Leading journalist and gear testerÂ FionaOutdoorsÂ gets to grips with some lightweight summer boots from Italian brand Asolo.
Asolo Ellery walking boots:
Do you know much about the Asolo walking boots brand? I was mostly aware of Asolo as simply a well-fitting and good-looking brand. Asolo makes a winter walking boot that fits my long, narrow feet. They are also lightweight enough not to weigh down my fairly light female frame while walking. This is a bonus on winter walks in Scotland. And while I know that good looks in outdoor kit shouldnâ€™t really matter, Asolo do make lovely looking boots in great colours!
Until now I had not tried their summer walking boots. In fact, my summer walking boots of choice are Salomon and I knew it would take a lot to persuade me that anything is better than the trainer-like boot that I prefer to wear in warmer and drier weather.
I also did a bit of research and found out that Asolo are an Italian brand that have been designing and manufacturing boots since 1975. The product range covers footwear from the most technical alpine demands to more relaxed leisure activities. So they should know their stuff.
Asolo Natural Shape boots
There are four menâ€™s and four womenâ€™s boots in the Asolo Natural Shape range. I was sent theÂ Asolo women’s Ellery boots, which are meant for lighter walking in warmer climes.
Built to Asolo’s Natural Shape design, the Ellery uses a sole that is meant to mimic the shape and flex of your foot to give you a feeling of freedom and comfort. This is rather like wearing trainers in my opinion.
But the boots, with a Vibram/Asolo Natural Shape sole, do still offer the grip and traction that you would expect from a hill-walking boot.
Asolo Ellery features include:
Weight: 335g (single boot, size 5)
Upper: Water-resistant suede and nylon mesh
Footbed: Natural Shape anatomic footbed
Midsole: Shock absorbing moulded EVA
Outsole: Vibram/Asolo Natural Shape sole
On test: Asolo Ellery walking boots
Popping my feet into the Ellery boots wearing thin socks (these are summer boots after all so no thick socks are required!) and I immediately knew the boots were going to be slipper-comfortable. There were no rough edges or rigid sections, just a lovely rounded and comfy boot.
The footbed is soft, but not too soft, and the forefoot area of the boots really does seem to mould to your foot shape. I have narrow heels but there was no lift in the boots. They boots can be tied easily and they have two open hooks on the mid height ankle.
Everything about the boot shouts cushioning and comfort from the rounded toe to the padded ankle and tongue.
But the boots arenâ€™t overly bulky. They feel more like trainers. The Â outers are made from a lightweight and breathable mesh combined with suede, which is more water resistant than waterproof. This is fine for summer hiking in drier conditions.
Walking in the boots feels “natural”, just as it says on the label. My feet felt connected to the ground. I could feel the terrain through the sole but not in a bad way. Rather I could feel where I was walking in a natural, bare-foot kind of way.
The sole is flexible so you could, if you really wanted, break into a short run. They are not ultra aggressive or grippy so beware of walking in rocky mountains in wet or damp weather.
The boots suit easy-going off-road trails and hills and are perfect of summer walking in good weather.Â I also like that the boots come in UK 3.5 to 9.5 for women. Â£120 is a competitive price for a boot of this type.
Oh, and the plum and graphite colour combination makes for a good-looking boot. Not that it’s that important!