Contour Trail (2012)

These are really comfortable boots that will feel great straight from the box. The fit is supportive yet easy enough to accommodate a variety of foot shapes. They’ve got a nice contemporary look, with metal lacing eyelets and reassuringly tough fabric. The laces are rather short, though – one to watch if you’ve got wide feet and need more room. The ankle cuff is lowish, but it’s soft and malleable, so grips the ankle comfortably. They’re stiffer at the toe than some, but have a fair amount of lateral flex, so they feel easy to walk in. They won’t provide much support on very uneven ground, though. The tongue seals reasonably well, so puddles aren’t a problem, and the waterproof/breathable lining ensures wet grass isn’t an issue either. There’s plenty of mesh in the uppers to keep them light and comfortable to walk in. The sole provides good shock absorption and grips very well on rock – not so well in mud.

Sizes: 38-42 (5-8)

Upper: Fabric/suede leather

Lining: Hydroban

Sole: Cushionlight

Weight: 1,000g

Men’s version: Yes

Contact: 0191 296 0212; www.contourboots.co.uk

*Published in Country Walking magazine, April 2012


Contour New Navigator 2011

With Contour known for producing quality boots for a low price it’s not surprising the New Navigators found their way into the top eight in Trail’s test. The leather upper has hardly any stitching in it, which virtually guarantees durability, and a stiffened toe box provides maximum protection from loose stones. Of all the boots on test, this one has the stiffest sole so you feel less through them, which some find more comfortable over longer distances. Though it has a wedge of EVA cushioning these boots felt less padded underfoot when compared to others on test and the tongue dug into the top of my foot no matter how I positioned it. On the sole the heel breast is impressive and the outsole features a grippy pattern that works well going downhill. The main downside to this boot – aside from the fact it looks a bit plain – is that it features no waterproof liner so you need to spend time caring for it to make sure it lasts – which can be a pain! At 1107g for the pair they’re not the lightest; but there’s no denying that – providing you look after them – you do get a durable boot for your money.

Weight 1107g (pair, size 39)
Upper materials calf leather
Waterproof lining none
Sole unit Contour + EVA
Women’s sizes 36-42
Men’s sizes 41-47
Website www.contourboots.co.uk

A stiff sole and sturdy leather construction makes the Contour New Navigator a heavier but durable 3-season option that will suit ‘traditional boot’ fans who don’t mind caring for their footwear.

Review by Phoebe Smith
First published in Trail magazine December 2011


Contour Trail

The first thing you notice when slipping this budget brand boot on, is the degree of padding all around the foot. The ankle has particularly good amounts, although that soon packs down and forms around your ankle. Comfort is also aided by the softness of the upper material in general. Perfectly suited to lower level walking, the sole unit is of a medium stiffness with fair amounts of lateral flex. Grip is not too bad on most surfaces, although the quite tightly spaced lugs on the sole can easily clog with mud, as happened on several occasions, making uphill going a little difficult. A longer fabric lace loop at the ankle really helps to force your feet back into the correct position, and keep them there, aiding comfort on longer walks.

VITAL STATS
Sizes:
40-48
Upper: Fabric
Waterproof/breathable lining: Hydroban
Sole: Cushionlight
Weight: 1,220g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 0191 296 0212; www.contourboots.co.uk


Contour New Navigator 2011

The Contour New Navigator has dominated the lower-priced end of the 3-season boot market for many years. For the price you get an exceptional quality of features and performance. The upper is made from top-quality leather that is virtually free of stitching so this is a very durable design. The upper is also stiffer than most boots and the toe box is solid, so your foot is well-protected from stray boulders when tackling the rockier British mountains. The outsole has a very aggressive lug pattern where the lugs are well-spaced to give a good grip without clogging up too easily with mud. There is decent stiffness too in the sole, which makes this ideal for long days on rockier mountains. It is very much a traditionally designed boot that is great for tackling rockier hills year after year after year.  But there are lighter boots out there than the Contour New Navigator if weight is your priority. Some higher-priced leather boots are more comfy, too, thanks to better internal padding, better shape and better ankle flex. It is not fully waterproof, so you will have to care for the leather to keep the water out, although with so little stitching water will not enter this boot easily in the first place.

Upper one-piece calf leather
Sole Contour rubber. EVA cushioning
Sizes 40-48 (men’s); 36-42 (women’s)
Weight 1744g (pair, size 11)
Made in Europe
Stores in the UK 120

The Contour New Navigator is the best boot available at its price for hill-walkers who want superior mountain performance for years to come.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2011


Contour Trail 2011

The Contour Trail weighs 308g (pair, size 11); synthetic fabric and suede upper; Hydroban waterproof lining; good outsole lug pattern for grip in mud; well-cushioned sole unit for use on hard surfaces. But the sole is very bendy and the upper is relatively soft and flexible, which restricts best performance to valley paths rather than more rugged terrain.

