Brasher Hill walker II GTX (2014)

Features

A leather upper with minimal stitching and a Gore-Tex lining is an impressive achievement at this price. Then add in the 1210g (pair, size 11) weight and this appears even better. Better still the toe box is very well-stiffened and the outsole has well-spaced lugs and a heel breast. More stiffness in the sole would be good, though. 4/5

Fit

Available in men’s sizes 7-12 and women’s 4-8, the Brasher Hillwalker II GTX has a good general fit that is spacious around the foot but not too ‘baggy’. There is a lot of padding on the ankle cuff, which feels a closer fit than the rest of the boot. Ideally I’d like a slight general improvement in the shape of this boot, so it fitted a little more uniformly. 4/5

Comfort

The fit of the ankle cuff does not match the looser fit of the rest of the boot so it feels a little odd, being tight in some areas and loose in others – and this then inhibits the overall comfort and you end up trying to make it feel a better fit by tightening or loosening the laces. There is reasonable cushioning and stiffness underfoot however. 3/5

In use

The Brasher Hillwalker II GTX’s sole offers good grip on typical hillwalking terrain and is not too bad on rockier ground, although a bit more stiffness in the sole would be preferable. However the upper durability is great, while the toe box and heel support are good. The softness of the upper combined with the looser fit in the forefoot make this less than ideal on rockier terrain, though. 4/5

Value

The price is exceptionally good for what you are getting in so many ways, but there are some drawbacks.  4/5

Verdict

The Brasher Hillwalker II GTX is a good boot for paths, moorland and hillwalking but it may depend on whether you like its mix of fit, comfort and performance.

3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2014

www.brasher.co.uk

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Brasher Mountain Master (2014)

Described by Brasher as being ‘perfect from the Himalayas to winter in the Lake District’, there’s very little to dislike about these Merino Wool Ultra socks. They’re warm, comfortable, do a great job of wicking moisture away from your feet and are extremely thick. Perfect for using on long, cold mountain days.

www.brasher.co.uk

 

Verdict

Buy Brasher Mountain Master socks if you want a British classic.

Review by Oli Reed
First published in Trail magazine May 2014

 


Brasher Ahklun GTX (2013)

The 3-4 season boot category is very variable in terms of the sole flex displayed by each boot, and the Brasher Ahklun GTX is toward the more flexible end of the scale. The upper is a mix of suede leather and fabric overlays with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining to ensure any water working through the stitching won't get your feet wet. There’s a moulded rubber toe cap for extra protection on rock, but you're not getting quite the same level of protection as boots with thicker one-piece leather uppers and full rubber rands, so you may not get the long-term durability of some other boots. The outsole is a Vibram unit with good deep lugs, well-spaced to provide grip on softer surfaces. The flex in the sole is noticeably softer than others featured here, with the toe flexing quite easily, but there’s good lateral stiffness for traversing slopes. The upper is quite flexible, so others may give more support on steeper slopes. If you want a boot specifically for scrambling, or tackling challenging winter hills, those with a more precise fit and a stiffer toe will be better. But if you want a general walking boot that can be used on easier snow slopes with crampons, the Brasher Ahklun GTX is a good option.

Upper materials 1.8-2.0mm suede leather, textile

Waterproof lining Gore-Tex

Sole unit Vibram Foura

Women’s sizes none

Men’s sizes 7-12

Weight 1852g (pair, size 11)

Website www.brasher.co.uk

Verdict

The Brasher Ahklun GTX is best suited to easier winter conditions, but it’s a good option if you don’t need the best performance on snow.

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2013

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Brasher Fellmaster GTX (2012)

The Fellmaster looks pretty rugged but in reality it’s quite a soft boot with loads of flex over the toes and a very boxy, roomy fit. The nubuck uppers are lovely and these combine well with a Gore-Tex lining to ensure feet stay warm and dry. They’ve got a decent toe bumper so should stay looking good. The Brasher sole unit is definitely at its best on softer ground, where the lugs provide great traction; but it didn’t hold its own quite so well on rock, especially when wet. The ankle cuff is quite high but the leather’s soft and it’s well-padded too, so it feels incredibly comfortable. The lacing works well too, making it easy to get a secure fit, even with all that volume.

