“ Men's Walking Boots „
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.
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.