Which? Carried out a lab test on eleven of the best selling hiking boots in the UK, according to outdoor retailers and manufacturers. They chose three-season boots and although men's boots were tested, there are female equivalents available. They put the boots under tough,boot camp rigours. Their soles were ripped off and worn down flexed on a revolving belt and dunked in water tanks – testing them in the industry standards.
As well as the lab testing, it's vital to know how comfortable each boot is, and the only way to do this was to put them through their paces by hiking experts who trekked 36 miles over the muddy and rocky terrain of the Lake District. What Which? Found was that you needn't need pay over the odds for a high performing, durable, comfortable hiking boot, in fact you can get a top class boot for less than £100 Lightweight boots faired well overall. In the lab, all models met industry standards in the grip tests.
The Brasher's Hillmaster only managed to pass 3 of the 4 shock absorption tests - a boot with better shock absorption minimises the impact you feel from hiking The abrasion tests showed that none of the soles wore down badly, so they would stand the test of time, a true benefit if you have spent a small fortune on the boots. Several of the boots, including the popular Hi-Tec Fasthike boots, scored quite poorly when Which? pulled apart the materials to test how adhesive they were. A few of the models let water in during their seven-and-a-half hour stint in the tanks.
However, several of the boots that were waterproof, weren't as impressive in the in the breathability tests.
The Berghaus Explorer Light boots were the users overall favourites in the comfort test. They were also very impressed with the comfort of the Brasher Hillmaster and both Hi-Tec models.
The Karrimor Penrith eVent boots were deemed too soft underfoot and one user said he “could feel stones through the bottom of the boot,” while the Scarpa Ranger at £140 seemed too stiff and heavy “like wearing deep-sea diving boots.”
The eleven boots which were tested were the Scarpa Ranger and ZG65 models, Meindl Softline Ultra GTX, Karrimor Penrith eVent, Brasher Hillmaster and Lithium GTX models, Salomon 3D Fastpacker Mid GTX, Berghaus Explorer Light, Mammut Mt Trail GTX and the Hi-Tec V-Lite Altitude Ultra Deluxe and V-Lite Fasthike Mid WP models.
After all the tests, the scores for each boot were added up and the top three boots gained close scores. At the bottom of the table comes the two Scarpa models, not only did they not perform as you would expect, they are some of the most expensive boots in the test offering poor value for money. Separating these two was the Karrimor Penrith eVent boots which also performed poorly, however, these where the cheapest tested.
At the other end of the table and in 3rd place with a score of 70% was the Brasher Lithium GTX, in 2nd place with a score of 71% was the Hi-Tec V-Lite Altitude Ultra Luxe and in 1st place with a score of 72% were the Berghaus Explorer Light hiking boots - and coming in at just £84 at Simply Hike, they are a fantastic buy!