Sizes: UK 7-12
Upper: 2.2-2.4mm oiled nubuck leather
Waterproof/breathable lining: Gore-Tex
Sole: Brasher Trek
Weight: 1,380g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: www.brasher.co.uk; 0191 5165780


Brasher Altai GTX (2012)

Sturdy boots are something you expect from Brasher, and the Altai GTX is no exception. Offering a reinforced heel, a Gore-Tex lining and a pronounced heel breast to help grip on descents, this model keeps feet well-protected. The lugs on the outsole are well-spaced, deep and aggressive to give good performance on mud. Underfoot the sole is a good balance between stiff and bendy, making the Altai suitable for a variety of terrain. There’s also a reasonable amount of cushioning to help keep you comfy on longer routes. Around the ankle there is ample padding but this rises up quite far up the leg, which won‘t be for everyone. The toe box is fantastic at protecting against stubbing and it features a generous rubber rand to help with added durability, but the top is a little soft. However, all this robust design comes at a price, and with these boots it’s the weight. Coming it at 1273g for the pair the Brasher Altai GTXs are the third heaviest boots in our test, and they do feel a little ‘clumpy’ compared to others, especially on longer hill days. These are also definitely on the wide side so better for broader feet.

Weight 1273g (pair, size 6)
Upper materials abrasion-resistant suede with fabric panels
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex Performance Comfort
Sole unit Vibram Winkler
Women’s sizes 4-8
Men’s sizes 7-12
Website www.brasher.co.uk

 

Verdict

The Brasher Altai GTX is a good, all-round hill boot that offers a great level of protection; but it feels a little heavy and ‘clumpy’ compared to others.

 

Review by Phoebe Smith

First published in Trail magazine August 2012

 


Brasher Kuga GTX (2012)

Brasher’s walking boot pedigree shines through in the Kuga, which is definitely made for the hills. It has a reasonably stiff midsole that makes light work of even the roughest of trails; and the toe and heel are well-reinforced and quite comforting on scree and sharp rock. The three-part all-terrain sole grips well on most surfaces, excelling on drier paths where the excellent shock absorption is also apparent. The last is snug and this, combined with an efficient lacing system, produces an extremely secure and stable fit. A Gore-Tex membrane provides the waterproofing, which coped admirably during our test, and the nubuck and mesh upper breathed well enough and still looked good after a few tough outings.

Sizes: 7-12
Upper: Mesh/nubuck/Gore-Tex
Sole: Brasher
Weight: 810g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 0191 516 5780; www.brasher.co.uk

 

Review from Country Walking magazine, June 2012


Brasher Kiso (2012)

A relative newcomer to the Brasher range, the Kiso is their lighter model built for warmer days. The soft suede-and-fabric upper construction definitely helps with breathability and keeps the weight down too. Coupled with the medium flex of the sole, these boots are easy to break-in and comfortable right from the box. The flex in the sole means the boots don’t offer as much support as some of the stiffer models, and so they’re a little less useful on rough and rocky terrain. That said, they do have good levels of shock absorption, generated by the EVA midsole, which really helps to even out the bumps on hard ground. It works in the vast majority of terrain. The sole is a Brasher unit and performs well over a range of conditions, with widely spaced (if a little shallow) lugs that do shift mud. Grip on wet rock is pretty decent, too. A great pair of boots at the price, for use in most conditions.                       

Sizes: 7-12

Upper: 1.6-1.8mm suede with fabric panels

Lining: Gore-Tex

Sole: Brasher rubber sole unit

Weight: 1,270g

Women’s version: Yes – Kenai

Contact: 0191 5165780; www.brasher.co.uk

*Published in Country Walking magazine, April 2012


Brasher Kenai GTX 2011

When it comes to soles, striking a balance between bendy enough that you can feel what you’re doing and stiff enough that you’re not groaning at every bump and lump is key. With the Kenai GTX, Brasher seems to have found this balance. Though undeniably bendier than some other models on test, the Kenai (men’s version is the Kiso) does still have a good degree of rigidity while keeping things comfortable over longer distances. There’s a good set of widely spaced lugs on the outsole that are deep enough to give effective grip on boggy terrain and should last well over prolonged use. A heel breast helps with braking on inclines. The ankle cuff is very supportive yet comfortable and there’s extra protection from rubber on the toe box and heel cup. A Gore-Tex liner makes this model waterproof and breathable. And though an all-leather boot may last longer if you’re a hard user, the features it’s got, noticeable comfort it offers thanks to the EVA midsoles, good sole flexibility, and light weight (it’s beaten to the lightest on test spot by 30g) makes the Brasher Kenai GTX a great pair of boots for this price bracket.

Weight 960g (pair, size 6)
Upper materials suede upper with fabric panels
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Brasher rubber sole with EVA midsole
Women’s sizes 4-8
Men’s sizes 7-12 (Kiso GTX)
Website www.brasher.co.uk

 

Stylish and comfy boots with great features and a lightweight make the Brasher Kenai GTX an excellent option for all-round mountain use. It won the Trail ‘Best in Test’ award.

