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.

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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%
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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%
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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%

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%

Mammut Magic Advanced High GTX (2016)

Features

The upper is made from synthetic leather that is three times lighter than leather, which is in part why the Mammut Magic Advanced High GTX is a relatively light boot at 1912g (pair, size 46). There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside and a rubber rand outside for more protection. A Vibram sole with deep, well-spaced lugs and a smooth climbing zone under the toe are provided, and stiffness is B3 category: stiffer than is needed for walkers. 4/5

Fit

The size range is very good: men’s 6-13 and women’s 4-9. Fit isn’t quite as precise and close as others but there is a bit more room in the toe than some narrow designs. The cuff is a notch higher than others and a little more supportive, which is great for a B3 climbing boot but restrictive compared to a B2 walking boot. 4/5

Comfort

The weight is great but the Mammut Magic Advanced High GTX isn’t as comfy on the foot as some other B3 boots. Comfort isn’t bad; it’s just that others are slightly softer at contact points on the foot. It feels less ‘clumpy’ than other B3 boots though. It’s also quite restrictive around the ankle cuff, which is normal for B3 boots, but walkers will find a B2 boot more comfortable. 4/5

In use

The sole stiffness and deep lugs make the Mammut Magic Advanced High GTX great when crunching though snow and tackling steeper terrain as it can provide a very secure platform on each step. You can fit crampons with a heel clip too for better grip. There is a smooth zone on the sole under the toe, which isn’t ideal for pushing off when walking; and the sole flex isn’t smooth enough for walking. Great for a B3 boot when climbing. 4/5

Value

The price is very good for a B3 boot; but you can get a very good B2 boot at this price. 4/5

Verdict

The Mammut Magic Advanced High GTX is a low-weight and well-priced B3 mountaineering boot but winter hillwalkers could get a more dedicated B2 walking boot for similar outlay. 4.0/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine January 2016

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Mammut Mt Trail XT GTX (2015)

Features

The Mammut Mt Trail XT GTX is a well-established 3-4 season boot and it’s now slightly stiffer than in the past to make it even better suited to snow. The upper is leather with minimal stitching and a full rubber rand for further durability. A Gore-Tex waterproof lining is provided. The ankle cuff is about 1cm lower than some models. The sole has deep, widely spaced lugs. 5/5

Fit

This boot is available in sizes 7-12 for men, with the nearest women’s option being the Merlon GTX at £220, which has more synthetic material and is sized 4-9. The Mt Trail XT GTX does not fit quite as precisely as some others with slightly more space around the toes. The ankle cuff is lower than some others but it does not fit quite as closely and does not flex quite as nicely as some. 4/5

Comfort

At 1978g (pair, size 11) the Mammut Mt Trail XT GTX is very light compared to others, although you don’t really notice the difference on the foot. It feels nice and comfortable with more space at the toes and a slightly firmer sensation in foot contact areas, although the differences are tiny (and in testing only noticeable when wearing different boots on each foot), so there really is not much in it. 4/5

In use

The lower weight of the Mammut Mt Trail XT GTX gives it an edge when walking in the hills, but it’s not quite as precise on rock when scrambling and the flex at the toe is not quite as smooth as others. However the differences are tiny, and generally it feels ideal for use on snow and rock. This is stiffer than it used to be but some others are very slightly stiffer at the toe, which is useful in snow. 4/5

Value

This is a great price for a good all-round winter boot that includes Gore-Tex in the mix. 5/5

Verdict

Unless you’re being really picky, there is little benefit in paying more as the Mammut Mt Trail XT GTX is a great-value boot. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine December 2015

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Mammut Redburn Pro (2015)

Features

The Mammut Redburn Pro is a fairly light shoe that offers incredible rock performance for its price. You get a stiff sole with a smooth climbing zone under the toe for better performance on rock. The other lugs are slightly shallow. The lacing provides a more precise fit for use on rock while a rubber rand offers durability. The upper is synthetic and suede with no waterproof lining. 4/5

Fit

The Mammut Redburn Pro comes in sizes 6-13 for men and 4-8½ for women, with that toe lacing helping to provide a very neat and precise fit that would be of benefit for more careful travel over rock. The tongue sits neatly and generally this felt a little less cumbersome than some other shoes. 5/5

Comfort

That lacing down the top of the shoe is well-padded by the tongue, so the Mammut Redburn Pro felt very comfortable and the upper generally appeared to mould to the foot. The toe is narrower than some shoes, so it may suit my narrow feet better than those with chunkier toes. The stiff sole was also comfortable without its stiffness being overbearing. 5/5

