5 of the best... 3-4 season boots reviewed (2018)

Stiff enough to wear with crampons on snow, yet flexible enough to be comfy below the snowline on scree, rock and mountain paths, 3-4 season boots are the most versatile you can buy. Let’s check out five of the best...


FIT

No boot is worth having if it doesn’t fit your feet properly. The inside of the boot should be around 13-15mm longer than your foot, which you can gauge by putting on the boot without the laces tightened up and then placing your forefinger down the inside of the boot at the heel. The upper should be snug and comfortable across the foot. Better outdoor stores will measure your feet and match you to the correct footwear.

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ANKLE CUFF

The ankle cuff helps prevent mud and grit from entering the boot. It also protects the ankle against scrapes on rocks. Stiffness in the ankle cuff reduces the strain on the ankle on slopes and scrambling by adding extra support, which makes it less tiring to wear on rockier ground or snow. But on easier ground, smooth paths and moorland, ankle support is less important. Some also prefer the freedom and easier ankle movement of boots with lower or softer ankle cuffs.

DURABILITY

If you want your boots to last as long as possible, look for uppers with minimal stitching and a rubber rand at the toe box. For maximum durability look for a rubber rand that encloses the whole boot. Durable designs are most important for those regularly heading out onto rockier ground and ice-covered mountains, but less important if you walk less often in the hills or tend to stick to paths or moorland walks.

CRAMPON COMPATIBILITY

Not all boots are designed to be used with crampons, due to the stiffness of the sole and flexibility of the upper. Crampons are not generally recommended for 3-season boots, but flexible crampons rated as C1 can be fitted to 3-4 season boots, while stiffer crampons rated as C2 can be fitted to 4-season boots.

MIDSOLE STIFFNESS

Grab the boot by the toe and heel and bend the toe towards the heel, then twist the toe while holding the heel stationary. The harder it is to bend the boot in these two directions, the stiffer the midsole is and the better the boot will perform on snow and ice, and be compatible with crampons.

OUTSOLE LUGS

Deep, widely-spaced lugs will bite into soft mud and snow without clogging, while also providing many years of wear before they are too shallow to give a good grip on soft ground. A heel breast between the forefoot lugs and heel of the sole adds valuable braking power on descents.


Asolo Lagazuoi £210

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  • Men’s 6-13

  • Women’s 4-9

  • Weight 1722g (size 11)

It's good

This is a very well-priced boot for what you get, and it’s also lighter than others. The upper is 2.2-2.4mm nubuck leather with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining, and this is protected by a full rubber rand for more durability. Underfoot you get a Vibram sole unit with deep, well- spaced lugs and a deep heel breast for grip in soft terrain. Sole stiffness is also good both laterally and toe-to-heel, so this makes the boot great for scrambles and edging on snow. The ankle cuff is slightly softer than some other boots, so you get slightly more comfort when walking below the snowline than stiffer boots. So all that for less cash and less weight is pretty impressive.

However

Both the upper and ankle cuff are a little softer than on other boots, and this means your foot has to work a little harder on more uneven terrain, but of course this is not a drawback on easier ground. Some boots have a little less stitching on the upper and it is likely that they will be more durable in the long-term, so really hard users may benefit from looking elsewhere. The toe box is quite narrow and shallow, and while this fitted my narrow, pointy feet well, and felt great for scrambling, those with wider feet may feel this is too restrictive.

Verdict

A relatively low-weight and low-priced boot that offers great 3-4 season performance, with only small benefits available to those that spend more.

  • Features

  • Fit

  • Comfort

  • In use

  • Value for money

  • OVERALL SCORE

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Alt-Berg Mallerstang £215

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  • Men’s 5-14, with five width fittings

  • Women’s n/a

  • Weight 1982g (size 11)

It's good

The size range and width fitting options set this boot apart from many, so this is a great option if you are struggling with fit. It’s a classic design using 3mm-thick leather that is virtually stitch-free, so there is little chance of water getting in or abrasion having too much impact. However, you do also get a Sympatex waterproof lining to manage any leaks. The outsole sports an exceptionally deep set of lugs and towering heel breast, making this ideal for getting grip in scree, snow or mud. The sole is well stiffened too, so again it is great on more challenging terrain. To allow easier walking the toe does flex more easily than some.

However

There is no women’s version, although the size range and width options mean there is a good chance this will fit many women. You don’t get a full rubber rand, so really hard users may prefer others for even more durability. Although the weight is similar to others, this does feel a little less precise on the foot when scrambling, and the foot feels further from the holds too, so others are nicer for delicate footwork. That slightly soft toe flex also means this is not quite as good as others for edging on snow or rock steps. A great boot for rough terrain though.

Verdict

The width fitting options and the stable performance on rough ground put this boot a step ahead, but others are better for more precise footwork.

  • Features

  • Fit

  • Comfort

  • In use

  • Value for money

  • OVERALL SCORE


Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX £240

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  • Men’s 37-49

  • Women’s n/a

  • Weight 2040g (size 46)

It's good

Designed with a wide last, so it should fit those with wider feet better than some other designs. The boot features a very robust Hydrobloc waxed full grain leather upper, which offers plenty of durability and weather protection. You also get a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a wide rubber rand for even more protection. The outsole is a Vibram unit with very deep and widely-spaced lugs that are great for biting into soft ground. Lateral stiffness of the sole is good, making this great for scrambles, scree and edging on snow. But you also get a little more softness during forward flexing, which will suit those looking for more comfort below the snowline.

