Best for budget: Trail shoes review (2018)

Best Kit across the price bands

Trail shoes are lighter and more comfortable than boots, and most are a lower price too, which makes them ideal for walking and backpacking along good paths. But some can be taken on more challenging terrain while those described as ‘approach shoes’ are particularly good on rockier ground.

How-to-buy.jpg

What to Expect: Up to £100

At this price, you are getting the basics needed to walk comfortably along footpaths that are not too rough underfoot. The shoes are generally well-cushioned and quite flexible in the sole when flexed from toe to heel, as well as when twisted between the forefoot and heel. This makes them great for walking on level surfaces, but less suited to rougher terrain. The lugs on the sole will be relatively shallow, which again is fine for easier paths, but for more rugged ground deep lugs will offer more grip and longer-term wear. The upper may have more mesh for low weight and improved comfort, but it’s less likely to have any additional reinforcement – such as rubber rands, for example – to increase durability.

What to Expect: From £101 to £125

Shoes in this price band offer more durability on rougher terrain and may use less mesh or have additional rubber rands. These shoes may also benefit from stiffening in the heel cup and toe box to make them more suitable for uneven or rockier ground. The sole unit will have a deeper set of well-spaced lugs and, hopefully, a heel breast to ensure better grip on softer ground. There may also be more stiffness in the sole to ensure that jagged rocks do not place too much pressure on the foot when traversing rockier ground. These shoes are ideal for those who want a little more performance and durability than is offered in the lowest price band.

What to Expect: From £126

Optimum levels of performance and durability are available in this price band, making it a better bet for regular use. You’re likely to see more durable upper materials, along with rubber reinforcements, in this price bracket. The sole may be stiffened to improve performance on rockier ground and you may see even more pronounced lugs on the sole for better grip. More specialised products may include stiffer soles and sticky rubber for climbing over rocks. Some very lightweight products, using the latest tech, may also be available.


Hi-Tec Wildfire Low 1 WP £70

  • Men’s 6-13
  • Women’s 3-8
  • Weight 1066g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

The low price tag is instantly appealing, and you also get some good features. The shoe has a suede leather and mesh upper with a Dri-Tec waterproof lining. But you also get an i-shield treatment on the outside to repel water. The toe box and heel cup are reasonably stiffened, to support and protect the foot, which is good for uneven paths. Underfoot the sole lugs are reasonably deep and well-spaced for good grip, and there is some stiffness in the forefoot area of the sole to help resist pressure from jagged stones. There’s also a good wedge of cushioning under the heel to make walks on firm paths comfy. 

However

This shoe provides a slightly clumpy walking experience compared to higher-priced shoes that tend to contour to the foot and move more naturally as you walk. A deeper heel breast would be nice and, while the lugs are good, we’ve tried better. The sole is not as stiff as it could be and other shoes have less mesh on the upper and stiffer rubber reinforcement at the toe for more durability. 

Verdict

For those on tight budgets, this shoe is great for walks on valley and moorland paths.

  • Features 3/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 3/5
  • Value for money 5/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Berghaus Expeditor ACT AQ Tech £95

  • Men’s 7-12
  • Women’s 4-8
  • Weight 944g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This is a low weight shoe at a relatively low price. The Pittards suede leather upper has perforations on the sides to increase breathability with some mesh around the tongue. An AQ waterproof breathable lining keeps your feet dry. There is some good stiffness in the heel cup and toe box to provide support and protection. The outsole uses well spaced lugs and there is a slight heel breast, so this all adds up to reasonable grip on muddy paths. Importantly, there is also enough stiffness in the sole to resist pressure from rocks. A good all-rounder.

However

While the features are generally good for easier paths, other shoes offer even more benefits. Some shoes have deeper lugs on the sole for even better grip in mud and a more pronounced heel breast for improved breaking when descending. A dedicated approach shoe style is also better for scrambling. Others are more durable if they have a rubber rand or if they have less stitching. Of course all those benefits would add weight and cost though.

Verdict

A very good shoe for walking on general paths, but if the going gets too muddy or too rocky then others are better and more durable.

