Im looking for a recomdation of a decent pair of leather walking boots . Over last 16 months i have had 3 pairs from a £125 pair of karrimors , a salamon pair and lightweigh but cheaper high tech . The salamons split after 4 months , the karrimors started to fall apart and the hi techs leaked .
I use Columbia, Merril and Keen. Lightweight walking shoes. Happy with them all.
The Columbias are old, coming apart and worn out, leak but I always reckon there is one more walk left in them.
The Merrils are the back up
The Keens are the new clean comfy ones so I dare not take them out where thay may get dirty.
I use Karrimor as they suit my feet but they never seem to be waterproof. Go to Sports Direct and buy Karrimor at half price which lessens the pain, Currently breaking in some Cheviots and so far fingers crossed.
If you want leather and are going to clean and treat them, then I like Meindl boots. They need cleaning and reasonably regularly waxing. My first pair remained waterproof for 10yrs. The sole still has viable tread but the tops are well worn and cracked now. The sole did separate a year back but a local real shoe repair shop was able to glue it for just £3. Still holding together and I use them for walking dog now when the WX is really bad. I have another pair of Meindl Burma Pro in use for 4 years now and have started breaking in another pair. I’m a diabetic and need to take great care of my feet… I can’t get new feet so spending money on decent boots and SOCKS is money well spent. Having another par of boots ready is great for SOTA expeditions when you’re away from home for a few days and you end up with a thoroughly sodden pair.
I’ve had 2x Karrimor KSB and 1x Karrimor Mid boots. The mid boot is a glorified training shoe and isn’t waterproof despite what the label says. Comfy but useless tread. 3x Lanzarote summits and 2x French summits and they were smooth. No cushioning in the footbed. Still worn but not “off road”
The first pair of KSB split after 10months, replaced under warranty. This is after various foreign holidays SOTAing. The replacement have lasted well being used in France, Czech Repb., Poland, Gran Canaria and Feurteventura. However, 9kms of volcanic rock track shredded the soles and they look tired now. Not waterproof. Use for dog walking in better WX.
North Face Hedgehogs. Training shoe but real Goretex, real Vibram sole. These retail for silly money £140 I think but an outlet shop had them for £50 in last year’s colours. Ripped the vendors arms off at that price. Fully waterproof, amazing grip and supremely comfortable. Stunning piece of footwear and maybe when these wear out, I’ll pay full price I’m that impressed.
Companies usually offer different boots for different purposes, and if you use them for something else you might not get the best out of them. Season, chance of rain or stepping in puddles, type of terrain, length of the hike, style (walk/climb/approach etc) and so on. Pay attention when you choose.
My current main boots are the popular Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX, which is a really solid 3-season all-rounder. For light trail hiking (or even in the city) I had a pair of Columbia Peakfreak Venture Low, which were pretty good but the foot couldn’t breathe properly in them and the soles were too soft and only lasted about 3 years. They’ve been replaced with the Columbia Canyon Point Low that are also pretty good, but they breathe a bit too much (and are not waterproof).
I have found Karrimor and Hi-Tec are budget brands really and I wouldn’t use them for more than dog walking or walks in the park. Timberland look good but are crap and Salomon are some of the best. The really good stuff, IMO: La Sportiva, Meindl, Lowa, North Face.
Although I really like the look and comfort of these brands (I’m wearing Keen sandals as I type) I’ve found their shoes aren’t completely waterproof, though that could just be the models I owned (can shoes be breathable AND waterproof?).
All my leather shoes and boots ultimately cracked then leaked on the outside (near the little toe) where the boot is constant flexing no doubt hastened by the wet/damp/dry cycling they get in the UK weather. I found Grisport and Brasher lasted the longest before leaking that way.
I prefer walking in shoes** whenever possible but you will need a three or four-seasons boot if activating in British winters. Activating a Scottish hill in shoes last year (on a short family visit and a hand-luggage flight) I spent the ascent hopping from one grassy clump to another to avoid going over my ankles in water.
**For diehard boots fans, I read that Reinhold Messner, one of the 1978 team to climb Everest without oxygen, walked up to the basecamp in trainers - apocraphal?
Try in the store before you buy. Pay as much as you can afford. Leather preferred always for off footpath work on boggy access land etc.