However

That softer forward flex means you have to work a little harder on scrambles or snow slopes than slightly stiffer and more supportive boots. Also the forefoot and toe don’t feel quite as precise as some other models, so while good for easier scrambles, others are nicer when the holds need a little more careful foot placement. It is slightly heavier than some boots that are stiffer, and when this is added to the other drawbacks it just feels slightly less precise. There is no women’s version either.

Verdict

A great mountain walking and backpacking boot for rough terrain and easier snow slopes, but others are slightly better on more technical ground.

  • Features

  • Fit

  • Comfort

  • In use

  • Value for money

  • OVERALL SCORE


Scarpa SL Activ £250

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  • Men’s 41-50

  • Women’s n/a

  • Weight 1918g (size 46)

It's good

For its 80th anniversary, Scarpa has produced the ninth version of the SL. This latest makeover brings a closer heel hold and a leather lining inside the ankle cuff, as well as some weight shaving. The weight reduction comes from the use of a new mono-density outsole for more cushioning underfoot. The upper is still a supportive leather design, but with little extra forward flex at the top of the ankle cuff thanks to two fingers of leather rather than a solid panel. Lacing eyelets have been upgraded too. You still get great stiffness and support for years of durability in this boot.

However

Female hillwalkers still have to look for other Scarpa boots to meet their B1 needs, such as the Marmolada Pro at £235, which may favour some users as it does have a waterproof lining, which is something the Scarpa SL cannot claim. However leaks are few, as there is barely a stitch to allow water through and if treated, the thick leather will fend off water easily. The weight has come down but there are still lighter boots, though those generally don’t provide the durability or support of the SL. Others can be yours for less cash, but they don’t always offer the benefits of the SL.

Verdict

The birthday boy gets another welcome makeover, which should ensure the SL maintains its popularity. But still nothing for the girls...

  • Features

  • Fit

  • Comfort

  • In use

  • Value for money

  • OVERALL SCORE

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Salewa Raven 2 £250

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  • Men’s 6-13

  • Women’s 3-9

  • Weight 1866g (size 46)

It's good

This is lighter than other boots with its support, but you still get plenty of stiffness in the sole to allow it to perform really well when scrambling or edging on snow slopes. The ankle cuff is a little more supportive than others too, so again this is great when tackling slopes or scrambling up rock. The very deep lugs are well spaced to bite into softer ground, gravel and scree. The fit is slightly unusual as it is quite broad in the forefoot and very close around the heel and ankle cuff, and then you get a choice of footbeds to refine the volume. The upper has a full rubber rand for protection and a Gore-Tex waterproof lining.

However

The upper has some exposed seams and softer materials. This may be the weak point in the design if this boot is used too much on the kind of rough terrain on which it excels in many other ways. The ankle cuff is also higher than others, which makes it superb for more technical ground but when walking up snowy Munros you may value just a little more freedom of movement in this area. The upper materials tend to bunch up at the lower eyelets and this area may more easily allow grit and abrasion to take their toll. These are all tiny points but at this price point they are worth considering.

Verdict

A lighter 3-4 season boot with a more supportive ankle cuff, though durability of the upper could be a potential drawback for harder users.

  • Features

  • Fit

  • Comfort

  • In use

  • Value for money

  • OVERALL SCORE


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Test of the Best: 3-Season Walking boots review (2018)


Is it worth paying more for a top quality 3-season boot? We reviewed boots with price tags from £175 to £250 to find what benefits they offer.

Ankle Cuff

To reduce weight and price of footwear the ankle cuff may be cut quite low in some boots. However, this can be a false economy, as a lower ankle cuff more easily allows water, mud and debris to enter the boot while also providing less ankle support to the foot, which means your foot has to work harder on more uneven ground.

Upper

A traditional leather upper, made with minimal stitching, will last for many years if cared for well – and will probably outlast the grip on the sole. Conversely, an upper that is made of lots of synthetic fabric, mesh and thin strips of suede leather is unlikely to be as durable– due to extra stitching – and often tends to be slow drying.

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Midsole Flex

Grab the boot by the toe and heel and bend them together to test longitudinal stiffness, and then twist the sole to test lateral stiffness. A more flexible sole flex is better for comfort on level ground, while a stiffer sole flex is more comfortable on rockier ground and also allows a more precise use of small footholds when scrambling over rockier ground.

Toe Box

To protect the foot from stray boulders, a stiffened toe box is important. You can test this by pressing the top of the area where your toes will be in the boot.

Rand

To enhance durability on rockier ground, a rubber rand may be added at the toe. On the most durable designs, this rubber rand extends around the whole of the boot, between the sole and the upper.

Outsole

Well-spaced deep lugs can bite into soft ground without clogging. A deep heel breast – the step between the heel and midfoot area of the sole unit – is vital for providing braking power in descents.


Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX £190

  • Men’s 7-13
  • Women’s 4-9
  • Weight 1584g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This boot is lighter than most others in this category and has a little more flexibility in the ankle cuff and sole unit too, which adds up to this being better than many others here for walking. The upper is made from suede leather, with some synthetic materials in the tongue, there’s a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside and a full rubber rand on the outside to increase durability. Underfoot, you get a very aggressive sole with a good heel breast and deep lugs. On the foot, this feels great as the ankle cuff and softer sole flex all make walking very comfortable. But the sole has good lateral stiffness too, so it scrambles well on easier rocky routes.