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

Keen Targhee III WP £100

  • Men’s 6.5-16
  • Women’s 2.5-8.5
  • Weight 1088g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This shoe is available in an exceptionally broad range of sizes. Plus, on the foot, the forefoot area is slightly more spacious than others, with a good fit at the heel. You also get a more durable shoe than most – a very robust upper, made from full-grain leather, with far less stitching than other shoes at this price and no open mesh. The sole rubber extends around the toe box for even more durability. Underfoot the lugs are reasonably deep and well-spaced to provide grip in softer ground. Inside there is a Keen Dry waterproof lining. In use this provides a comfortable walk.

However

The sole is quite flexible, so on rockier ground it may not be as comfortable as a higher-priced shoe. Also while the lugs are quite good, you might want something more aggressive. A more pronounced heel breast to improve grip during descents would be ideal too. The sole is not the best at resisting pressure, so may not be ideal if you plan on walking over rockier ground. But on earth or grass paths it performs well.

Verdict

The spacious forefoot, durable design and decent sole lugs make this a good shoe for easier path walks.

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

Lowa Taurus GTX Lo £110

  • Men’s 7-13
  • Women’s 4-8
  • Weight 1028g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This well-priced shoe offers a good weight, as well as decent performance for walking on easier paths. It is built around a synthetic fabric upper, with suede overlays and a fairly spacious fit, to suit general walkers. Gore-Tex is used inside to keep the feet dry and the outsole is a Loren unit with a good heel breast and lugs that are fine for paths. You also get some stiffness in the forefoot to prevent pressure through to the foot on rocky paths. To provide more support and protection to the upper, the sole unit employs a Lowa Monowrap skeleton design that encloses the upper around the midfoot area. 

However

While this shoe is fine on level paths, that’s potentially its limit. The sole lugs are not as deep or as aggressive as they could be, so grip on grass slopes or mud is not top-notch. The upper is also quite soft at the toe box and heel, so performs better on more level paths, where its support is not challenged. There is also no rubber toe rand here – not great for rough terrain.  

Verdict

A lower-priced, lightweight shoe that is great on level paths, but step onto slightly challenging terrain and its limitations become clear.

  • Features 3/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 3/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Berghaus FT18 GTX £120

  • Men’s 7-12
  • Women’s none
  • Weight 804g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

The remarkable weight of this shoe sets it apart and, as it is designed for fast hiking, it has some other nice features too. Firstly, you get a Gore-Tex waterproof lining to keep your feet dry and this is protected by a ripstop synthetic fabric upper, with thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) overlays and minimal stitching for durability. The heel cup and toe bumper are also slightly stiffened for use on uneven ground. And the sole is a Vibram Opti-stud design with well-spaced stud-like lugs. Finally, there is also some stiffness in the forefoot to prevent rocks pressing through the sole. 

However

The sole lugs are not as deep, nor as aggressive as in some other shoes, so it’s not the best for muddy ground. Also, while there is some stiffness in the sole, heel cup and toe box it could be even stiffer. There is also a little less cushioning underfoot than we’d like. But the absence of these little details is what helps reduce the weight of course. Annoyingly, there is no women’s version of this shoe, which is a real pity as it boasts some unique features.

Verdict

A great shoe if fast-hiking and lightness are your priorities.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 3/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Oboz Firebrand II Low Waterproof £125

  • Men’s 7-13
  • Women’s none
  • Weight 1168g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This tough shoe is great for rougher tracks where scrub and scree claw at your footwear, thanks to its suede leather and dense synthetic upper. But, importantly, you also get a very stiff rubber toe rand so you can kick through loose scree with comfort. You also get a B-Dry waterproof lining and the magic continues underfoot with great cushioning and a stiff sole that resists pressure. A very aggressive set of lugs, for biting into softer earth and mud, complete the package. The fit is precise and neat, to allow accurate foot placement on rockier ground, which means that, while it’s not the lightest shoe, it feels nimble. 

However

Sadly, there is no women’s option – the nearest equivalent is the £130 Bridger. Of course, you can get lighter shoes than the Firebrand and lower-priced options too, if you don’t need this level of performance. But it’s a great shoe for general walking and hard to find fault with, apart from personal preferences.

