“ Brand: Land's End / Type: Boots „
There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than having your holiday ruined by sore feet. Unfortunately this is something I usually suffer from at least once on my longer trips away. I dont consider myself a hiker and so probably underestimate the amount of walking Im going to do and therefore the type of shoe Ill need.
I knew I would need something sturdy, weatherproof and comfortable for walking in for my trip to Germany and spotted the Extreme Squall Boots when browsing on the Lands End website. I was convinced we would see snow and keeping my feet dry and firmly on the ground were my primary concerns. I knew the boots were not dedicated walking boots but they looked like they could withstand a days pounding of city streets and a bit of countryside tramping.
After one false start when I ordered the boots by the American size by mistake my boots arrived. I had chosen hot pink bound to make a statement in the Rhineland and the colour certainly didnt disappoint. The upper is a combination of a manmade material called Supplex and suede. The heel and toe have a textured black covering on the parts most likely to take a knock. There is a sturdy and well-stitched suede tag at the back of boots to help pull them on and off. The breathable lining is made from a fleecy charcoal colour fabric.
The fastening looks like laces but is actually a length of strong pink elastic which is threaded through nylon loops which pass through the tongue once to make them extra secure. Lands End refer to this as a bungee lacing system. At the end of the elastic there is a plastic clip that binds the two ends and a sliding clip that allows you to pull the elastic tight when you have made your adjustments. The tongue is completely stitched in until almost the top making it impossible for the elements to penetrate.
Pressing down on the toe, there is very little movement and feeling from the inside you can tell the toe is reinforced; the heel is the same. The nylon eyeloops are also extended and stitched into the upper to provide a strong supportive skeleton. The inner sole is slightly cushioned and rises high in the instep; it also rises quite high on the outer edge of the heel.
WEARING THE BOOTS
The first problem was getting the boots on although I tried to convince myself that it would get easier with wear; so far that hasnt happened. It is difficult to get the elastic open enough to get the boot on easily and while the tab at the heel does help, its still a matter of wrestling your foot into the boot. Once in, however, its easy enough to adjust the elastic to suit.
I wore the boots for two days to work to try to break them in and then they were worn for three consecutive days for city and rural walking including hill climbing. On wet ground the chunky soles did not slip, even on mossy stones and wet bracken. When it rained my feet stayed dry and the materials did a good job of repelling water. The boots have been subjected to one heavy downpour and while they got damp, they dried pretty quickly. My feet stayed warm and snug in the snow and cold temperatures.
However, while all this sounds good, the ankle is extremely rigid and shows no sign yet of relaxing. My ankles and lower calves ached - even on the days after Id worn the boots, not just while wearing them. If they had been specifically walking boots Id have expected them to maintain a significant degree of support but these are not meant for heavy walking and are basically too rigid.
The other problems I found was that the instep was too high and made my arches ache and that the inner sole rose a little too high and the outside edge of my heel rubbed against it and became quite sore. This only lasted a couple of days and no longer happens as the inner sole seems to have been squashed a bit in that place but it was quite uncomfortable for a few wears.
In future I will wear the boots in snowy weather but not for any extended walking. They are perhaps the sort of thing you might wear walking to the shops or the pub in the snow or perhaps while on your way to work, changing into your usual shoes when you get there. I was impressed by the strength of the grips and at how warm they kept my feet.
The Extreme Squall range also has a shoe which might be more preferable given the problems I found with the boots; at least being lower at the ankle they shouldnt give any problems with the stiff ankles.
Both the boots and the shoes are available for me and for women. And if hot pink isnt your colour, they come in a range of colours, lurid and laid back.
I paid £45.00 for my boots but they are now reduced to £35.00 for the boots and £25.00 for the shoes.
Warm, breathable fleece lining. Secure bungee lacing system. Rugged, water-repellent suede nylon uppers.