In use

On rock and when walking rocky paths the Mammut Redburn Pro is a great shoe. But the lugs aren’t ideal for muddier terrain as they’re fairly shallow, and there’s no waterproof lining, so again it is best to steer clear of boggy moorland with these. But use them on rocky ground and for approaching crags, and they’ll work well. 4/5

Value

An excellent price for a shoe offering this level of rock-orientated performance. But higher prices bring even better performance. 4/5

Verdict

The Mammut Redburn Pro is great for approaching crags and tackling rocky ground, but others have waterproof linings and deeper sole lugs for wet and soft ground. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine May 2015

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Mammut Brecon (2015)

Features

The Mammut Brecon’s upper is made of suede leather rather than full-grain leather, but it has minimal stitching while a Gore-Tex waterproof lining provides extra protection against the elements. The toe box is nice and firm, while a rubber rand in this area adds further protection. Underfoot a good stiff sole unit with deep lugs and a decent heel breast provides grip. 4/5

Fit

The Brecon is available in size 6½-13 for men and 4-8½ for women. The fit is good and close with a precise feel on the foot that would be good for scrambling and walking on rockier ground. The ankle cuff is slightly lower than some models and the boot is also well-cushioned for comfortable support. 5/5

Comfort

This feels comfy, with an easy walking action and a good level of support and stiffness for general walking. The toe box is well-stiffened to protect the foot, and the outsole is stiff enough to make rockier ground comfortable. At just 1732g (pair, size 11) this boot doesn’t feel quite as heavy as some others. 5/5

In use

Straight from the box the Mammut Brecon is great on the hill due to the support and stiffness it offers. The upper – being suede leather rather than full-grain leather – is a drawback for long-term performance, but that is why this is a lower-priced boot compared with others that are equally stiff and supportive. For many this won’t be a drawback but more regular users may value paying more. 4/5

Value

A good price for the stiffness and sole quality and less costly due to the suede upper. 4/5

Verdict

Very good on the hill; but more regular users may prefer a full-grain leather upper. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine May 2015

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Mammut Magic GTX (2015)

Features

The Mammut Magic GTX has a highly stitched upper made from a mix of velours leather and Dropstop synthetic textile. There’s a one-piece padded tongue with a high padded ankle cuff, while a full rubber rand affords protection around the edge while the sole is a deep-lugged Vibram Maton unit. Internally there is shaped ankle padding and a full-height Gore-Tex liner. The Mammut Magic GTX  has a semi-automatic crampon fitting. 4/5

Fit

The Mammut Magic GTX comes in sizes 6½ to 13 for men, and 4 to 9 for women. It has a nicely snug mid-volume fit that holds both the ankle and arch without being too restrictive. The toe box profile is ideal for walking and general mountain duties, while the ankle cuff is at the softer end of what you would expect for a B2 boot. 4/5

Comfort

The slightly softer upper of this boot makes it instantly more comfortable than most in our test. But that comfort may not be so good when more support would be of benefit, as the sole and upper aren’t quite as supportive as others. In other words this is great for general mountain walking, but perhaps less comfortable on more challenging terrain. 4/5

In use

The flex both longitudinally and laterally is softer than on some other boots, and the highly structured uppers allow a fair amount of movement. These features combined make the Mammut Magic GTX a lovely boot to walk in, but on more challenging terrain all the comfort adds up to a slight lack of sensitivity. 4/5

Value

The Mammut Magic GTX is fantastic value if you’re looking at a winter boot aimed at walking rather than tackling challenging terrain. 5/5

Verdict

The Mammut Magic GTX is a very comfortable boot best suited to walking rather than challenging terrain. 4.2/5

www.mammut.ch

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine January 2015

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Mammut Merlon GTX (2014)

Features

The Mammut Merlon GTX’s dazzling upper is made from layers of leather and synthetic textile with lots of stitching, which may not have the durability of leather boots with less stitching. There is a full rand though for extra protection, and a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. The ankle cuff is slightly softer than others, too, and the lug pattern is slightly less aggressive. 4/5

Fit

The boot comes in sizes 6.5-12 for men with no women’s version. The fit is nice and close without being too narrow or too baggy. The toe is a good general profile for a mix of walking and scrambling without being restrictive. The ankle cuff was slightly softer than others, leading to a feeling of more freedom of movement in this area. 5/5

