When Meindl released the Burma Pro in 1997, it was a game-changer – a tough 3-season boot with a multi-piece leather upper and an extremely comfortable lining. For the first time hillwalkers who wanted a stiff boot for rockier mountain trips and year-after-year durability didn’t have to suffer more uncomfortable traditional leather boots. The Meindl Burma Pro was ‘Best in Test’ in Trail for many years, and remains to this day a hallmark of quality.
Now Meindl is replacing it with the Bhutan, which features the hallmarks of the Burma Pro, but with a freshly designed leather upper, a new softer ankle cuff and slick speed lacing eyelets. Tipping the scales at 1812g (pair, size 11), the Bhutan sits comfortably with other full leather boots of its quality while being lighter than the 1948g Burma Pro. The new upper is made from quality leather as in the past, with some restyling to give it a modern appeal. The ankle cuff is nice and high to keep grit out and protect the ankle, but it now has an incredibly soft edge, which means there’s no chance of this rubbing or digging in uncomfortably when traversing slopes and putting lots of pressure on this area. As with the Burma Pro a full rubber rand encloses the boot for maximum long-term durability, and there’s good stiffness in the toe box and heel cup to further protect the foot.
The sole unit remains the same with deep lugs to bite into mud and good spacing to prevent clogging. The sole flex is nice and firm for spending all day on loose rock.
I’ve been trying lighter boots recently in an attempt to find a pair that are genuinely durable, but without success. By contrast putting on the Bhutan is like returning to an old friend. The fit feels slightly closer than the Burma Pro, so I don’t need the volume adjuster I always wore in that model; instead the Bhutan hugs my feet. There’s a huge amount of stability underfoot, yet the toe flex is smooth enough to allow an easy walking action. Memory foam system (MFS) cushioning is also tremendous, and more than capable of taking the fatigue out of walking over rocky ground or descending all afternoon.
What’s not to like? At £190 the Meindl Bhutan MFS is not a casual purchase; but it’s a similar price to other models of similar quality, and when compared with boots that are lower in price you are getting far more long-term performance. So it’s an investment, and ultimately a great way to save money.
Upper nubuck waxed leather, Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole Vibram double density
Sizes 6-12 (men’s); 3-9 (women’s)
Weight 1812g (pair, size 11)
Made in Germany
In all but name the Meindl Bhutan MFS is a refined version of the Meindl Burma Pro, so I would expect it to continue to hold its place as the standard-bearer for comfortable and durable hillwalking performance.
Review by Graham Thompson
Published in Trail magazine Spring 2014