No more sweaty feet, claim these new breathable hiking boots.
Swiss gear manufacturer Mammut is one of the first to use this Gore-Tex Surround technology, offering 360 degree breathability, in a bid to keep walkersâ€™ feet comfortable, dry and odour-free.
Itâ€™s a tall order, as I know what my feet are like after a day on the hill. Well, letâ€™s just say, you wouldnâ€™t want to share a tent with me.
So I was interested to see what this new footwear had to offer. They come in a boot or shoe style. I chose the boot, in red and black.
â€¢ Rolling Concept Gripex sole
â€¢ Liquid rubber rand
â€¢ Gore-Tex Surround protection
â€¢ Cushioned bellows tongue
â€¢ Arch support
â€¢ Weight, 918g size 8.5
Mammut GTX Surround Comfort High Boot on test
First impressions are good â€“ I always think leather walking boots can look a bit old-fashioned, and these are anything but. The red mesh and two-tone sole look modern and out of the ordinary.
A size nine is usually fine for me, and this was a pretty good fit with a medium weight sock. They laced reasonably easily, although sometimes the two eyelets either side didnâ€™t quite catch the lace. Once on, they feel secure, and the cushioning around the ankle is very good, coming up higher than usual over that bumpy bit (lateral malleolus, since you ask).
Thereâ€™s a red mesh lining around the boot, with a liquid rubber hybrid shell bonding it to the ripstop textile upper. The mesh looks tough, but could be susceptible to snagging in rough terrain.
The Gore-Tex Surround part means just that â€“ the internal waterproof membrane passes under the foot, and the â€˜spacer areaâ€™ between sole and heel is vented, and helps the air flow by up to 30%. So this, in turn, stops your feet getting too sweaty. Apparently.
The Gripex sole is made from two types of rubber, with different hardness, presumably to increase durability and help with grip. And it does look nice in grey and black. That breathable, mid sole section is made from an ethylene-vinyl acetate, or EVA, and also acts as a shock absorber. Thereâ€™s an angle on the ribbed heel, and the ribbed front comes right up to overlap that liquid rubber toe protector.
I can’t say I noticed whether my feet were any less sweaty after a good three-hour hike â€“ although they were a bit damp. However, these are really comfortable lightweight boots which I feel I could walk all day in. Amazingly comfortable straight out of the box â€“ and I normally (but not this time) use Superfeet insoles in all my boots. The sole is rigid, but has a decent amount of flexibility. The sole is built to cradle the foot when you walk to reduce any natural rolling from side to side. This seemed to work. On really uneven terrain I did notice my foot slipping slightly, but no more than with other boots I wear. I walked in a lot of mud, and I slipped a few times, but I guess most boots would have difficulty in those conditions. I noticed the heel of the boot got clogged with mud quite quickly and stayed clogged, which didn’t help with grip, but the sole seemed to stay clear. The rubber rand or toe cap is brilliant, as it takes the knocks, and keeps excess water away from the uppers.
At one point I slipped in a bog right up to the ankle. My foot felt freezing, due to the light insulation, and I really thought that some water had got in, but thankfully I was bone dry.
So â€“ definitely a great lightweight hiking boot for the spring and summer â€“ but the jury’s out on whether you’ll want to be sharing a tent with me anytime soon.