The Contour Trail’s soft sole flex makes this better suited to moors and valleys than hills and mountains.

First published in Trail magazine May 2011


Contour Track 2011

The Contour Track weighs 1232g (pair, size 11); fabric and suede upper with Hydroban waterproof lining; durable toe box; supportive heel; aggressive lugs for grip in mud; fair stiffness on sole for general use. But it feels a little less well-contoured to the foot, and the roll of the shoe is not as good as others; okay for general use but others offer more performance and comfort.

The Contour Track is a well-priced, good general shoe that is ideal for walkers, but many similar options exist.

First published in Trail magazine May 2011

Contour Nevada 2010

Contour boots were developed by Scarpa as a lower-budget alternative, and so they deliver great value backed up by boot-making expertise. These are designed specifically for the British walker and feature a broader fit to suit the wider British foot. They are well-cushioned and feature a good sole that manages to keep a grip even on very muddy British hillsides.

Design
The Contour Nevada is a lightweight leather boot that benefits from a Hydroban waterproof lining to keep the feet dry. The lining is well-protected by the upper as there is minimal stitching and no little corners where grit can slice away at the material if it should get trapped in a crease. The upper feels very soft and supple, and while there is an ankle cuff that is a notch higher than some others it is very soft and doesn’t restrict movement. This also helps keep a little more grit and grime from entering the top of the boot. Underfoot there is a very good sole unit which has a deep pattern of lugs, which grip well on mud and soft grass. The boot looks good for general walking on the easier terrain of lowland dales and moors.

On the hill
The Contour Nevada is instantly comfortable and I also liked that the foot feels quite close to the ground as this results in a very stable platform on every step. The soft upper and well-cushioned sole is very comfortable, and when used on soft ground the boots are excellent to wear. But the upper is so soft that as soon as these are worn on more challenging rocky terrain their drawbacks become very clear. The lack of stiffness means that the foot has to work much harder to stop it twisting and to keep a grip on uneven terrain. The toe box is quite soft too, so I would not want to take these over scree for example. I also found that I could feel jagged rocks underfoot more easily than some other boots. So when used on the moors and easier paths they were designed for, the Nevada is an excellent boot – but uneven ground does push its comfort to the limit.

Upper calf leather with Hydroban waterproof lining
Sole Contour with EVA cushioning
Sizes 41-47 (men’s); 37-42 (women’s)
Weight 1480g (pair, size 46)
Made in Romania
Stores in the UK 120
Stockist details tel. (0191) 296 0212; www.mountainboot.co.uk

 

The Contour Nevada has a durable leather upper with minimal stitching; Hydroban waterproof lining; aggressive outsole lug pattern with widely spaced lugs to prevent mud being trapped; good low-level ride improves stability. But the toe box and upper are quite soft and so offer less protection on rocky ground; sole flex allows some rocks to be felt underfoot; Hydroban waterproof lining may not be as breathable as some others. The Contour Nevada is a good boot for general walking but on rockier ground the softer toe box, sole flex and upper make it less comfortable than others.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2010


Contour Nevada 2010

The Contour Nevada weighs 1076g (pair, size 11); Hydroban waterproof lining; superb price for quality of materials; minimal stitching on leather upper; excellent stiffness and support; aggressive sole unit; great cushioning and comfort. But for more cash you can get a slightly stiffer boot (eg Contour New Navigator), which is better for rocky hill and mountain walking.

The Contour Nevada is ideal if £90 is your budget and you want a superb boot for country and hill-walking.

First published in Trail magazine May 2010


Contour New Navigator 2010

The Contour New Navigator is a very well-proven boot that has frequently been voted ‘Best Value’ in Trail. You get a great level of performance features for your money, including a top-quality leather upper that is built to take the knocks and scrapes from a day on rocky mountains, as it is virtually free of stitching to fray. The upper is also stiffer than most boots and the toe box is solid, so your foot will be well-protected. The outsole has a very aggressive lug pattern where the lugs are well-spaced to give a good grip without the sole clogging with mud. The sole is stiff too, which again is ideal for rocky ground. This is a superb traditional leather boot for those heading to the rocky hills of the UK and abroad on a regular basis.  But if you pay more you can get a lighter boot with a little more comfort from soft internal padding and a softer ankle flex. The Contour New Navigator is not fully waterproof, so you’ll have to care for the leather to keep water out (though with so little stitching water will not enter this boot easily). If you want a waterproof lining the £90 Contour Nevada would be a good choice, but it has a softer flex.

Upper one-piece calf leather
Sole Contour rubber, EVA cushioning
Sizes 40-48 (men’s); 36-42 (women’s)
Weight 1744g (pair, size 46)
Made in Europe
Stores in the UK 120

 

As in past years the Contour New Navigator is the best full-leather boot available at this price for hill-walkers who want superior mountain performance.
 
