First test

Han­wag’s scram­bling boot

Trail (UK) - - Contents -

Some of the best moun­tain ad­ven­tures come un­der­foot when you step off the well-worn foot­path and tackle rock­ier ridges head on. In Alpine re­gions get­ting to the foot of crags often in­cludes cross­ing glaciers or other large ex­panses of rel­a­tively level snow and ice, and it’s this mix of ter­rain that Han­wag’s Makra Combi is de­signed for. Equally this type of ter­rain can be found through­out Bri­tain’s high­est moun­tain re­gions when the snow ar­rives in win­ter. So does this make Han­wag’s Makra Combi a good choice for those head­ing onto more ad­ven­tur­ous Bri­tish moun­tain walks and scram­bles?

The Euro­pean Alpine styling of the boot is pro­duced with an up­per made from suede, as well as a very durable Cor­dura syn­thetic ma­te­rial with a Gore-Tex wa­ter­proof lin­ing in­side. A high rub­ber rand en­closes the boot for even more dura­bil­ity on rock­ier ground. Un­der­foot you get a Vi­bram Pepe sole unit with well-spaced lugs – wider at the toe – for bet­ter con­trol when scram­bling or climb­ing on smaller holds. The boot is stiff enough to be used with C1 flex­i­ble cram­pons, for cross­ing fairly level snow or glaciers.

Walk­ing

The boot is built on Han­wag’s Alpine Wide Last and has a slightly broader fore­foot than some other boots of this style, which will be wel­comed by any­one who has found other Alpine styles too nar­row. On the foot, the fit did feel nice and pre­cise with the big toe area feel­ing neat to al­low more ac­cu­rate place­ment on small footholds. Walk­ing along the flat there is a no­tice­ably smooth roll from heel to toe, with a slight rock­ing ac­tion at the flex point, and some good cush­ion­ing, which all helps to make a walk-in to the crags easy go­ing. Step­ping off the path is what this boot is about, though, and that’s where its cre­den­tials be­gin to show them­selves. The stiff­ness in the sole and up­per make the tran­si­tion from made path to scree path very sta­ble un­der­foot and you can use the stiff edges and the stiff toe to get a re­ally solid foothold on larger rocks. I could flat foot my way up the big­ger slabs in a very se­cure way, as there is just enough flex in the fore­foot to make this com­fort­able.

Scram­bling

Get­ting onto steeper rock, this boot per­forms at its best – with the stiff­ness and feel around the toe mak­ing it great for se­curely scram­bling along rocky ribs. It does not feel too clumpy, nor is it too bendy, so over­all it feels about right for scram­bling. I have used boots with a lit­tle more feel un­der the fore­foot but they tend to have less cush­ion­ing un­der­foot or are slightly stiffer, which makes them less suit­able for walk­ing on level ground.

Like many more scram­bling ori­en­tated de­signs, the sole lugs and heel breast are

not quite as deep as walk­ing boots, as you need that closer feel to the rock when scram­bling. This does mean the boot is not quite as se­cure as a pure bog-trot­ting ram­bling boot on muddy grass slopes. But you can't have ev­ery­thing in one boot and this is a com­pro­mise worth mak­ing if you’re head­ing onto rock­ier ground.

This boot does not feel par­tic­u­larly heavy and is light enough for scram­bling along rocky ground. It tips the scales at 1562g for a size 11 pair, which is very re­spectable, com­pared to oth­ers. Some heav­ier boots have deeper sole lugs and a stiffer up­per, mak­ing them more suit­able for more chal­leng­ing ter­rain. But for those need­ing a boot for scram­bling I’d say the Makra Combi is a good weight.

The price may sound steep at first glance, but it’s within a sim­i­lar range of other boots with its de­sign and per­for­mance cre­den­tials. So clearly while this is not a bud­get op­tion it sits well along­side other mar­ket lead­ers.

VER­DICT

Ex­cel­lent boot for its in­tended use of tack­ling scram­bles, via fer­rata and other rocky ridges, with the ca­pac­ity to be fit­ted with flex­i­ble cram­pons for glacier travel and sec­tions of level snow. Other boots are bet­ter for eas­ier ter­rain, but of course they can­not of­fer the per­for­mance of the Makra Combi on rock.

Weight 1562g (size 11) Up­per suede and Cor­dura fab­ric, Gore-Tex wa­ter­proof lin­ing

Sole Vi­bram Pepe

Sizes 6-13 (men’s); 3.5-9 (women’s)

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