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I have been wearing Brasher boots for about 12 years. I am now on my 3rd pair and they are Hill Walker GTX boots. The reason that I keep buying Brasher rather than other brands that I have tried is that they provide the perfect balance between comfort, water-proofness, durability and cost. It has to be said that Brasher boots do not last as long as some other brands, but for the money they are excellent value. In sunny weather, my feet do get a bit hot, but then in sunny weather it's okay to take a break and take the boots off for a while to let my feet breathe. I think it is the Goretex that makes them so hot in warm weather, but then living in the UK there are many more occasions that you need the Goretex because it's wet than that the Goretex is a nuisance because it's hot! I find Hill Walker GTX boots to be a very comfortable weight, unlike some other boots I have had that have been very heavy. They are generally pretty comfortable over all terrains, but are not suitable for crampons and don't provide brilliant grip on ice and snow. In summary, they are excellent value and are to be recommended for UK hill-walking.
As a family we do lots of walking in all weathers and all terrains. I think it's really important that everyone in the family has the right gear to ensure they stay comfortable and this includes good hiking boots. I have had a pair of Merrell hiking shoes for many years and they have covered hundreds of miles with me keeping my feet comfortable. However a few months ago I noticed that the soles were showing signs of wear and the material uppers were beginning to look their age. So I decided it was time to hit the high street in search of another perfect footwear purchase! I had wanted to buy another pair of Merrells but the style I had previously was no longer available and others in the Merrell range just didn't seem to suit my feet. Like many people I have odd shaped feet with my left foot wider than my right. I tried on dozens of pairs of both boots and shoes until I finally found a pair of boots that seemed comfortable. The boots in question were the Brasher Hillwalker GTX. What you get for your money. ************************* The Brasher Hillwalker GTX are a cheaper version of the Brasher Hillmaster, The main difference (apart from the price) is that the Hillmaster are leather lined and they also come in half sizes. The Hillwalker is sold in Millets and Blacks and I think is their exclusive design. The boots are dark brown leather and have a soft padding around the ankle. As these are boots they give good ankle support. My previous Merrells were shoes so gave no ankle support although this had never caused me any problems! They are lined with Gore-tex making them completely waterproof, whilst still being breathable. This should ensure your feet will stay dry and warm in winter and dry and cool in the summer. The boots have really thick rubber soles with excellent looking tread. The boots are lightweight- although they look heavy. My experience. ************* When I first tried on these boots they felt comfortable with good length and width. My only misgiving was that they have a very high tongue and this seemed to dig into the front on my ankles. I was reassured by the helpful staff in Millets that the tongue would soften in time and cause me no problems. I always wear a pair of hiking socks with my boots so thought this would give me added protection. However a few months later and the tongues were no softer and these boots were causing me serious pain when I walked! I would like to say here that I always follow a few useful tips when buying boots or shoes and thought I'd pass the tips on, hope they will help! When you go to buy either shoes or boots ensure you are wearing the same thickness of sock you will wear with the boots or shoes. When you first put the boots or shoes on push your foot to the end of the shoe without lacing them up. You should be able to get your pointing finger down behind your heel. You can also take out the inner sole and then stand on it to see how your foot fits the shape of the shoe. Although I did all these things the boots still were not right for me and I ended up giving them to a friend, who they do seem to suit! On the positive side the boots are completely waterproof and kept my feet warm and dry even in extreme weather conditions and when walking through burns! They will need to be kept clean and re-proofed to ensure they remain waterproof. I paid around £90 for these boots but see they are on offer at the moment for £64.99 in both Blacks and Millets. If you are tempted by these boots then it is worth noting that Millets and Blacks have a 28 day money back guarantee, so that as long as you don't wear the bots outside you can get your money back if they don't suit you. I suggest you take advantage of this and wear the boots around the house for a few hours a day!
I am very keen on walking. Every weekend will see me, rain or shine, tramping through local woodlands, exploring wonderful nature reserves, or wandering around the hills of North Wales. This sort of high mileage, all terrain walking puts great demands on the shoes I wear and, after several disasters; I've found a boot that suits my needs perfectly. The Brasher (pronounced BRAY-zher) Hillwalker GTX boot is a slightly cheaper version of one of the most famous and enduring walking boots; the Hillmaster. At around £90, the Hillwalker is not cheap, but is extremely tough and well made. The boots are brown leather, 100% waterproof, windproof, and breathable due to their Gore-tex lining. Although looks are not too important for a walking boot (it's not a fashion item, after all), these are quite nice looking. The brown leather gives them a rugged, classic look that is timeless in appeal. They are quite high, completely covering the ankle and giving superb support with a padded area around the top of the boot. The boots are quite narrow, and seem difficult to get on, but once the foot is inside, they are supremely snug and comfortable. It's important to lace up the boots reasonably tightly to give a 'seal' around the top of the boot. This prevents water seeping in and gives the best support to the ankle. I have stumbled several times, turning my ankle, when wearing these and am convinced that, without the support of the Hillwalkers, I would have damaged my ankle. These boots do need a little 'breaking in', but not much. Wearing them around the house for a couple of days before their first hike should be enough to avoid blisters. They have a Gore-tex lining which makes them breathable (a 10 mile hike in warm weather can make a foot produce an awful lot of sweat!), keeping the feet dry and warm, but not overheated. The boots are also completely waterproof. The 'tongue' is integral to the boot, so there are no holes for water to seep into. On my size 9's, the boots are almost five inches high; I can walk through water or mud of a depth of 4 inches and not worry about getting my feet wet. The boots have a hard rubber sole, with a small amount of 'give' and a deep tread pattern. These are excellent in soft ground, and on packed, hard earth, giving plenty of grip. They are, however, reported to be less effective on rock than other hiking boots, so if your walking is going to be mainly on rock, it may be better to look elsewhere. I've had these boots now for over a year and must have walked over 1,000 miles in them, and they still look like new. They are incredibly tough and hardwearing. There's no sign of their hard life, with all the lacings still intact and no scratches or other damage evident on the leather. Despite their toughness, the boots are quite lightweight. To me, the weight appears similar to a 'normal' pair of shoes. When walking, there's no feeling of having two large weights at the end of my feet and I can walk for miles without my feet feeling heavy. It is, however, important to look after walking boots. After a walk, my boots are dried out at the bottom of the airing cupboard (it's important not to use heat, as this will crack the leather), any mud is removed before they're stored away. I bought a pot of "Brasher Conditioning Cream" with the boots and use this every other week after cleaning the boots with warm, soapy water. Once polished, it's no exaggeration to say that the boots look as new, as if they've just been taken out of their box for the first time. These boots are then, "made for walking". I use these for all my walks and slipping them on at the start of the day is like putting on an old pair of comfortable slippers. I know that they'll keep me dry, will protect my ankles, and that I can walk for miles in them without my feet getting sore. The Brasher Hillwalker boots are a real quality product that will, if looked after, last many years and many thousands of miles. I know that when, eventually, I replace my pair, they'll be substituted with another pair of Hillwalker boots.
Leather boots with gore-tex lining and rubber soles.