Tough, firm and flexible: footwear for big days out.
THIS YEAR, COUNTRY WALKINGhas WALKING has tested more pairs of walking boots than ever before. Leather and fabric, speedboat and supertanker: we’ve looked at pretty much every big-selling boot you’re likely to find in a gear shop or good website, and put it through its paces in every wild place we could find. In the next few pages you’ll see our findings, abridged but also fully updated after even more extensive use. Almost all of them come with a waterproof membrane, but there’s a huge variety in terms of features, weight, build and intent. So it can be hard to single out a boot that’s great for almost everything, but thankfully we have a fairly perfect example right here…
OUTSOLE Most walking boots are geared towards providing you with good traction over multiple surfaces – which means a good, complex tread pattern and an shape that either rolls naturally or bites deeply into the ground to keep you stable. Many boot brands partner with outsole specialists Vibram, who provide a range of designs based on what the boot manufacturer wants to prioritise. On this AKU Superalp boot, the biting heel and complex, sticky lug pattern are geared towards rocky and muddy terrain, providing great traction on the most uncertain of surfaces. TOE BOX A tough toe-box might add a bit of weight, but it doesn’t half give you confidence on rocky terrain where your poor old toes are your first line of defence. In this case the toe-box is part of a full wraparound rand, a polyurethane border which ensures that the circumference of your foot is protected from bumps and scuffs. Not all boots need this amount of protection, but here it works perfectly.