Verdict

A great shoe for backpacking over a range of paths and tracks, with reasonably heavy loads, where support and durability are key.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%
Trail-approved.jpg

Mammut Alnasca Low GTX £129

  • Men’s 6.5-13
  • Women’s 4.5-8
  • Weight 1002g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This shoe is designed as an approach shoe, but has a few more general usage features in the mix too. You get a neat precise fit at the toe and a smooth climbing zone on the rubber sole. The sole itself is a Michelin Rock Tech unit with sticky OCX rubber for better grip on rock and a series of stud-like lugs for traction in softer earth. There is good cushioning at the heel and this extends under the toe, making it a good shoe for walking. The leather and synthetic upper has a Gore-Tex waterproof lining on the inside and a rubber rand for durability at the toe and heel.

However

This is a good shoe for use on rock approaches and via ferrata routes, but its broader appeal, to general walkers, means that those in need of a dedicated approach shoe may prefer the neater performance at the toe of other shoes. General walking users may feel the toe is too restrictive and may want more wiggle room. The sole is great for rockier ground and via feratta, but if you are predominantly walking on softer ground, shoes with deeper lugs might be better. 

Verdict

Great shoe for a mix of approach, via feratta use and walking.

  • Features 3/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 3/5
  • Value for money 5/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 76%

Oboz Bridger Low B-Dry £130

  • Men’s 7-13
  • Women’s 3.5-8.5
  • Weight 1176g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

When this shoe was released last year it was our instant favourite for trail walking and it remains hard to beat. It's built around a great sole unit, with deep, well-spaced lugs that claw their way across the ground like tractor tyres. But you also get plenty of cushioning and enough stiffness to resist pressure and not to strain the foot too much over uneven ground. The upper is made from suede leather, with minimal stitching, and a firm rubber rand at the toe box and heel cup, for support and durability. Inside you get a B-Dry waterproof lining. It's neat and precise on the foot and superb on the trail.

However

There is very little to fault here from the perspective of walking with a rucksack over valley, moor, hill and mountain terrain. It's not the lightest or the most flexible shoe, and not the best shoe you could find for scrambling up rocks or via ferrata, but then it's not supposed to be.

Verdict

An outstanding shoe for regular trekking over varied and uneven terrain with a rucksack

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 96%
Trail-approved.jpg

Aku Montera Low GTX £135

  • Men’s 3-13
  • Women’s 3-8
  • Weight 1090g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

The Montera Low GTX is a versatile design that is good for general walking on valley paths and easier hill terrain. It has a Michelin Pulsar outsole, with a reasonably deep and aggressive set of lugs, and a good heel breast. The sole is reasonably stiff and fine for general walking on paths. The upper is a mix of suede, leather, synthetic fabric in the tongue and PU rand at the toe for durability. A Gore-Tex waterproof lining keeps the rain out and the fit is quite precise, so good enough for scrambling over rocks easily, if you need.

However

The sole could do with a little more stiffness in the forefoot, as you can feel rocks through it. The upper also does not enjoy the full rubber rand or durability features other shoes offer, as there is lots of stitching - not great for rocky terrain. It's not ideal for scrambling or via ferrata as the toe is not particularly neat, so this is best kept as a general-purpose walking shoe. It could also do with more cushioning for long distance walks on hard surfaces.

Verdict

A general-purpose shoe that benefits from a deep and aggressive lug pattern and good durability.

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

Berghaus Fellmaster GTX (2015)

Features

The Berghaus Fellmaster GTX’s upper is made of 2.2-2.4mm Pittard nubuck leather with hardly any stitching plus a reasonably stiff and supportive construction to protect the foot. There is also a stiff toe box and this has a good rubber rand for more durability while a Gore-Tex waterproof lining keeps feet dry. The outside has reasonably deep lugs that are well-spaced and there is a heel breast. Looks good. 5/5

Fit

Available for men in sizes 7-12 and women in sizes 4-8, the Berghaus Fellmaster GTX is a good general fit with a spacious toe box. The ankle cuff is of average height and very supportive and close-fitting. The lacing works well to ensure the boot hugged my foot in the ankle area, and this basically felt good. 5/5

