimise it in the same way. I'm still waiting to hear Chemmy Alcott commentate "oh, if only he'd had an 85 degree edge angle/used a horsehair brush/Fischer skis, he'd have made that turn".


LOL - in most sports where the kit is important, the pros obsess about it more than anyone else. I suspect the reason they don't talk about it is so they don't give away their secrets to the opposition
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Streams - either boots and socks off if deep and walk through barefoot (take a microfibre towel in rucksack) or decent goretex/ leather (if treated regularly) boots if water not over top should keep feet dry, that's what they are for, if they leak i'd be getting a replacement pair. Vast majority of the time there's an easy way over a stream with a short diversion, if not boots off is my advice, wet squelchy feet aren't great on long hikes ime. Same with ski boots btw, boots off if deep streams, cuffs leak.
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Arno wrote:
snowdave wrote:
Interestingly, also like skiing, the real pros (the distance/speed record holders) very rarely talk about their gear, or optimise it in the same way. I'm still waiting to hear Chemmy Alcott commentate "oh, if only he'd had an 85 degree edge angle/used a horsehair brush/Fischer skis, he'd have made that turn".


LOL - in most sports where the kit is important, the pros obsess about it more than anyone else. I suspect the reason they don't talk about it is so they don't give away their secrets to the opposition


Yes the skis are often tunned specifically for the left and right foot. (e.g. Hirscher had this done to reduce the chance of him hooking up on the inside edges).
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Walking in Klamms (gorges) during the high summer in the alps is great. Letting the crystal clear water cool your feet in the sweltering summer heat is so relaxing. The river beds are often made up of sharp stones so I take the watershoes which weigh and cost very little (approx €25 on amazon), plus they don't take up much room in the backpack.


http://youtube.com/v/W44yf-eUKMY
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@DB, though the Tiefenbachklamm is much more enjoyable by kayak wink Though in summer it only really has enough water after heavy rain.

Scarlet wrote:
I’m another advocate of fell running shoes. They weigh almost nothing, which can make quite a difference over a long day. I do also have a pair of Goretex low rise boots which I use in winter, but that’s only because my trainers are mesh and about as waterproof as a sieve. My partner replaced his boots with running shoes, but as he went for waterproof ones, his have been fine in winter, sometimes with spikes on. Different pairs for winter and summer/wet and dry is probably the way to go.

Whatever you go for, consider the weight of it anyway.

If you’re walking on rock a lot, then another option is a hybrid/approach shoe with sticky rubber.


Would agree with this, most people around here seem to use heavier duty trail running shoes or approach shoes for most hikes, and boots only at the extremer end if postholing in snow or potentially needing crampons may be on the agenda. Considerations might be different in wetter UK conditions though.
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I've got the Scarpa referenced above. They work fine as a non crampon non rigid sole 3 season boot. The goretex membrane in a leather boot is a revelation to me after years of leather or fabric gtx boots.

The advantage of a boot over a trail shoe/tuff trainer is all about water ingress to me - you just care less about stream crossings and boggy bits.

I've also got some very lairy Montrail ( now part of Columbia) trail shoes. The lairiness means I don't mind them getting muddy as it mutes the neon green colour bits down a bit.
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Haggis_Trap wrote:
Roguevfr wrote:
... there's a great deal of difference between walking on largely waymarked and dryish terrain and hillwalking or hiking through peat hags and rocky terrain or Heather.


^ This...
Low cut trainers are ideal for short walks / fell running and dry terrain.

However you still cant beat leather boots for a proper hill walk up a 3000ft munro (bogs / heather / wet ground / rocky terrain).
Having climbed all the Scottish munros I am still a fan of traditional leather boot with vibram sole.
Though I also own low cut trainers for running in the hills.

For years Brasher were considered the iconic leather boot for UK hills.
Berghaus took them over in 2013 - still probably the best boot for £100-130 (depending on model)...




I have a pair of Brasher boots from about that time. I found them quite lightweight but suitable for Himalayan trekking for example which I did a couple of times with them.

I had the entire sole and heel unit replaced about a year ago for eighty pounds. As the eyelets and leather are in good condition, they feel as good as new again.
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