With its smart leather upper, supportive mid cut ankle and a sturdy but still comfortable sole unit, the original Banks boot from Hanwag, which was first released 15 years ago, was a real classic-style trekking-specific option. Now, the Bavarian bootmaker has seen fit to bring the design back, with a new and updated version for Spring/Summer 2020 called the Hanwag Banks II GTX.
As you can see from the images, the upper on this new design has a heritage-style look but with a few modern refinements, most notably a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane. The nubuck leather’s all PFC-free (in other words, there are no nasty chemicals) and it comes with Leather Working Group approval, which means all the right boxes are ticked in terms of ethical production and manufacture.
A clever-sounding ‘stitch-and-turn’ method has been used in the construction and this, according to Hanwag, makes for a neater seam but one that also offers extra protection from abrasion.
Hanwag say they’ve made two significant improvements to the sole (when compared to the previous Banks). In the midsole, there’s now an extra soft polyurethane for improved shock absorbency, enhanced roll-off to the sole unit and increased comfort when walking. In addition, there’s a new Vibram Endurance Pro outsole which uses a trekking-focussed rubber compound and lug design.
Five Different Fits
Hanwag are catering for all different foot shapes with this range. There are five different variations of the Banks II in total, each one made using a different last design – a last being a model of a foot around which the boot’s shape is formed around.
There’s a standard design, called the Banks GTX, which is available in men’s and women’s fits. This uses Hanwag’s StraightFit last which is best described as one that caters for the average foot shape.
Then there’s the StraightFit Extra (also available in men’s and women’s fits) which is for those with a wider forefoot. This shape lets the toes sit naturally while still keeping the heel and instep supported and locked in (in turn preventing blisters).
Finally, there’s the Banks Narrow Lady which as you’ve already guessed is for slighter feet (not necessarily just women’s).