Comfort

The ankle cuff and ankle area are a little firm compared to higher-priced boots, and generally this was perhaps not as comfy straight from the box as the absolute best boots costing a lot more. Underfoot cushioning is good though and the sole has a good forward flex to making walking easier. For this price the Berghaus Fellmaster GTX offers a good level of comfort. 4/5

In use

This is great for general walking on moors and paths as it has a good soft sole flex, but there is also enough stiffness to prevent rocky ground from being too uncomfortable. Grip on the sole is good (although some boots are even more aggressive) but again it’s good for this price band. The toe box and general support offered by this boot are great for general walking. 4/5

Value

A leather upper, rubber rand and good sole plus a supportive design mean the Berghaus Fellmaster GTX is top value. 5/5

Verdict

The Berghaus Fellmaster GTX is a great boot for general hillwalking at this price; you’d have to pay a lot more to find improvement over its minor drawbacks.  It wins Trail’s ‘approved’ accolade. 4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine December 2015

Berghaus-Fellmaster.jpg

Buy now from...

Berghaus Hillmaster II GTX (2015)

Features

Berghaus and Brasher have merged, so this is the classic Brasher Hillmaster under the new Berghaus logo. It has a Pittards leather upper that has virtually no stitching, particularly at the flex point to lengthen durability. There is a full rubber rand too, again for durability. The outsole is well-stiffened and there are deep, well-placed lugs for grip in the mud. 5/5

Fit

The Berghaus Hillmaster II GTX comes in a good range of sizes: 7-14 for men and 3½-9 for women. The boot is quite spacious with a useful locking eyelet quite low down the lacing to allow tension at the arch to be controlled. The ankle cuff is lower than some heavier and higher-priced boots, so ankle fit is less restrictive. The fit is not quite as precise as the best boots though. 4/5

Comfort

The toe box and forefoot area are very roomy, making the boot comfier for those with wider, higher-volume feet. The heel cup is a closer fit than some other boots, while the soft and low ankle cuff is very comfy. The sole is more flexible than some, making it more comfortable on softer ground. 5/5

In use

The Berghaus Hillmaster II GTX feels good for walking on moorland and general hill paths, but the fit and general positioning of the boot are less precise for more technical ground. You can scramble in it, but the best boots are better. On rockier ground there is less support here, so again the best boots are slightly better. But the Gore-Tex waterproof lining and general performance are ideal for paths. 4/5

Value

A general hillwalking boot offering  better value for money than pricier options. 4/5

Verdict

The classic Brasher Hillmaster retains its hillwalking edge under the new Berghaus branding. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine May 2015

berghaus.jpg

Berghaus Explorer Ridge Plus GTX (2014)

Features

This boot is made from British Pittards full-grain leather with minimal stitching, which protects a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. There is good stiffness in the toe box too and heel cup to provide protection and support on rockier ground. Underfoot you get a very well-cushioned Opti-Stud sole with widely spaced studs and a heel breast. 5/5

Fit

The Berghaus Explorer Ridge Plus GTX comes in men’s sizes 6-12 and women’s 4-8, and the fit is slightly roomy but with a good shape to give a good general fit for many walkers. The toe box is neither overly wide nor overly narrow and profiled, making it great for general hillwalking. The ankle cuff is slightly lower than others, which you may or may not like. 5/5

Comfort

At 1318g (pair, size 11) this is very light for the performance advantages, which all helps the overall comfort. I don’t like the lower ankle cuff from a comfort perspective due to my bony feet, but that is my only question mark here, and of course it may feel great on you. There’s great cushioning underfoot too for hard surfaces. 4/5

In use

That lower ankle cuff means you get more freedom of movement, making the Berghaus Explorer Ridge Plus GTX great for level paths and uneven terrain, unless you like a little extra support. The cushioning is great on rocky paths, and the grip is excellent on moorland and mud. The upper is durable enough for rocky ground and it feels good or easy rocky scrambles. 4/5

Value

Not the lowest-priced option but performance is far better than that of the boots with lower price tags, making it great value for regular users. 4/5

Verdict

You can’t get total perfection at this price, but the Berghaus Explorer Ridge Plus GTX is about as close as it gets to general hillwalking perfection for under £140. It won the ‘Trail Approved’ accolade.