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2010


Contour Lady Nevada 2009

The Contour Lady Nevada weighs 1076g (pair, size 5); Hydroban waterproof lining; superb price for quality of materials; stitch-free leather upper; excellent stiffness and support; aggressive sole unit; great cushioning and comfort. But for more cash you can get a slightly stiffer boot, such as the Contour New Navigator, which is better for rocky hill and mountain walking.

Verdict: Buy the Contour Lady Nevada if £80 is your budget and you want a superb boot for country and hill-walking.

 

First published in Trail magazine May 2009


Contour New Navigator 2009

The original Contour Navigator and the New Navigator have been ‘Best Buys’ in Trail for a number of years. The advantage of this boot over most others is how much you get for your money. There is a relatively stitch-free leather upper, so it will be very water-resistant if looked after properly, very durable and ideal for tackling rocky mountain terrain. The upper is also stiffer than most boots and the toe box is solid, so your foot is well-protected. The sole unit has a very aggressive lug pattern that is also widely spaced, so mud tends to fall out rather than cling to the sole. The sole is nice and stiff too, which is again ideal for rocky ground. This is an astounding performance for the price tag, and it competes well with higher-priced boots in all departments. You’d have to spend over £100 to find something better than the Contour New Navigator. But for more cash you may get a better fit, and you may also get a little more comfort from extra internal padding and a softer ankle cuff flex where articulation is provided. Some will want a waterproof lining too (the Contour Nevada at £80 would be a good choice).

 

Upper one-piece calf leather
Sole Contour rubber
Sizes 40-48 (men’s); 36-42 (women’s)
Weight 1744g (pair, size 11)
Made in Europe
Stores in the UK 200+

Verdict: The Contour New Navigator is by far the best hill-walking, backpacking and scrambling boot under £100 in this test, and it is hard to find a better way to spend £85.

 

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2009

 



Contour Nevada

The soft leather uppers flexed easily and the high ankle cuff provided plenty of support.
A lightweight boot with good midsole support. An excellent lacing system keeps feet secure on rough ground and the chunky sole gripped well, especially on rock. Waterproof and not too much padding.

VITAL STATS
Colour: Brown
Sizes: 37-42 (Euro’)
Upper: Luxury calf leather
Waterproof/breathable lining: Hydro-Ban
Sole: Contour
Weight: 1,060g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 0191 296 0212, www.scarpa.co.uk
Verdict: The Nevada is a lightweight and sturdy boot that grips well on all terrain. Waterproof and durable – a quality boot for those shopping on a budget.

Contour Track

A clumsy looking shoe, but it’s well padded and reasonably broad, so feels very comfortable from the box. The speed-lace eyelet makes them easy to get on and off. Feels like a short boot rather than a beefed-up trainer and is reassuringly supportive on the hills. The deep tread is superb on soft ground but it loses out on weight and breathability.Tough, chunky and a little heavier and clumsier than many of its competitors, but is well-suited to typical British countryside. Excellent value for money.

Colour: Charcoal

Sizes: 7-12 (UK), 41-47 (Euro’)

Upper: Suede/fabric

Waterproof lining: Hydro-Ban

Sole: Contour by Skywalk

Weight: 1,100g

Women’s version: Yes

Contact: 0191 296 0212, www.contourboots.co.uk

Contour Fell

The contoured fit will really suit certain foot shapes – narrow at the heel and broad at the toe. However, having only five eyelets makes it hard to lace them up securely, which affects stability on the hill. Quite heavy, with a hard rubber sole that doesn’t provide much shock absorption on rocky ground. A very flexible toe and midsole makes them best-suited to easy, low-level terrain.

 

Colour: Anthracite
Sizes: 4-8 (UK), 37-42 (‘Euro)
Upper: Suede/Cordura
Waterproof/breathable lining: Hydroban
Sole: Tekna
Weight: 1,250g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 0191 296 0212, www.contourboots.co.uk

Verdict: Well-made budget-end boots that will suit those with broad toes. Quite heavy, though, with a flexible midsole that needs easy terrain to perform at its best.

 

First published in Country Walking magazine, April 2008


Contour Trail

A lightweight 3-season boot weighing 1516g (pair, size 11). Hydroban waterproof lining and excellent heel support for rocky ground; very aggressive lug pattern; good sole stiffness for rocky ground. However, there’s no underfoot cushioning; poor flex for general walking; upper not as durable as full leather; soft toe box not ideal for rocky ground.

 

 

Verdict: Buy it if you want a low-priced boot for hill and valley walking on most terrain and really cannot extend your budget.