Comfort

The slightly softer upper of this boot makes it instantly more comfortable than most here. But that comfort may not be so good when more support would be of benefit as the sole and upper are not quite as supportive as others. This is great for use below snow and on rocks, but perhaps less comfortable on more challenging terrain. 4/5

In use

Below the snowline the Mammut Merlon GTX is great, but on the snow the softness may not be ideal. Furthermore the outsole lug pattern is quite shallow with only a small heel breast, which means grip won’t be so good on soft snow.  Use it for scrambling or walking over rockier ground and it’s a winner, but others have the edge on snow. 4/5

Verdict

The Mammut Merlon GTX is great for year-round walking, as long as you don’t need the best performance on snow.

4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2014

www.mammut.ch

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Mammut Ridge High GTX (2014)

The Ridge High GTX is described by Mammut as a boot for via ferrata and backpacking. At 1476g (pair, size 11) it is certainly light, which is useful on via ferrata routes and when scrambling. The upper is softer than many boots in its price range and the foot also feels closer to the ground, which overall gives this a feeling of a multi-activity shoe rather than hillwalking boot. But there is more support in the heel cup than a shoe and also the toe box gets a rubber rand for more protection. The ankle cuff is quite stiff too, which feels a little uncomfortable compared to some other more conventional boots. The outsole is quite flexible, again making this feel a little like a multi-activity shoe. The lugs are quite deep and widely spaced, though, and the grip on soft ground is good. There is also enough stiffness in the sole to prevent stones pressing through the sole unit. For me the Mammut Ridge High GTX is a rather odd boot. I can see it being useful for valley, moor and hillwalking and even for trekking, but for mountain scrambles I’d prefer something a little stiffer throughout. The bid advantage is the weight of course, so you need to be keen on that weight saving to compensate for the performance difference compared with other more mountain-orientated boots.

Upper materials suede leather, synthetic textile

Waterproof lining Gore-Tex

Sole unit IronGrip, triple density cushioning

Men’s sizes 6.5-13

Women’s sizes none

Weight 1476g (pair, size 11)

Website www.mammut.ch

Verdict

The Mammut Ridge High GTX is a very lightweight boot but the ankle cuff, upper and sole combination is an unusual mix that delivers a unique performance that you might have a love-hate relationship with.

Features 5

Design 3

Comfort 4

Performance 3

Value 3

Overall rating 3

Review by Graham Thompson

Just missed out on being in Trail magazine May 2014

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Mammut Magic GTX (2014)

At 1908g for a size 11 pair, the Mammut Magic GTX is the second lightest and the lowest-priced boot in our test, so it’s instantly appealing, as all 4-season boots are relatively heavy and pricy compared with bendy 3-season boots. The upper is made primarily from synthetic materials with leather overlays and there’s a large amount of stitching here, which may mean that in the long term this may not be as durable as higher-priced boots with less stitching. But you do get a large rubber rand to protect that upper and of course you may only wear these boots a few times a year. Underfoot you get a decent Vibram sole unit with good, deep, widely spaced lugs that are ideal for snow and ice. There’s also a smooth area under the toe for better performance when scrambling or mountaineering. The Mammut Magic GTX provides a close fit with a toe area that’s well-designed to provide good performance when walking and reasonable performance when climbing, although the more profiled boots are more precise for the latter activity. The ankle also flexes nicely forward, making this boot feel really good when walking. It’s ideal for most British winter hillgoers, and a very good price, but if you pay slightly more you should get more durability in the upper and extra insulation.

Upper materials Dropstop synthetic with leather overlays

Waterproof lining Gore-Tex

Sole unit Vibram Maton

Women’s sizes 4-9

Men’s sizes 6.5-13

Weight 1908g (pair, size 11)

Website www.mammut.ch

Verdict

For most British winter walkers the Mammut Magic GTX offers superb value and performance. Only those looking for the ultimate in long-term performance, or who are heading onto more technical ground in colder conditions, need look elsewhere.

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine January 2014

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Mammut Merlon GTX (2013)

The Mammut Merlon GTX appeared in Spring 2013 and it is very competitively priced for its specification, as well as a good weight of just 1746g (size 11 pair). It has a Gore-Tex waterproof lining behind the upper, made from layers of leather and synthetic materials with a rubber rand to provide extra durability. The ankle cuff is a notch lower than some boots and also a little more flexible, so this boot feels great for walking – but when mountaineering you might prefer more ankle support. Underfoot there’s a very good sole with reasonably deep lugs that are well-spaced to prevent clogging. You also get a smooth climbing zone under the toe. The toe is slightly more pointy than some boots and this, combined with the close fit, makes it ideal for scrambling, via ferrata and climbing. The only drawback is that the Mammut Merlon GTX isn’t as stiff in the sole or as supportive in the ankle as some higher priced options, so for longer days on snow-covered slopes, other boots have advantages. A great option for those that don’t need the ultimate performance in snow but do want low weight and good performance on rock.