4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2014

www.berghaus.co.uk

berghaus%20explorer%20ridge%20plus.jpg

Berghaus Expeditor AQ Suede (2014)

Features

The big feature here is the weight of just 1234g (pair, size 11). This has been achieved by using a mesh upper that covers a Berghaus AQ waterproof lining. It is quite a bendy boot too so there is less stiffening material to weigh it down. The studs on the outsole are widely spaced to prevent clogging, and there is a small heel breast. 3/5

Fit

The Berghaus Expeditor AQ Suede is available in sizes 6-11 for men and 4-8 for women. It has a more precise fit than the lower-priced boots we looked at. This is in part due to the soft upper but also due to the shape. The ankle cuff is slightly lower than the other boots, which also helps the fit. The overall effect is that this boot feels more precise when placing it, which is useful. 4/5

Comfort

At 1234g (pair, size 11) the Berghaus Expeditor AQ Suede is a very light boot, and it is also quite soft and flexible in both the upper and sole, all of which makes it feel comfortable. However as it is soft and flexible, comfort reduces if the shoe is distorted on rockier ground as then all the strain goes onto your foot. So you get great comfort on easy ground, but less on rock. 4/5

In use

This boot is great on moorland, grass or level paths, but take it on rockier paths and the performance drops. The outsole has reasonable lugs, but they are not the deepest available so grip on soft ground is not ideal. On rockier terrain the flex in the sole and the durability of the upper are challenged. 3/5

Value

You are getting a lighter boot with a more precise fit, but more suitable hill boots are available for even less cash. 4/5

Verdict

If weight is a priority or you tackle easier terrain the Berghaus Expeditor AQ Suede is ideal but some are better for more varied terrain.

3.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2014

www.berghaus.com

berghaus%20expeditor%20aq%20suede.jpg

Berghaus Prognosis GTX (2014)

The Berghaus Prognosis GTX weighs just 876g (pair, size 11), making it ideal for fast and light outdoor action or anyone simply wanting to save weight. The upper is made from mesh with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and there are overlays of material to increase its durability. But it is still probably not going to be able to withstand the abuse that heavier shoes can tolerate. There is good stiffness in the heel cup to support the foot on uneven ground, but the toe area is slightly less well-protected than others, although it does have some stiffness and a rand to improve performance on rockier ground. The Vibram sole unit has a fairly shallow series of lugs and a small heel breast, but on muddy grass slopes this isn’t the best sole I’ve used in ascent or descent, although it’s fine on level ground. There is some stiffness in the sole to take the discomfort out of rockier ground, but some other shoes are better on rock. The sole flexes nicely for moving fast, though, which when combined with the low weight makes this well-suited to fast activity. So while the Berghaus Prognosis GTX is great in terms of weight its best performance is limited to easier terrain. But it would be a useful all-rounder for biking, walking and moving fast as long as you stick to paths and tracks.

Specifications:

Upper material synthetic

Waterproof lining Gore-Tex

Sole unit Vibram XS Trek

Men’s sizes 7-11

Women’s sizes 4-8

Weight 876g (pair, size 11)

Website www.berghaus.com

Verdict

The Berghaus Prognosis GTX is a very well-priced light-weight shoe, ideal for fast and light activity on easier terrain, but others are better on rough ground.

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine May 2014

berghaus.jpg

Berghaus Prognosis GTX (2013)

The Berghaus Prognosis GTX is updated for 2013 to make it more suitable for a wider range of activities. It weighs just 920g (pair, size 11), so it’s ideal for ‘fast and light’ activity as well as general travel. The upper is mostly mesh with some reinforcement at the toe and heel but there’s not much compared to more robust rock-orientated footwear, so this would be best kept away from the most challenging terrain. There is a Gore-Tex lining, though, which is impressive at this price, and it means you can keep your feet dry while benefiting from the lightweight mesh. Underfoot there is a Vibram sole with fairly shallow lugs on the forefoot, but you do get some slight improvement at the heel breast, although overall this isn’t the best unit for softer ground in ascent or descent. The sole has some stiffness for rockier ground, but again it’s not as stiff as more dedicated approach shoes. However there is good cushioning and the sole flexes nicely for moving fast, so when used on paths and tracks on the hills, moors and valleys the Berghaus Prognosis GTX is a great shoe, making it a good all-rounder – particularly for fast and light action.