Review by Phoebe Smith
First published in Trail magazine December 2011


Brasher Hillwalker

The Hillwalkers have a fit well-suited to those with larger volume feet. The design is also classic walking boot, with lots of unstitched leather on the uppers. Shock absorption is great, with plenty of bounce in the sole which really helps when walking on stony ground and stretches of road. The grip from the sole is good enough and provides general grip, with well-spaced lugs that aren’t too aggressive and so shed mud reasonably well. The lowish ankle cuff coupled with the medium amount of flex in the boot overall make them a good bet for lower level walking. On the downside, the leather feels heavily treated/cheaper than some.

VITAL STATS

Sizes: 7-12
Upper: 1.6mm-1.8mm full-grain leather
Membrane: Gore-Tex
Sole: brasher rubber sole unit with shock absorbing EVA midsole
Weight: 1,282g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 0191 516 5780; www.brasher.co.uk
*Review from Country Walking magazine, October 2011


Brasher Hurricane GTX

A very comfortable shoe, with a good amount of lateral stiffness that copes well with uneven terrain. They’re more flexible across the toe than the some, though, so you won’t experience a lovely rolling action, making them less suitable for long walks on rough ground, even though the Brasher sole grips very well on rock. There’s plenty of mesh in the uppers for breathability, and a Gore-Tex lining to keep your feet dry. Rubber bumpers at the toe and heel will keep them looking good for a long time, and will also protect your feet from knocks.

VITAL STATS
Sizes:
4½-8½
Materials: Suede and Gore-Tex lining
Sole: Brasher 3-part all-terrain
Weight: 800g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 0191 5165780; www.brasher.co.uk
• Review from Country Walking magazine, June ’11


Brasher Supalite II GTX 2011

In 1978 Chris Brasher, an Olympic gold medallist, designed the Brasher Boot, a walking boot with the comfort of a running shoe. In 2000 his original ideas once again emerged, this time with the Brasher Supalite, one of the lightest leather walking boots ever made. Today’s Supalite II GTX retains the performance, but now with a modern design twist.

Design
Making functional outdoor gear is not too difficult, but making lightweight functional gear that looks reasonably appealing so it can attract more than just the die-hard walker is far more of a challenge. The modern version of Chris Brasher’s design – the Brasher Supalite II GTX – is certainly the most appealing adaptation to date. It still doesn’t grab the attention as well as some other modern designs and it is still more of a traditional ‘brown leather boot’ than some people will wish to be seen wearing, but beneath that low-key exterior lies high-key performance. You are getting a virtually one-piece leather upper, so there is minimal stitching to fray. The leather is reasonably stiff too, and is reinforced at the toe box and heel. Inside you get a leather lining, which some may prefer for comfort, while it may also help protect the Gore-Tex waterproof lining from stray grit. But what I really like here is that the sole unit has good stiffness, and a reasonably deep and widely spaced set of lugs.

On the hill
I’ve been using the old and newer versions of the Supalite for many years. For me it has been the most durable lightweight leather boot I have used. In my experience the sole unit has worn smooth long before anything else has worn out. However with the latest version I have noticed that the laces tend to wear out around the eyelets. The performance is good on the hills, and I’ve used it for scrambling over all types of ground. I do however find that it offers a less stable platform on every step compared to others. The grip and wear of the sole are good, although a deeper lug pattern would of course last longer – and for my money that would make this a better investment. The ankle cuff is relatively low, as it is with most lighter boots, but it is comfortable and still keeps the worst of the grit out. On rockier ground I do prefer a boot with a higher and stiffer ankle cuff, though, so while I have worn them on rockier ground, they are not my first choice.

Upper 1.6-1.8mm full-grain leather, Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole Brasher Supalite, EVA cushioning
Sizes 40-47 (men’s); 36-42 (women’s)
Weight 1216g (pair, size 46)
Made in India
Stores in the UK 215
Stockist details (0191) 516 5780; www.brasher.co.uk

The Brasher Supalite II GTX has a virtually stitch-free upper for maximum durability; stiff toe box; reasonably deep and widely spaced lugs on sole; the leather lining may add more durability. However my experience is that the laces are wearing through on the eyelets; the narrow profile creates a less stable platform compared to others; as with all lighter flexible boots there is less support than you’d get with stiffer but heavier boots. It’s a proven, durable boot, except for the laces, and ideal in many ways for general walking if you don’t want extra support.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2011


Brasher Lithium GTX

A true lightweight, spring-orientated boot with full-fabric upper construction that gives them straight-from-the-box comfort. In an effort to strengthen the upper, Brasher have used plastic ‘Tri-Fit’ reinforcing strips (the upside-down V shapes you can see in the photo). These do offer some strengthening although the upper fabric remains quite soft, and coupled with the wide mid-foot volume, it makes these good for those with larger volume feet. The high ankle helps to keep mud and water out, and to get a snug fit keeping your ankle in place, but it doesn’t deliver great amounts of stiffness. The sole unit provides confidence-inspiring grip on most easy terrain with a good amount of padding for hard ground and a fairly shallow tread pattern ideal for easy terrain.