However

The Salewa’s upper is quite soft and flexible, so this forces your foot to work a little harder on more uneven terrain – which may take some getting used to. Stray boulders impacting the top of the foot are more noticeable in this boot compared to one with a stiffer upper. The fabric tongue, and the upper in general, may also wear out sooner on rockier ground than boots with leather in this area or with less stitching. So, for me, this boot is probably best used for general trekking here in the UK or abroad, over a range of path types, rather than too much dedicated use on very rocky ground.

Verdict

An interesting mix of a very good sole unit for mixed path use, as well as a softer and more flexible upper for comfort when walking.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

Asolo Greenwood GV £190

  • Men’s 6-13.5
  • Women’s 3.5-9
  • Weight 1514g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

New for 2018, this boot replaces the popular Asolo Tribe. First, check out the weight, as this boot is lighter than most at this price point. The upper is made from Perwanger leather, with minimal stitching, and there is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. There is a rubber rand at the toe and good stiffness in the upper for general hill and mountain walking. The outsole is an Asolo Vibram Duo Radiant design with a very deep heel breast and good sole lugs for softer ground. On the foot, this boot feels noticeably lighter and more dexterous than others, and easier to place on small footholds when scrambling. The toe-to-heel flex is good and this feels good for walking.

However

The toe area is slightly narrower than some, which is great when scrambling, but you may want a little more room here. If I was being picky, I would say some higher-priced boots flex slightly more smoothly across the forefoot area, but this is a tiny difference. Higher-priced boots do often have a full rubber rand and the upper on some other boots is softer against the foot, too. So, this boot may lose out on overall comfort, and potentially on durability, but it’s a small drawback when you look at the price and weight benefit. For most British hill and mountain walkers I think this offers an excellent package of benefits. 

Verdict

The weight and performance is very good for general hillwalking. So, at this price point, it is a superb option but pay more and there may be additional benefits.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 92%
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Mammut Trovat Advanced High GTX £199

  • Men’s 7-12
  • Women’s 4-8.5
  • Weight 1776g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

A well-established boot that for has provided the right goods for hillwalking over rougher terrain for some years. The upper is nubuck leather with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and this is well stiffened for support and protection on rougher rocky ground. A rubber rand at the toe and heel adds further durability. The outsole is Vibram with a good set of deep lugs and a heel breast. On the foot, this has a closer fit around the toe than others and it feels quite good for scrambling. The ankle cuff is a little stiffer than on other boots too, so it feels more supportive on scree slopes. So a good boot for scree and rougher terrain.

However

Some others are lighter, have a slightly smoother roll when walking and feel a little more dexterous when scrambling, giving this a slightly clumpier feel on the foot by comparison. Also the toe area is offering a slightly closer fit around the foot, so some wider-footed people may prefer those with more space in this area particularly for walking rather than scrambling. Some higher-priced models have a full rubber rand and less stitching on the upper, which may promote even more durability for the hardiest of users. Mammut does offer the excellent Trovat Guide High (£219), with a full rubber rand, but also more sole stiffness. All in all, there’s not a lot wrong here, but there are some small details to consider.

Verdict

Solid performance on rock and scree mountain terrain, but lighter and more flexible boots are available.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

La Sportiva Trango Trek Leather £200

  • Men’s 41-48
  • Women’s 37-42
  • Weight 1714g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

A unique welded upper construction keeps weight down and, potentially, durability up. There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a rubber rand at the toe for durability. The sole unit is a very stiff Vibram Mulaz unit with very deep lugs and an aggressive heel breast, so this is great for grip in mud and softer terrain. The ankle cuff benefits from an exceptionally soft forward and lateral flex compared to others, which makes walking far more comfortable and scrambling easier. The close-fitting toe area is particularly good for scrambling, as it allows more precise foot placement and, when combined with the stiff sole and easy ankle movement, this is great when used on rocky via ferrata-style terrain.

However

The toe box is a little snug, so broad-footed hillwalkers – or those that just like more wiggle room – may prefer different boots. The outsole is pretty stiff, and while this is great on rockier ground, if you are walking on easier terrain then a more bendy boot will suit you better – with the additional benefit of less weight and a lower price. One slight concern is that the fabric tongue extends to the toe, so this area may be less durable compared to other boots when used on scree and rock regularly. Some people may also prefer a stiffer lateral flex in the ankle area than is offered here. 

Verdict

Superb ankle flex, combined with a welded upper, make this boot ideal for rockier scrambles and via ferrata routes.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX £200

  • Men’s 38-49
  • Women’s 36-43
  • Weight 1756g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This boot is stiffer than many others in this price range, making it particularly suitable for scrambles and rockier walks. The full-grain leather upper has minimal stitching for maximum durability and there is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. The sole has good, well-spaced lugs for general walking, as well as a good heel breast for grips during descents. This is a stiff boot, but it still feels great when walking on the level, due to a curvature of the sole that allows a reasonably natural roll from heel to toe – while the ankle cuff flexes forward a little, too. This is superb for walking over typically rocky British mountains and ideal for scrambles, as it feels precise on the foot.