Upper materials suede leather, synthetic

Waterproof lining Gore-Tex

Sole unit Vibram Maton

Women’s sizes none

Men’s sizes 6.5-12

Weight 1746g (pair, size 11)

Website www.mammut.ch

Verdict

The Mammut Merlon GTX is a relatively lightweight boot that’s very well-priced and ideal for scrambling, via ferrata and easy snow slopes.  It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award.

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2013

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Mammut White Rose GTX (2012)

Great-looking boots featuring Raichle’s footwear technology, which gives a snug and secure fit, with a narrow and supportive heel and arch, and a wide yet secure toe box. The lacing system is excellent, with a well-placed locking eyelet that makes sure the foot is held securely in place, even on steep descents. The ankle cuffs are high and supportive yet soft and unobtrusive. There’s plenty of lateral stiffness in the midsole to cope well with all types of terrain, and there’s a nice rolling action at the toe. The Vibram sole unit offers great shock absorption and provides plenty of traction on firmer terrain, but the lugs do have a tendency to clog up on softer, muddier ground.

Sizes: UK 4–8½
Upper: Nubuck leather/textile
Waterproof/breathable lining: Gore-Tex
Sole: Vibram
Weight: 1,300g
Contact: www.mammut.ch
; 01625 508218


Mammut Monolith GTX (2013)

The Mammut Monolith GTX has been around for a few years now, and it’s well-priced for what you get. The boot has a slightly more ‘mountaineering’ appeal than some others, but it’s equally attractive to those who prefer a little more support when walking. The upper is a mix of fabric and leather, with a Gore-Tex lining to provide waterproof protection and a full rubber rand to provide protection against abrasion. The ankle cuff is quite high, which is great when climbing or scrambling but also good if you prefer more support when using the edges in snow. The boot is slightly narrower than some others with a good precise feel at the toe, which again is great when climbing or scrambling, and also ideal for using those edges in snow. To further enhance its climbing potential there is a smooth ‘climbing zone’ on the sole beneath the toe, while the deep lugs along the remainder of the sole are good for keeping a grip in snow. So the Mammut Monolith GTX is a good boot for those who prefer a little more of a mountaineering feel to their winter footwear, but it is also perfectly good for walking as long as you like a more supportive ankle cuff.

Upper materials leather and textile
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram Teton
Women’s sizes 4-9
Men’s sizes 6.5-13
Weight 2010g (pair, size 11)
Website
www.mammut.ch

 

Verdict
The Mammut Monolith GTX is a well-priced boot that is biased towards the mountaineer but it is good for walkers too if you prefer a little more support. It won the ‘Best Value’ award.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2013


Mammut Appalachian GTX (2012)

There are not many boots in the 3-4 season category that are available in a ladies’ version, but happily the Mammut Appalachian GTX is one very good option that
does comes in both men’s and women’s fit. The boot is designed as a lightweight alpine boot with a waterproof lining beneath the upper to keep feet dry, and on this boot this lining is important as there is a synthetic mesh area around the tongue that would leak without a waterproof lining. The upper is mainly made from leather, though, and there’s a full rubber rand for maximum durability. The outsole is a good, very aggressive Vibram sole unit with deep lugs and a deep heel breast for a sound grip, and this is ideal for tackling snow, slush, rock and scree. There is good cushioning too for rockier ground. The boot has excellent lateral stiffness for negotiating rocky ground and edging in snow, while the boot’s toe-to-heel flex
is slightly softer than some 3-4 season options but still good for easier winter conditions and general year-round use. The Mammut Appalachian GTX does not give the most precise feel when scrambling, but it is again fine for general walking on a mix of mountain terrain.

Upper materials nubuck leather, textile
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram MT Traction
Women’s sizes 4-8.5
Men’s sizes 7-12
Weight 1956g (pair, size 11)
Website
www.mammut.ch

 

The verdict
The Mammut Appalachian GTX is a very good year-round boot that is lighter than some options, and it also comes in women’s sizes as well as men’s.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2012