One question I get asked a lot is whether the perfect versatile and affordable first hiking boot exists. Could these Jack Wolfskin MTN Storm Texapore boots from Cotswold Outdoor (£90) be a contender for the title?
The hunt for the perfect hiking boot: I have had many intrepid but bootless ladies shopping about for a new pair of hiking boots ask me if I reckon the perfect affordable pair are on the market? The answer, sadly, is probably not – so much depends on where and when you want to wear your new boots, and I’ve found that some brands simply make boots which fit my (oddly shaped and narrow) feet reliably whilst others don’t.
Another question – are leather or fabric boots a better bet? You could debate their respective merits for hours, but my personal experience is that leather boots are a little easier to clean, take a lot longer to mould to your feet but are usually more comfortable when they do, are much heavier and require more love and care. Fabric boots tend to be lightweight and comfortable straight out of the box and so easier to wear over long distances, and more versatile if you want your boots for everything from the trail to walking the dog round the park.
So what adventures are you planning? If you want a pair of boots for a winter of Munro bagging and conquering winter crags, I’d invest in some leather boots (Meindls come highly recommended). However if you want a pair of comfortable, waterproof and easy to care for hiking boots for under £100, for day hikes and weekends in the country or for your travels, I’d suggest these Jack Wolfskin MTN Storm boots.
I’d always recommend trying boots on in person – Cotswold Outdoor are the perfect place to shop as you can try on tons of different styles and staff will give you a free boot fitting if you’re not sure of your size.
I chose these Jack Wolfskin Storms and first wore them for a weekend of exploring and coastal hiking in Devon in sun, rain and fog. I’ve found them consistently comfortable and light on the feet (they weigh 910g). Their Texapore coating keeps them rainproof, windproof and breathable. The high ankle structure does take a day or two to stop feeling stiff but also provides great support on rockier terrain. The Storms also look great and doesn’t feel bulky on your feet (grey and brown are also available, but I find dark colours the best if you want to keep boots looking vaguely clean).
Verdict: A great contender in the neverending search for the dream pair of hiking boots, the Storms are a versatile and waterproof and a great price at under £100.