Top Lightweight Boots Reviewed
We'll be bringing you full reviews of seven of the best lightweight walkiong boots on the market over the next week, here's an overview of what's on test.
Over the next week or so, we'll be bringing you reviews of seven top lightweight walking boots ranging from the latest version of Brasher's trail-blazing Supalite GTX, via the astonishingly capable Adidas Terrex Fast X FM Mid GTX and Salomon's very orange Wings Sky GTX boot through to Inov-8's fly-weight Roclite 400 GTX, the world's lightest Gore-Tex-lined leather boot.
Why go lightweight? Simple really, less weight over a long day means less work because you're moving less mass with every step you take. It can also mean more precision and better dexterity underfoot. But on the down side, lightweight kit tends to wear out faster, some users prefer a stiffer feel underfoot, particularly on rocky ground and light and tough tends to mean expensive too.
We can't tell you exactly what will fit your foot - you have to work that out for yourself with the aid of a good shop and fitters - but we can give you an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the different boots on test.
Anyway, here's the boot talent we've got lined up for you... all weights are a size 43 measured on our own digital scales. Flick through them by scrolling down the page or following the links below.
Inov-8 Roclite 400 GTX - 786g (pair) / £135
Inov-8 started off with off-road running shoes before diversifying into more walking-orientated kit. New last year, the Roclite 400 GTX is their first stab at a leather boot complete with a Gore-Tex liner. At under 800g for a pair of size 43s, they're incredibly light thanks to a minimal chassis borrowed from the Roclite series trail-running shoes and lightweight leather uppers with an exo-skeletal reinforcement.
Why slash the weight so far? Inov-8 reckons carrying an extra 100g on your feet is the equivalent of 500g in your pack. All the underfoot technology of lightweight running shoes but with added ankle protection thrown in.
Berghaus Pro Rush Mid II - 1212g (pair) / £120
We loved the original Berghaus Pro Rush Mid for its low-slung, soft-uppered comfort and astonishing grip, particularly on softer terrain where the original Opti-Stud outsole just hung on in there no matter how slippy things got.
The current version featured some serious re-engineering and became more of a lightweight boot than a mid-cut off road trainer. The sole was upgraded to give even better grip and to work on rock too and the uppers got mix of Nubuck and mesh along with the ubiquitous Gopre-Tex liner.
The fly in the ointment for us is the combination of stiffer external reinforcement around the ankle area and a lack of internal padding which makes them rough on ankle bones if yours happen to be in the wrong place. That aside, they're stable and sit your foot low to the ground, albeit at the expense of some cushioning, and underfoot grip is still up with the best of them for UK conditions.
Salomon Wings Sky GTX - 1060g (pair) / £180
Eye-wateringly expensive and eye-wateringly orange, the Salomon Wings Sky GTX is also seriously light at just a smidgeon over 100og per pair, but its best trick is that it feels as sturdy and supportive as much heavier boots thanks to a high, padded ankle cuff and seriously high tech chassis. It's kind of a lightweight boot for people who want their boots to feel like boots rather than extended lightweight trail shoes.
Our one misgiving about the Wings Sky is that the outsole has relatively shallow lugs and can be slippy in muddly, slitherly UK wetness, though it's a fantastic boot on firmer terrain and would be superb for alpine or Himalayan trekking.
Brasher Supalite II GTX - 1190g (pair) / £140
Another boot that's been re-jigged from the original, the new version of the Supalite GTX is more of an evolution of the ground-breaking original, which when it appeared was pretty much the lightest leather boot out there. The new version uses full waterproof Pittards leather uppers with a luxurious-feeling leather lining and has a revamped and lighter weight SupaLite sole unit underfoot. There's a Gore-Tex liner too.
It look sless weird and geeky than the original, though compared to the Salomon, it's definitely more of a classic-looking boot. The sole gives great grip on typical UK terrain and it's undeniably a classy, light and comfortable bit of kit.
Brasher Kiso GTX - 1138g (pair) / £100
Fresh in for review, Brasher's new Kiso GTX manages to be both light and relatively affordable for a Gore-Tex lined fabric and suede walking boot from a big name brand. Brasher has saved weight with a lightweight EVA mid-sole and a light, but well-lugged own-brand outsole.
They look classically handsome in a contemporary way with the bling of, say, the Salomon boots and practical too with reinforcement at both heel and toe to cope with rockier terrain. And of course, they have Brasher's UK-friendly higher volume fit with plenty of room in both forefoot and heel.
Very definitely not a traditional 'brown' Brasher boot, but still with many of its virtues we reckon.
Garmonth Vetta Lite GTX - 1112g (pair) / £130
We've thrown the Garmont Vetta Lite GTX in as a bit of a curve ball. At just over 1100g for a pair, it's definitely light enough to make the cut, but because it's designed primarily as a scrambling and approach boot, it's closer-fitting and stiiffer underfoot than anything else here, with a sole unit designed to work well on rock.
Does that means it can't also hack it for more general use alongside the rock outings? Will you still be able to walk into that remote grade 2 scramble or will it fall prey to the horrors of wet grass and sheep droppings? We'll let you know.
Adidas Terrex Fast X FM Mid GTX - 946g / £123
We were a bit 'so, so' about the Adidas Terrex Fast X FM Mid GTX when it first landed at OM, maybe because of the slightly trainer-ish looks, maybe because we don't think of adidas primarily as an outdoors brand, but the more we've used these things, the more we love them.
They're just a cracking mix of lightness, grip, stability and comfort. The doesn't look like it should work as well it does, but having visited the adidas development labs in Germany, we began to understand why. A lot of testing has gone into optimising grip in wet and dry conditions and getting the sole, with its semi-detached heel block, to combine cushioning and stability. One of our favourite outdoor mids of all time, it simply seems to do it all.