However

The toe is a little neater and closer fitting than on some boots, which is great for scrambling. But those who are more walking-oriented will probably prefer boots with a slightly wider toe area. There is no rubber rand, so those who want maximum durability for very regular jaunts onto rocks and scree may prefer others. These boots are slightly heavier than some others too – due to the extra stiffness. Of course, if you are not tackling rockier ground then boots with a softer ankle cuff and softer sole flex are all you need – with the benefit of less weight, a cheaper price tag and more comfort.

Verdict

Excellent boot for scrambling and rockier terrain, but it has no rubber rand and other boots are slightly better away from the rocks.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

Scarpa Trek GTX £200

  • Men’s 40-48
  • Women’s 36-42
  • Weight 1684g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

Built around a low-volume last for a closer fit, the Trek has a 1.8mm nubuck leather upper with minimal stitching on the outside to improve durability as well as a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside to maintain dry feet. You get a rubber rand that fully encloses the boot, too. The sole is a Vibram Biometric Fly unit with deep, well-spaced lugs and a good heel breast. The sole flex between toe and heel is good for rockier ground, and the sole also resists pressure from jagged rocks well. We also liked the slightly more precise fit on this boot around the toe – it made scrambling a little easier and neater when placing the foot. 

However

This is not the lightest model around, so if you don’t need all that durability and stiffness you can definitely get lighter boots. Also, if you are not going to be heading onto rocky ground regularly you could choose a boot without a rubber rand, which would be lower in price and lighter. As with any boot that is stiff enough for rocky ground, if you walk on moors or paths then you will find boots with a softer flex more comfortable, of course, until you hit the rocks. So, something like a Scarpa Ranger at £180 may be all you need if you plan on backpacking over paths, rather than regularly clambering over rocks. 

Verdict

An excellent general-purpose hill and mountain trekking, and scrambling, boot that is great for regular use on rockier terrain.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 92%
 

Alt-Berg Nordkapp £205

  • Men’s 4-14
  • Women’s none
  • Weight 1670g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This boot has remained the same price for a couple of years now, which is impressive in the current climate. Equally impressive is the weight when you realise what you are getting. This boot has a nubuck leather upper, without much stitching, so durability is good. But you also get a full rubber rand for even more abrasion resistance and, inside, you get a Sympatex waterproof lining to ensure dry feet. The sole is a Vibram Masai unit with good lugs for grip. There is a nice rolling action on the foot, making easier ground comfortable, but also plenty of stiffness for rockier ground. This is great for tackling rockier routes on Lakeland fells, Scottish Munros and Welsh 3000ers. 

However

There is no women’s version,of this boot, but it does come in a good size range, from 4 to 14. While this boot does roll exceptionally well with the foot, from toe to heel, and the toe box is very spacious, it doesn’t feel quite as neat and precise as others might when scrambling over rock. So, if you’re planning to do a lot,of scrambling, these boots may not be,your best bet. While this is a relatively lightweight model, you could go for an,even lighter boot if you don’t really need the impressive stiffness and durability on offer here – and this would save you cash at the checkout, too. 

Verdict

Superb for general mountain walking over rockier ground with an excellent heel to toe rolling action, but others are more precise on scrambles.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Meindhl Bhutan £210

  • Men’s 6-14
  • Women’s 3.5-9
  • Weight 1794g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

The Bhutan is a popular boot that replaced the classic Meindl Burma back in 2014. It is a very solid boot with a little more stiffness in the sole than some lower-priced options, making it better for rockier ground. The upper features nubuck leather, with Gore-Tex waterproof protection, and there is lots of padding inside for more comfort against the foot. A full rubber rand provides even more protection on scree and rockier routes. Underfoot, a Vibram sole, with deep lugs, and a good heel breast help keep a decent grip. This is a well-proven and very popular boot for regular trips to rockier British mountains. 

However

This boot is heavier than other others in this category and it also feels a little less precise and neat on the foot – so, when scrambling over rocks, it feels a bit more clumpy, in general, than some of its competitors. There is also slightly more stiffness in the sole than in other boots, here – which is great on rockier ground but, obviously, if you are tramping across moorland or sticking to well-trodden paths for the most part, a boot with a softer flex will provide all your needs. It would also give the benefit of less weight on the foot and be quite a bit cheaper. It’s still a great boot, but there are other models that are starting to show some desirable benefits.

Verdict

A popular boot for regular jaunts over rockier ground – but new trends towards lightness and dexterity are starting to challenge its dominance.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Arc'teryx Bora Mid GTX £250

  • Men’s 6.5-13
  • Women’s 3.5-10
  • Weight 1376g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

Boot design is changing rapidly, with lower weights the norm and ankle cuff design becoming more and more flexible. The Bora Mid GTX pushes the term ‘lightweight’ to new levels, with this super-light boot. Inside, your foot sits within a Gore-Tex sock which is fixed to the outer shell, while the outside is made of synthetic PU-coated materials and features a rubber rand. The sole features Vibram for grip and the result is unparalleled forward flex and dexterity underfoot, but with the sort of performance you’d expect from, say, a boot priced at £175 or above. Very impressive. The outer is also very durable as there is no stitching, and the mesh and PU-coated materials feel very durable.