First published in Trail magazine, April 2008


Contour New Navigator

The original Contour Navigator 3-season boot has been a ‘Best Buy’ in Trail for a number of years, but now there’s a new version, which looks just as good. The leather upper is very stitch-free, so it’s highly water-resistant if looked after properly, and also very durable and ideal for tackling rocky mountain terrain. The upper is also stiffer than most boots and the toe box is solid, so your foot is well-protected. The sole unit has a very aggressive lug pattern that’s widely spaced, so mud tends to fall out rather than cling to the sole. The sole is nice and stiff too, which is again ideal for rocky ground. This is an astounding performance for the price tag and it competes well with higher-priced boots in all departments.

 

Upper: one-piece calf leather
Sole: Contour rubber
Sizes: 40-48 (men’s); 36-42 (women’s)
Weight: 1744g (pair, size 11)
Made in: Europe
Stores in the UK: 180

Verdict: For more cash you may get a better fit and you may get a little more comfort from extra internal padding and a softer ankle cuff flex where articulation is provided. Some will want a waterproof lining too. If your budget is £70 to £80 and you want a durable, supportive leather boot for walking, scrambling or backpacking you won’t find anything better.

 

First published in Trail magazine, April 2008

 


Contour Track

This multi-activity shoe features  a Hydroban waterproof liner; durable upper; very protective toe box; very supportive heel cup; aggressive sole unit with good stiffness for rocky terrain. But waterproof lining may be sweatier than higher-priced versions; pedestrian style; a little ‘clumpy’; heavy at 1280g (pair, size 11).

Verdict: Buy it if you want a durable, waterproof shoe for walking on rough terrain.


Contour Navigator

This 3-season  boot has been a regular runner-up in Trail tests as there is little else to beat it at the price, or a higher price if you are a hill-walker. The upper is made from a very stitch-free top quality leather, so it is very water-resistant if looked after properly and also very durable and ideal for tackling on rocky mountain terrain. The upper is also stiffer than most boots and the toe box is solid, so your foot is well protected. The sole unit has a very aggressive lug pattern that is also widely spaced, so that mud tends to fall out rather than cling to the sole. The sole is nice and stiff too, which is again ideal for rocky ground. This is an astounding performance for the price tag and it competes well with higher priced boots in all departments. But for more cash you may get a better fit and you may get a little more comfort from extra internal padding and a softer ankle cuff flex where articulation is provided. Some will want a waterproof lining and there are plenty of boots that have one, including the equally well priced Contour Nevada at only £70.

 

Upper: one-piece calf leather
Sole: Contour rubber
Sizes: 40-48 (men’s); 36-42 (women’s)
Trail fit profile: forefoot 2; heel 2; volume 2; length 2
Weight: 1616g (pair, size 11)
Made in Europe
Stores in UK: England 151; Scotland 10; Wales 20; Ireland 2

Verdict: Buy it if your budget is £70 to £100 and you want a durable, supportive leather boot for walking, scrambling or backpacking and don’t want a waterproof lining


Contour Trail Junior

This is the lowest-priced kids’ walking boot we looked at, yet it is better than some higher-priced models if you are heading for the hills. It benefits from a waterproof lining which is tucked away behind a conservative upper. The upper is relatively plain and simple, so there is not too much stitching to wear out on rocky terrain. The outsole is pretty aggressive too, which is a real advantage of this boot over many others and this makes it ideal for tramping across grass and mud. This has a slightly lower ankle cuff than some boots here, so it is better for valley paths rather than the roughest of high mountain use.  But that sole unit is not as supportive and protective as some others and neither is the upper at the heel or toe box. This is the main drawback of this boot as it really restricts the boot to valley use rather than mountains. The lower ankle cuff is also better suited to the easier valleys rather than mountainous terrain.

 

Upper: suede leather and fabric, Hydroban waterproof lining
Sole: Contour
Sizes: 27-36 (junior); 41-47 (men’s); 38-42 (women’s)
Weight: 656g (pair, size 32)
Made in Bulgaria
Stores in UK: England 110; Wales 15; Scotland 30; Ireland 5

Verdict: Buy it if you want a low-priced boot for use on moorland and easier hill paths, rather than rockier mountain walks.


Contour Fell

These fabric boots from Contour are not the best fitting, being broad and roomy at the toe, yet with a fairly narrow mid section. They’re not helped a lot by the lacing, which uses only five eyelets rather than the usual six. They’re rather heavy and that broad toe makes them feel quite clumsy. The midsole is pretty flexible, making them better for softer/easier going, while the deep tread pattern works best on mud and soft ground.

Verdict: Budget-end boots that are well made from good materials. A little too soft for high level and rougher terrain, yet clumsy and quite heavy for easier surfaces.

Colours: Anthracite

Sizes: 7-12 1/2 (UK), 41-48 (Euro’)

Upper: Cordura/suede

Waterproof/breathable lining: Hydroban

Sole: Tekna

Weight: 1,500g

Women’s version: Yes

Contact: 0191 296 0212; www.mountainboot.co.uk