Other girls may lust over Louboutins, but I like hiking boots. I really like hiking boots. Mainly because I can actually walk around in them without falling over. Here’s my review of how my latest pair, HiGear Snowdown women’s walking boots, £44.99 from Go Outdoors, have dealt with a Christmas full of hills, dales and healthy doses of mud.
Product description: “Tough, comfortable and fully waterproof women’s boots for days out on the hills. The Hi Gear Snowdon walking boots are made from tough full grain leather, with a waterproof and breathable membrane that keeps your feet dry and comfortable on all-day treks. Their moisture wicking lining draws perspiration vapours away from the foot, avoiding any build up of friction or clamminess. They boast a cushioned EVA footbed and CMEVA midsole, keeping them lightweight but giving you the same level of comfort as a sports trainer.”
Hiking: First up, I’m a big fan of how the Snowdons look. Leather uppers, metal eyelets and stripy laces, yes please. None of this modern suede and plastic rubbish for HiGear – these are hiking boots that Victorian lady explorers would’ve happily laced up before discovering a new species. And they’re named after one of my favourite mountains, so it’s all starting off very well indeed. Straight out of the box, the Snowdons are soft and pliable and don’t need much breaking in. I wore them on a few little walks before I took them hiking and they felt super comfortable and well cushioned from the get-go. They’re also really light, despite their thick, grippy rubber outer sole. The only issue I had with them is that after a few hours of walking, their purported ‘moisture wicking lining’ gave up the struggle, and my feet felt pretty soggy despite my thick hiking socks.
Wading in rivers: It’s pretty silly quite how many hiking boots aren’t actually that waterproof. If you’re after a new pair, make sure you stay away from ‘water-resistant’ boots at any cost, and make sure you’ve got something that’s labelled as fully waterproof and that let you walk in streams and jump in puddles to your heart’s content. The Snowdons have so far gambolled happily in all watery sources I’ve submitted them to without a qualm. They’re also very warm and cosy in the cold and grip well on wet rocks and icy paths – I can’t wait to take them on a snowy trek.
Verdict: At under £50, the Snowdon is fantastic value for an instantly comfortable, durable and fully waterproof pair of hiking boots that also look very nice indeed. If you’re off travelling in hot and humid countries you’d be better off with a more wickable pair, but for budget-conscious hikers rambling in Britain and Europe this winter, or if you’re just after some boots that will keep your feet dry on icy walks to work, these beauties are ideal.