However

The toe box and sole flex are softer than other 3-season boots in this price band – and the sole flexes when standing on jagged rocks, so comfort is not ideal on rock. But the lateral stiffness is good, so it’s useful when scrambling. Compared to other boots, it doesn’t have the deepest sole lugs or most pronounced heel breast. Then there is that Gore-Tex sock liner – it is too early to say how durable it will prove to be, so the jury is out on that for the moment. Water can get between the liner and the shell easily, which feels cold, but it does pump out while walking. The price is painfully high though.

Verdict

The low weight, flexible ankle cuff and durable outer shell are major benefits, but the price and potential durability of the sock liner are concerns.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 2/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Alt-Berg Mallerstang (2015)

Features

The 2.8mm one-piece leather upper has almost no stitching so it is durable and very water-resistant, but you also get a Sympatex waterproof lining for even more protection. There’s no rand, but for most walkers this won’t be a problem. The ankle cuff is as high as the highest here, while the lugs are very deep and widely spaced with a huge heel breast. 5/5

Fit

There is no specific women’s version, but as the Alt-Berg Mallerstang comes in five width fittings and sizes 5 to 12½ it is likely to fit both men and women more easily than some others. The Mallerstang had a good general fit on my foot but others feel a little more precise than this, though of course different width fittings will improve that fit. 5/5

Comfort

The ankle cuff is higher than some and slightly more restrictive in the forward flex position, so whether you like the Alt-Berg Mallerstang or not will depend on how much forward support you want. For walking it is not quite so good, but it is great for climbing. The foot sits higher above the ground than others so it feels a little less stable. 4/5

In use

That deep lug pattern and heel breast make the Alt-Berg Mallerstang ideal for use on snow in terms of grip. It does not feel quite as precise as others when walking or scrambling, though, so it feels slightly more ‘clumpy’ than is ideal. The flex at the toe is quite soft, allowing a natural walking action – although a little more stiffness would be good on snow. 4/5

Value

This boot is very well-priced and it is hard to justify paying more for the small benefits you might gain. 5/5

Verdict

The Alt-Berg Mallerstang is a great choice for winter hillwalking in the British mountains. It would be hard to justify paying more. 4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine December 2015

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Alt-Berg Tethera (2015)

Features

Built from one piece of Anfibio leather so there is no stitching until you reach the flex point of the boot, the Alt-Berg Tethera is exceptionally durable and weather-resistant. But you also get a Sympatex waterproof lining, a rubber rand and lots of stiffness in the upper and sole unit for rockier ground. The Vibram sole has deep, widely spaced lugs for traction in mud. 5/5

Fit

Available in 7½-14 for men and 3½-8½ for women with five width fittings, this boot should fit everyone! On the foot it feels snug and precise with a comforting amount of cushioning all around the foot. The ankle cuff is average height with good cushioning, and once all laced up this boot fitted my foot closely. 5/5

Comfort

Straight from the box there are no pressure points, and the Alt-Berg Tethera just hugs the foot. There is good cushioning around and under the foot, and while the ankle cuff is more supportive than some it is also soft against the foot. The sole has a stiff flex but it rolls nicely to allow a smooth stride from heel to toe on every step. 5/5

In use

The Alt-Berg Tethera feels great for climbing Munros and bagging rockier Lakeland fells. At 1704g (pair, size 11) it is lighter than some competitors, but it feels slightly more cumbersome on the foot and less precise than the best boot here, although you only notice that if you try each on side by side. The outsole grip is superb and the stiffness is ideal for rockier ground. 4/5

Value

The Alt-Berg Tethera is a top-quality leather boot and this is reflected in the price. It competes well with others around £190-200. 3/5

Verdict

The Alt-Berg Tethera is simply one of the best 3-season hill and mountain walking boots around. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine May 2015

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Alt-Berg Mallerstang (2014)

Features

With a one-piece 2.8mm leather upper and a Sympatex waterproof lining, the Alt-Berg Mallerstang provides superb protection for the foot without fear of stitching fraying or the boot leaking. There’s no rand, but for most walkers this won’t be a problem. The outsole lugs are 6mm deep and widely spaced with a 15mm deep heel breast for traction. 5/5

Fit

This comes in five width fittings and sizes 5 to 12.5 so while there is no specific women’s version it is likely that the narrower-width fittings will suit most females. This felt higher-volume than some other boots here and had a good general fit to my foot, but others feel a little more precise on the foot. The ankle cuff is a similar height to others. 5/5

Comfort

The ankle cuff is not perhaps quite as comfortable in the forward flex position as some other options. Also as this boot sits higher above the ground than others it feels a little less stable on the foot too, which adds the impression that some others feel slightly nicer on the foot. But it has a soft toe flex that adds to the comfort. 4/5

In use

On soft snow the Alt-Berg Mallerstang offers unrivalled grip, thanks to that extremely aggressive pattern of lugs on the sole. It is not as precise as others for climbing or scrambling, though, and feels a little ‘clumpy’ in those situations. When walking the flex at the toe is quite soft, allowing a natural gait; but more toe stiffness would be good on steep snow. 4/5

Value

The price is exceptionally good for what you get, making the  an attractive option. 5/5

Verdict

The Alt-Berg Mallerstang is an ideal boot for hillwalking in snow if you can’t quite stretch your cash any further.