Upper material synthetic
Waterproof Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram XS Trek
Men’s sizes 7-11
Women’s sizes 4-8
Weight 920g (pair, size 11)
Website www.berghaus.com

  

Verdict

The Berghaus Prognosis GTX is a well-priced Gore-Tex shoe that is very lightweight and ideal for general outdoor activity, but others are better for scrambling and more challenging terrain.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2013


Berghaus Explorer Ridge GTX (2012)

Lightweight, comfortable and designed to feel great straight from the box. The fit is generous but not sloppy, with a narrow heel and comparatively wide forefoot. They have an easy-pull lacing system and a locking eyelet at the ankle and the mid-height ankle cuff feels great for easier going and provides plenty of support. The midsole is fairly flexible across the toe which feels great on lower level paths. There’s no doubting the quality although they’re lacking a rubber bumper at the toe which would protect from knocks and scrapes. They have a chunky Berghaus outsole with aggressive lugs that grip well on all types of terrain.

Sizes: UK 3 ½-8
Upper: Waterproof full-grain leather
Waterproof/breathable lining: Gore-Tex
Sole: Alpha Compound hiking rubber
Weight: 950g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: www.berghaus.com


Berghaus Kibo (2013)

The Berghaus Kibo has been available for some years now and it remains unchanged for 2013 except for a 10 per cent rise in price over last year. The upper of the boot is made with a mix of fabric and leather with some very modern styling. There is a full rubber rand to protect the boot from abrasion and a waterproof Gore-Tex lining to protect the feet from water. Inside there is also a double tongue, which helps with getting a closer and more comfortable fit around the top of the foot. The fit is not quite as close and precise as the more mountaineering-specific boots, but it is still fine for general walking, and easier snow and ice slopes when there is less need for such precision. The outsole is great, though, with a nice deep pattern of well-spaced lugs – and these are ideal for crunching through snow and maintaining a very good grip on a variety of winter terrain. As the ankle cuff is a little lower than some other boots there is less ankle support, which again places the Berghaus Kibo into the ‘winter walking’ rather than ‘winter mountaineering’ category. It is a well-priced boot too.

Upper materials leather and textile
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram Granito
Women’s sizes none
Men’s sizes 39-47
Weight 2120g (pair, size 46)
Website
www.berghaus.com

 

Verdict
The Berghaus Kibo is a well-priced boot that is good for general winter mountain walking, but it does not have the precise feel of some other models.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2013


Berghaus Tarazed GTX (2012)

The Berghaus Tarazed GTX is very light for a boot in the 3-4 season category, and in part that is due to its not being quite as stiff as most other boots in this class. But you do still get a robust, supportive upper to protect the foot on scree as well as snow, and there is a Gore-Tex lining to keep your feet dry. The rubber rand will ensure the long-term durability of the upper on a broad range of terrain. In touch with the ground is a Vibram Opti-Stud sole with widely spaced lugs to prevent clogging, but these lugs are not as deep as others and so it is not the ultimate option for crunching through snow or negotiating soft ground. The shallow depth of those lugs also means they will probably be less effective sooner than a deeper lug as they wear down. So you don’t get quite the performance of the higher-priced and heavier 3-4 season boots, but for most hillwalkers who want a boot for year-round terrain including easier snow the Berghaus Tarazed GTX is still an excellent option – as long as you don’t find yourself on overly challenging winter terrain where this boot won’t perform as well as other models. There is also no women’s option.