VITAL STATS
Sizes
: 7-12 (inc ½ sizes)
Upper: Suede/fabric
Waterproof/ breathable lining: Gore-Tex
Sole: Brasher 3-part Trek
Weight: 1,360g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 0191 5165780; www.brasher.co.uk


Brasher Mayan/Inca 2011

The Brasher Mayan/Inca is a traditionally styled sandal with leather straps, which has not changed in design or price since last year. The straps have Velcro fastenings so they are easy to adjust, while comfort is enhanced with soft padding on the inside. The straps are wider than some others to offer a little more support and protection for the foot. The footbed uses memory foam so that it moulds to your foot, and this is very comfortable and complements the comfort of the straps well. The outsole has a pattern of closely packed lugs that provide reasonable grip on less muddy surfaces, and there is some good stiffness too to make uneven terrain a little more comfy. Use this for general travel and country walks, and it will be fine. But compared to synthetic sandals with a more performance-orientated sole unit, the Brasher Mayan/Inca is not so great. Others are better on mud and even forest paths when tree roots can cause discomfort underfoot. The styling is very traditional, so this won’t appeal to the more style-conscious walker. The main drawback though is that the leather straps will be slower drying than synthetic options.

Upper full-grain leather, neoprene padding
Sole Brasher Open; EVA cushioning
Sizes 7-12 (men’s Mayan); 4-8 (women’s Inca)
Weight 760g (pair, size 11)
Made in India
Stores in the UK 72

The Brasher Mayan/Inca is ideal if you prefer a traditional leather sandal and use it for gentle country strolls and travel rather than anything more challenging.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2011


Brasher Kiso/Kenai GTX 2011

The Brasher Kiso/Kenai GTX is a new fabric boot than comes in at a good price and a good weight while also offering a better performance than some of its similarly priced competitors. On first inspection it has the usual suede and fabric upper with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside. But there is also some reasonable support there in the upper, heel cup and toe box, so this boot can be used quite well on more rugged ground. The outsole is pretty good too with a good set of widely spaced lugs that are deep enough to offer good grip and decent durability. The sole also has a good degree of longitudinal and lateral stiffness, so it is going to be reasonably comfy on rockier ground. All that for just 1248g and £100 is a good offering that many walkers will be content with.  But for more money you can get more durability, better flex in the sole and even better grip than the Brasher Kiso/Kenai GTX. An all-leather boot may last longer if you are a hard user for example. Other boots offer more support in the upper too for tackling rockier ground day after day. The fit is slightly narrow compared to some, which may or may not suit you. The women’s Kenai has a slightly lower ankle cuff than the men’s Kiso.

Upper 1.6-1.8mm suede leather, fabric panels; Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole Brasher rubber, EVA cushioning
Sizes 7-12 (men’s Kiso); 4-8 (women’s Kenai)
Weight 1248g (pair, size 11)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 52

The Brasher Kiso/Kenai GTX is an excellent low-priced and reasonably light boot that will match the needs of many walkers who don’t need the ultimate in performance but want a good product.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2011


Brasher Hurricane GTX 2011

The Brasher Hurricane GTX is a good, robust shoe that has a slightly traditional look due to its brown colour but is making use of the latest materials. So the upper is primarily synthetic mesh, with a very tight knit to keep grit away from the Gore-Tex lining. Brown suede adds extra protection around the lower sides of the upper as well as on top of the toe to make this more durable on rougher terrain. The toe box and heel cup are both firm for good support on rough ground, and these areas are reinforced with extra synthetic layers to resist abrasion. Underfoot there is a good sole unit with widely spaced deep lugs for grip and to reduce clogging in mud. The stiffness is particularly good for general use in the valley and on the hill. There’s not a great deal wrong with the Brasher Hurricane GTX unless you prefer a more sporty design. The shoe is an all-rounder, so others are better for running and climbing. There are lower-priced options, of course, although they don’t offer the performance provided by the Hurricane.

Upper 1.6-1.8mm suede, synthetic mesh; Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole Brasher
Sizes 7-12 (men’s); 4-8 (women’s)
Weight 1008g (pair, size 11)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 72

The Brasher Hurricane GTX is an ideal all-round shoe that is great for walking and biking, but specialist rock and run-orientated designs are better for those activities.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2011