4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2014

www.altberg.co.uk

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Alt-Berg Malham (2014)

Based in Yorkshire, Alt-Berg is the master of refining the traditional leather boot into something that meets the needs of the 21st century regular hillwalker. To that end the Malham weighs in at just 1478g (pair, size 11), which is remarkable when you consider that this is a leather boot offering great performance. So you get a leather upper with minimal stitching, which should mean this boot will last for many years to come. There is a rubber rand to add extra protection too. The toe box and heel cup both provide good support, and the upper is stiff enough to allow decent comfort even on rough terrain. The ankle cuff is exceptionally soft so it’s great at keeping debris out and protecting the ankle without being too restrictive. Underfoot there’s a very aggressive outsole with deep and well-spaced lugs, and this is combined with good stiffness for general walking on a wide variety of terrain. On the foot the Malham feels very comfortable, which is no doubt due to the A-forme last that Alt-Berg has recently developed. There are other Alt-Berg boots that have higher ankle cuffs, offer even more durability and are better for rockier ground. But for general hill and moorland walking as well as mountain walks where minimal weight is a priority the Malham will prove a superb all-round boot for many.

Specifications:

Upper materials full-grain leather

Waterproof lining Sympatex

Sole unit Vibram New Tsavo Micro

Men’s sizes 7.5-14

Women’s sizes 3-9

Weight 1478g (pair, size 11)

Website www.altberg.co.uk

Verdict

Traditional in style but modern in performance, the Alt-Berg Malham is a superb general valley, moor and hillwalking boot at a remarkable weight for leather.

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine May 2014

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Alt-Berg Mallerstang (2013)

The Alt-Berg Mallerstang comes in five width fittings, so if you're struggling to get a pair of boots to fit, this is one to investigate more closely. It's also a great price and the performance is up there with the best. It's a well-established boot that’s built around a one-piece leather upper for durability. The ankle cuff is high enough to provide good support, but is also extremely comfortable. The outsole is a very aggressive unit with deep lugs that are widely spaced and ideal for gripping soft mud, scree or snow. The depth of the lugs also means the sole isn’t going to wear smooth anywhere near as quickly as other shallow-lugged boots, so you'll get many years of use. The Alt-Berg Mallerstang’s performance on rock isn't quite as precise as that of some other boots, but it’s great for general walking on snow, with or without crampons, and performs well below the snowline. Higher-priced boots have advantages in climbing or mountaineering performance, and some are lighter, but there isn’t much not to like here for general mountain walking. There’s no official female version, but with five width fittings and a size range from 5 to 13.5, it will fit many women.

Upper materials 2.8mm full-grain leather

Waterproof lining Sympatex

Sole unit Vibram Ice Trak

Women’s sizes none

Men’s sizes 5-13.5 (plus 5 width fittings)

Weight 1986g (pair, size 11)

Website www.altberg.co.uk

Verdict

The Alt-Berg Mallerstang is a good price for an all-round 3-4 season boot that has the potential to fit most users due to its five width fittings.

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2013

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Alt-berg Lady Tethera (2012)

Designed for the British female foot with an incredible choice of five different width fittings in each half-size. The Tetheras have been specifically designed to be used in the high Lakeland fells and the Munros of Scotland. They’re very stiff and feel rather unwieldy on low-level walks, and they don’t grip well on soft, steep ground as the contact patch at the toe is so small. They have a chunky Vibram sole which provides good shock absorption and grip on rock, and the high, soft ankle cuff will help prevent any sprained ankles. A Sympatex waterproof membrane helps keep water out although this plus the thick leather uppers makes them quite hot. 

Sizes: UK 4½-8½
Upper: 2.6mm full-grain Anfibio leather
Waterproof/breathable lining: Sympatex membrane
Sole: Vibram.
Weight: 1,250g
Contact: www.altberg.co.uk
; 01748 850615


Alt-Berg Mallerstang (2012)

If you are struggling to get a pair of boots that fit then check out the Alt-Berg range, as most models are available in five width fittings. The Mallerstang will not only fit well due to these width options but also it is built to tackle a wide range of terrain. So you get a one-piece 2.8mm anfibio leather upper and a high ankle cuff with good stiffness to support and protect the foot in many conditions. That high ankle cuff also helps keep snow, slush and rubble from entering the boot. The outsole is a very aggressive Vibram unit with exceptionally deep lugs to provide a good grip in snow and mud, and as it is so deep it will take many years to wear smooth. You do not get a rubber rand (but only extremely hard users will need to worry about that) and also the foot is quite high above the ground on each step, so it does not feel quite as precise and stable as some other options. There’s no women’s version of the Alt-Berg Mallerstang, but the five width fittings mean this has the potential to fit some females better than other boots.