Upper materials nubuck leather, textile
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram Opti-Stud
Women’s sizes none
Men’s sizes 39-47
Weight 1742g (pair, size 46)
Website
www.berghaus.com

 

The verdict
The Berghaus Tarazed GTX is more flexible than most 3-4 season options, so best kept for easier winter terrain.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2012


Berghaus Explorer Light Gore-Tex (2012)

Berghaus classes the Explorer Light Gore-Tex 2012 as a 2-3 season boot, as an indicator that it is a little softer in the sole than more traditional 3-season boots, although these days there are plenty of bendier boots than the Explorer and so this categorisation should not put you off totally. The upper is fabric and suede with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining to keep your feet dry. The heel cup is a little softer than some, but the toe box is stiff enough to prevent stray rocks damaging your toes. Underfoot you get a very aggressive outsole with deep lateral lugs and a good heel breast, which allows this boot to provide a very good grip in mud and on moorland bogs. The sole does flex toe-to-heel quite easily and is a little uncomfortable on rockier ground, but there is reasonable lateral stiffness and also there is reasonable resistance to the pressure of jagged rocks. In traditional terms this is definitely a 2-3 season boot and it performs best on valley paths and moorland walks; but as the trend today is for lighter more flexible footwear many walkers will find the Berghaus Explorer Light Gore-Tex suitable for hill paths too as it is more supportive than some so-called 3-season boots!

Upper materials fabric and suede leather
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Asylum, PU cushioning
Weight 1288g (pair size 11)
Men’s sizes 6-12
Women’s sizes 3-8
Website
www.berghaus.com

 

Verdict
The Berghaus Explorer Light Gore-Tex 2012 is a good general walking boot in terms of grip, although a little more heel support would be good; but the price is a little higher than other fabric boots.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2012


Berghaus Benefaction II (2012)

The Benefaction is marketed as a multi-sport shoe but is best described as a lightweight trail-running shoe that will work as a walking shoe in the right conditions and on the right feet. It has no waterproof liner, so wet feet are guaranteed (unless you only walk in very dry places). But once wet, there’s no danger of water slopping around, and it also dries very quickly. As a walking shoe, it really does feel fast and light. The midsole is exceptional – enough torsional rigidity to deal with rough surfaces but soft enough to feel like a trainer. And grip is excellent too, although it’s definitely happiest on drier trails and rock. There’s also the option of a more muted colour scheme – the one shown here looks a little frantic!

Sizes: 6-11
Upper: Mesh (no waterproof liner)
Sole: Vibram
Weight: 830g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 0191 516 5700; www.berghaus.com

 

Review from Country Walking magazine, June 2012


Berghaus Explorer Light GTX (2012)

This is a great boot for lower-level walking, offering great comfort levels. The sole unit is fairly soft, and so works well on less challenging terrain. The middling levels of ankle support also make for good comfort levels, but it’s not so great on rougher terrain, especially with the softer upper construction. The fit is fairly relaxed and best-suited to those with a wider foot shape. The boots are cut quite high, with good levels of padding around the ankle, which helps to keep your heel locked down at the back. Although they don’t have the most aggressive tread pattern on the market, the widely spaced lugs on the sole do help to shift out mud. The lugs aren’t the deepest, however, and work best in middling conditions that aren’t too muddy. There’s also a reasonable heel brace that helps to provide a bit of extra grip on downhill stretches.

Sizes: 6-12

Upper: Suede/mesh

Lining: Gore-Tex

Sole: Asylum

Weight: 1,306g

Women’s version: Yes

Contact: 0808 234 0229, www.berghaus.com

*Published in Country Walking magazine, April 2012


Berghaus Kibo 2012

The Berghaus Kibo has held its price below the competition for a while now, and even this year it is only a tenner up on 2010 while most boots are £15 or £20 higher in price. So in terms of cost it is a winner. The boot itself has an upper based on a mix of fabrics and there is a full rubber rand to add durability. A Gore-Tex lining helps keep your feet dry. You also get a double tongue with this boot, which improves comfort and protection from the elements. Get the Berghaus Kibo on and it is quite a spacious, high-volume fit, which does not feel quite as precise and close-fitting as others. So when walking it seems more ‘clumpy’ and cumbersome than others. The slight tapering towards the toe improves foot placement a little when climbing, but it is not as precise as other boots. You do get a good Vibram outsole, though, with widely spaced and deep lugs for a good grip on softer ground. So while it is certainly a great price and will do a good job on the hill, it does not perform as well as other boots in the test when walking or climbing. There is no women’s version of the Berghaus Kibo.