I have had 9 pairs of leather boots over the last 15 years, different makes Scarpa’s (3), Meindl (1), Altbergs (2), Mammut (1), Go Outdoors own brand (2) (no longer made but were very good). I still have Scarpa (3 season) and Mammut (4 season) currently in use. I have no brand loyalty.
The worst I had for longevity and probably the most expensive (£185 about 9 years ago) were the Meindl (sent back twice in 6 months for the sole to be reglued back on - still leaked), the most comfortable and lasted well, were the 2 pairs of Go Outdoors Tower Event (£85 but no longer made). I suggest you go to the place with a large choice of quality makes in your size such as Go Outdoors and try as many as you can. Buy what feels right.
Buy some good quality gaiters also for the boggy stuff. I like the Berghaus ones as you can wear those effectively without the bottom straps on as they can be removed as they are only velcroed on.
If you join Ramblers, you get an extra 10% off at Cotswold or Go Outdoors as well as supporting a worthwhile charity at the same time.
I have fairly small feet (Size 8 UK) but they are broad so finding a boot that would fit, be comfortable and last was difficult. I have worn out most of the big name brands (Scarpa are too narrow for my feet unless I go to 9 1/2 which are hopeless). I had a pair of Altbergs correctly fitted in a broad fit (I think the broadest size 8) several years ago and they have survived everything I have thrown at them on Scottish, English, Canarian and Madeiran hills and still function - plenty of care and regular waxing does wonders.
Unfortunately replacements will be in the King’s Ransom bracket
At least they are repairable (until the leather cracks)
I am size 10 / 11 and have broad feet top and i found scarpas are very tight when tried them on .
In go outdoors the best ones for wider feet seem to be hi tech and have noticed they do some higher range boots and do get 5 star reviews on the website . Worth a think .
About thirty years ago I needed some boots just for walking - I should add that my mountain boots had stiffening plates to aid climbing and scrambling, effective but you are glad to get them off at the end of the day. I wanted something hard wearing but more flexible and comfortable for relatively level walking than high mountain boots. Acting on a tip-off I went to a firm in an industrial estate that provides industrial footwear with toe protection. I got what I wanted from them, in real leather, for a fraction of the cost of walking boots from local outdoor shops, and thirty years later they are still good for a bit of light hillwalking though by now a bit scuffed up! One possible reason for their longevity is that I use an expensive oil that you can buy which keeps the leather flexible, but basically they are intended for use on construction projects and in heavy industry, they are basic, one style, one colour, not prettyfide like modern outdoor boots, but they are comfortable and do their job well.
I suspect that much of the footwear in the outdoor shops is sucker bait, looking good, sounding high tech when you read the discriptions, but designed to wear out rapidly…but I’m just an old cynic!
I have two pairs with toe protection for work and my other hobby. They’re fine at the start of the day but the back edge of the toe protection inevitably gives a bit of a rub. If I walk any great distance without doubled-up socks, even along a flat railway line, my toes are soon skinned.
i use Scarpa SL boots. admittedly not the latest version but the version that was out around 2005. I was a ‘poor’ student and bought them in the sale from Gaynor sports in Ambelside. They are still going strong. They are quite a stiff boot, suitable for walking crampons. Driving in them is quite an experience!
I have several pairs of boots mostly more than your price. BUT well within your limit;-
My wife and myself have a pair of Grisport walking shoes about six years old now. Waterproof/breathable membrane, good leather & Vibram sole. Tread worn a little but still perfectly waterproof and crack free, despite being used/abused for numerous dog walks when we are at home and exploring simple lowland areas when we’re in and out of the car. I can’t recommend a particular model but this example is
Grisport, an Italian brand is one of only two larger manufacturers of boots left in Europe, the other being a maker of military (mainly) boots in Yorkshire, I forget exactly where.
I’ve just picked one of their midrange boots. Vibram sole, almost no stitching to fall apart - which is why fabric boots nearly always fall apart sooner than leather, they have a membrane and look solid enough. There are pretty widely stocked so you can try before buying. Sympatex or Goretex membranes probably last longest but or Grisport boots & shoes have their own make of membrane and they still do not leak, no doubt a reflection of their desire for good boots at decent prices. (Buy now before we brexit or bust)