This is a really tricky purchase when you’re in the market for a new pair, as boots aren’t cheap these days and you never really know if they are going to work until you’ve been in the hills. For me it’s absolutely essential to get not only the right fit, but they have to be comfortable day after day. Once I’ve found something that works, I tend to stick with them until the company frustratingly decide to change the model! I found Hanwag about 10 years ago and have used them for all my summer walking since then. What initially attracted me to them was how they looked, kind of a bit funky and different to everyone else’s boots, the look is possibly the most important thing - comfort is so over rated! They were a fabric boot and naturally felt instantly comfortable, with a higher than normal ankle cuff the support provided by them was superb. With a Gore liner and Vibram sole they protected my feet for quite a few years before they started leaking and I haven’t been persuaded to change manufacturer yet! I’ve had numerous fabric pairs and their famous Alaska model, which for a leather boot was incredibly light, in fact most of their boots weigh little and my knackered old legs really appreciate every gram less that I have to lift with each step! I’ve never had a single blister in a Hanwag boot, now granted I don’t really suffer from them, but there are days when I’m running late for work and might not be wearing my expensive walking socks, rather a £4 pair from the local supermarket and still my feet don’t moan!
As a company they have almost 100 years experience of boot making and whilst the range is not always common in the UK, it’s reasonably easy to source them, plus being a German brand, they are robust, functional (as much as a boot can be!) and fantastic value for money. I genuinely hope they don’t change too much in the next few years.
I always buy new insoles at the same time, as all boots these days are supplied with a paper thin insole that are fairly pointless. Sorbothane have always worked for me, although there are a number of others that work equally well, but that’s another post later……