Upper materials leather and textile
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram Granito
Women’s sizes none
Men’s sizes 39-47
Weight 2120g (pair, size 46)
Website www.berghaus.com

 

The Berghaus Kibo is a relatively low-priced 4-season boot, but what you gain in cash savings you lose in terms of performance compared to higher-priced options.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2012


Berghaus Tarazed GTX 2011

The Berghaus Tarazed GTX is a remarkable boot in a number of ways. Firstly the price is stunning by modern standards for a 3-4 season model. But it is also very light for this type of boot. For the minimal price and weight you get good performance too, thanks to a stiff, supportive upper to protect the foot on scree as well as snow. There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining to keep your feet dry, while the rubber rand ensures the upper will be durable over many years of mountain abuse. The outsole utilises the Opti-Stud design and has widely spaced lugs to prevent clogging. The lugs are not as deep as some, which is a bit of a drawback for long-term use as they will obviously wear thin sooner and hence provide less grip sooner than others. The stiffness is also a notch less than some alternatives we looked at, while still being capable of holding an edge and being used with flexible crampons. So you don’t get quite the performance of the higher-priced boots, but for hillwalkers who want a boot for year-round terrain including easier snow the Berghaus Tarazed GTX is an excellent option. Those walkers need to be male, however; there’s no women’s version.

Upper materials nubuck leather, textile
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram Opti-Stud
Women’s sizes none
Men’s sizes 39-47
Weight 1788g (pair, size 46)
Website www.berghaus.com

The Berghaus Tarazed GTX  offers good 3-4 season performance in a relatively lightweight and low-priced package, but others offer more performance if you are prepared to pay more. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2011


Berghaus Explorer Light GTX 2011

Boasting a modern design and a Gore-Tex lining for excellent waterproofness and breathability, the Berghaus Explorer Light GTX is, at first glance, an attractive option. The outsole features a lug pattern, which, though not the deepest here, is widely spaced enough to prevent a build-up of mud between them; and an adequate heel breast will ensure you get a good level of grip on hills. The sole is very flexible, though, which some may find uncomfortable on rough terrain – and even Berghaus classes them as 2-3 season boots, which means they offer greater comfort on tracks and in valleys than on mountains and ridges. Though the toe box is reinforced with a stiffer section of suede it does not offer as much protection as other boots here and I found the boot rubbed uncomfortably on my upper foot where the lace webbing was stitched to the fabric panels. The ankle cuff is fairly high, which isn’t always preferable, though it’s well-padded so it’s not uncomfortable. The Berghaus Explorer Light GTX’s cushioning is noticeable and they’re a lighter option for those looking to cut weight.

Weight 978g (pair, size 39)
Upper materials suede and mesh
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex with Extended Comfort Technology
Sole unit Asylum/PU Midsole
Women’s sizes 36-42
Men’s sizes 39-47
Website www.berghaus.com
 

A lightweight and waterproof boot with a very bendy sole that makes it much better suited to grassy slopes and valleys than to high, rocky mountain terrain.

Review by Phoebe Smith
First published in Trail magazine December 2011


Berghaus Explorer Ridge

This is more of a two-season boot and as a result is a bit softer than many of the others on test. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and straight out of the box, the softer flex and ample inside padding make them incredibly comfortable. They sit quite low down and so offer a good amount of feedback from the ground. That does mean that on rockier ground they don’t protect against sharp rocks that much and do not offer great amounts of support. They also have something of an odd square-toed design to them. Grip in most conditions is fine, and on some uneven terrain, grip was actually improved by the softer sole, but your feet will tire more quickly in those conditions than they would do in stiffer boots.

VITAL STATS

Sizes: 6-12
Upper: Full-grain leather
Membrane: Gore-Tex
Sole: Asylum/PU midsole
Weight: 1,384g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: www.berghaus.com
*Review from Country Walking magazine, October 2011