Upper materials full-grain leather
Waterproof lining Sympatex
Sole unit Vibram Ice Trak
Women’s sizes none
Men’s sizes 5-13.5
Weight 2090g (pair, size 11)
Website
www.altberg.co.uk

 

The verdict
The Alt-Berg Mallerstang is a good value 3-4 season boot that is durable, functional and ideal for most British mountain walks throughout the year.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2012


Alt-Berg Fremington (2012)

Renowned for offering a choice of five width fittings as standard, Alt-Berg is a great choice for those of us with anything other than ‘standard’ feet (ie extra narrow or wide). Offering this option means a snug fit for your foot shape, and I noticed immediately after being measured that this boot felt like it was made for my foot. When it comes to durability the Alt-Berg Fremington is outstanding – it’s a single piece of leather with little stitching. Add to it the Sympatex lining, and your feet have a very good chance of staying dry. The heel and toe boxes are both the stiffest here, offering maximum support and protection no matter what terrain you’re walking on. The outsole is very stiff – the least flexible of all here – making your feet less tired compared to very bendy boots while still giving a good rocking action. The lugs are deep and well-spaced, offering good grip with little debris build-up. However this stiffness and durability come at the expense of weight, and it’s not surprising to note that these are the heaviest boots on test at 1341g (pair). The Alt-Berg Fremingtons are also are less cushioned than other boots in our test, and they have an noticeably low ankle cuff, which, though padded, takes some getting used to.

Weight 1341g (pair, size 6.5)
Upper materials full-grain anfibio leather
Waterproof lining Sympatex waterproof membrane
Sole unit Vibram/PU rubber
Women’s sizes 3.5-8.5
Men’s sizes 7-13.5
Website www.altberg.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Alt-Berg Fremington is a traditional-looking walking boot that’s built to last and is perfect for those with very wide or very narrow feet.

 

Review by Phoebe Smith

First published in Trail magazine August 2012

 


Alt-Berg Mallerstang 2011

If there is one manufacturer that is able to make boots fit everyone then it has to be Alt-Berg. Thanks to their five width fittings it should be easier to get an Alt-Berg boot to fit than any other brand I know. The Mallerstang is only available in a men’s version, however, so half the population will have to miss out. The boot is made from a one-piece 2.8mm anfibio (full-grain) leather upper with good stiffness to support and protect the foot. Then there is a good, high ankle cuff for protection, support and to keep slush out. Underfoot there is a very aggressive Vibram sole unit, which has very deep lugs, meaning this boot should provide grip for many years to come. Unlike some other boots we looked at it also has a waterproof lining, to keep feet dry. Not a lot wrong here, although I did feel that the Scarpa SL Activ placed my foot closer to the ground and provided a slightly more stable platform. But of course the Alt-Berg Mallerstang may fit you better. You don’t get a rubber rand, but only extremely hard users need worry about that.

Upper materials full-grain leather
Waterproof lining Sympatex
Sole unit Vibram Ice Trak
Women’s sizes none
Men’s sizes 5-13.5
Weight 2080g (pair, size 11)
Website www.altberg.co.uk

The perfect option if you are struggling with fit, but the Alt-Berg Mallerstang is also great if you want a good-value waterproof boot that will last for years.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2011


Alt-Berg Fremington

These are available in five width fittings in every size (both full and half), so you’re bound to find a pair that fits. They are really worth a look if you’ve got very narrow or wide feet. The ladies model is slightly more flexible underfoot than the men’s version, although they’re still stiff enough to cope with some fairly rugged terrain. They’re quite traditional-looking boots, with full-grain leather uppers, a soft, supportive ankle cuff which is cut low at the back, and a chunky sole. Their fairly stiff midsole means they’ll cope well with rugged terrain and long days in the hills, with great shock absorption and a sole that grips well on all surfaces.  

VITAL STATS

Sizes: 3½–8½
Upper: 2.4mm full-grain anfibio leather
Membrane: Sympatex
Sole: Vibram/ PU rubber dual-density
Weight: 1,150g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 01748 850615; www.altberg.co.uk
*Review from Country Walking magazine, October 2011

 


Alt-Berg Tethera 2011

The Alt-Berg Tethera is very much a traditional hill-walking boot. The upper is built from one piece of leather, so there is no stitching to fray over time. Behind the upper is a Sympatex waterproof lining, so dry feet are virtually guaranteed even if you don’t treat the leather well. Further durability comes from the rubber rand, which extends around the whole boot for maximum protection on rockier ground. The upper, toe box and heel cup are all very supportive, so again this is great for rockier fells. Underfoot you get a Vibram sole with an aggressive pattern of lugs for a great grip with minimal clogging, thanks to the lugs being widely spaced. On top of that the boot is available in five width fittings and it’s made in the UK.  But as it is built to last and built to tackle the hardest hill and mountain terrain, it is heavier than lesser boots. Equally the traditional style may not match everyone’s idea of looking good on the hills. While the Alt-Berg Tethera is a very durable option, if you don’t get to the hills much then it may be more boot than you really need.

Upper one-piece full-grain leather upper; Sympatex waterproof lining
Sole Vibram dual density sole, PU cushioning
Sizes 7-13 (men’s); 4½-8½ (women’s)
Weight 1708g (pair, size 11)
Made in UK
Stores in the UK 30

The Alt-Berg Tethera is a superb, durable boot for those who head to the rockier hills regularly and want long term performance, rather than short term fashion, weight or price benefits.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2011


Alt-Berg Mallerstang II 2010

Alt-Berg has been making boots in the UK since 1989; but more importantly these boots come in five width fittings and can even be made to measure (at extra cost), so there is no reason for a poor fit if you invest in Alt-Berg footwear. The Mallerstang II is a classic 3-4 season hill and mountain boot. The  2.8mm one-piece leather upper is built to take the knocks, while a Sympatex waterproof lining ensures you keep your feet dry. The high ankle cuff provides plenty of support, and the extremely aggressive Vibram sole is ideal for rough scree as well as snow and crampon use on easier icy terrain. This is a superb boot for general hill-walking, and it’s very comfortable too thanks to the good rolling action of the sole. But it is hard to fault the Alt-Berg Mallerstang II, but there are lighter boots around. There is no rubber rand, so if you are an extremely hard user, then you may want a boot with more protection. The styling is traditional and perhaps less ‘sexy’ than some multi-coloured fabric options, if appearances are important to you.

Upper 2.8mm anfibio leather, Sympatex waterproof lining
Sole Vibram Ice Trek dual density sole
Sizes 5-13½ in five width fittings
Crampon compatibility B1
Weight 1984g (pair, size 11)
Made in UK
Stores in the UK 28

The Alt-Berg Mallerstang II is a superb classic functional 3-4 season boot that benefits from five width fittings so it should fit perfectly.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2010


Alt Berg Tethera

The Tethera is a traditional hillwalking boot, with a fairly high cuff and excellent amounts of padding on the ankle. Support is decent with a stiff sole unit, and a classic looking tread pattern with well-spaced lugs. There is a bit of a rubber rand around the whole boot with some extra protection across the front of the toe, although they did get a little scuffed. These were the only boots on test to have true locking loops on the heel lace, which really helps to keep your heel in place at the back of the boot.

VITAL STATS
Sizes
: 7½-13
Upper: Full-grain leather
Lining: Sympatex
Sole: Vibram
Weight (tested pair): 1,596g
Women’s available: Yes
Contact: 01748 850615; www.altberg.co.uk


Alt-Berg Fremington

Slightly harsh at the toe with not much padding. The soft uppers flexed easily and good padded ankle cuff. A limited amount of support in the uppers and midsole makes them best for low to mid-level terrain. In their favour, the minimal padding meant they felt quite cool in warmer conditions.

VITAL STATS
Colour: Brown
Sizes: 3-14 (UK including half-sizes. Five width fittings)
Upper: Italian Anfibio leather
Waterproof/breathable lining: Sympatex
Sole: Vibram Werewolf
Weight: 1,150g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 01748 850089, www.prenticebell.co.uk
Verdict: A quality leather walking boot available in half-sizes with five different width fittings, so you’ll be sure to find a pair that fits! Quite pricey, though.

Alt-Berg Fremington

A lightweight 3-season boot weighing 1656g (pair, size 11) that comes in five width fittings. Sympatex waterproof lining; virtually one-piece leather upper and exceptionally soft ankle cuff, with solid toe box and heel cup for maximum support and protection, plus Vibram sole. However, the very soft ankle cuff makes this better for path walks rather than anything where more support is needed.

 

 

Verdict: Great if you want a low-cut, waterproof boot in a specific width fitting.

 

First published in Trail magazine, April 2008


Alt-berg Fremington

A 3-season boot that features a Sympatex waterproof lining; virtually one-piece leather upper for maximum durability; exceptionally soft ankle cuff; solid toe box and heel cup for maximum support and protection; Vibram sole with excellent stiffness and deep lug pattern. But the very soft ankle cuff makes this better for path walks rather than anything where more support is needed.

Verdict: Buy it if you want a low-cut waterproof leather boot for walking on rough paths.

Alt-Berg Mallerstang II

It’s hard to find anything made in the UK these days, but Alt-Berg has been making boots here since 1989. The 2.8mm one-piece leather upper of these 3-4 season boots is built to take the knocks, while a Sympatex waterproof lining ensures your stay feet. The high ankle cuff provides plenty of support and the extremely aggressive Vibram sole is ideal for rough scree as well as snow and crampon use on easier icy terrain. It’s exceptionally comfortable too and rolls nicely on every step. If you want to improve the fit then check out one of the five width fittings! But you don’t get the modern styling of some boots or perhaps the quality of finish of others, and you don’t get acres of padding either. But there is really little else to complain about here unless you just don’t want a boot with a waterproof lining. It really is hard to fault.

 

Upper: 2.8mm anfibio leather
Lining: Sympatex waterproof lining
Sole: Vibram Ice Trek dual density sole
Sizes:  7-14 (men’s); 6-8 (women’s) in 5 width fittings
Trail fit profile: forefoot medium; heel medium; volume medium; length medium
Crampon compatibility: B1
Weight: 2020g (pair, size 11)
Made in UK
Stores in UK: 28

Verdict: It’s ideal if you want a solid, year-round boot for UK walking, scrambling and backpacking with or without crampons


Alt-Berg Fremington

These three-season leather boots from Alt-Berg are available in various widths and volumes, as well as half sizes, so most people should be able to get a good fit. That said, the ‘wide’ section of the boot can still feel too far forward for your feet. With a medium-stiff midsole and reasonably high, supportive, full-grain leather upper, the Fremington makes a good all-rounder. Against it though, it feels a little sweatier than Gore-Tex lined models.

Verdict: A good all-rounder, but the main selling point here is the choice of sizes, and the Fremington should fit even the most awkward of feet with some skilled fitting.

Colour: Brown

Sizes: 3-14 (UK including half sizes and five volume fittings)

Upper: Full-grain anfibio leather

Waterproof/breathable lining: Sympatex

Sole: Vibram Werewolf

Weight: 1,510g

Women’s version: Yes

Contact: 01748 850089; www.prenticebell.co.uk