Q:

What do you recommend in the way of a full-grain leather boot?

Gear Dude, I need to replace my worn out three-season boots, and I haven't had any luck shopping here in England. I’m looking for a full-grain, one-piece leather upper and a Vibr sole, with none of these fancy schmancy Gore-Tex linings (I'm kinda old fashioned that way). Can you please help? Aaron Nottinghshire, England

Sep 24, 2007
Outside
Outside Magazine
Raichle Mountain Guide GTX Boot

Mountain Guide GTX Boot

A:

Aaron, dude, I hate to be blunt, but you must not be looking very hard. The U.K. is awash in good-quality boots that meet your requirements. For instance, online shops such as the Gear-Zone (www.gear-zone.co.uk) offer the Scarpa Ranger, which has a full-grain leather upper, Vibram sole, and Cambrelle lining—no Gore-Tex. It’s a classic mid-weight boot for three-season hiking. Price is about 100 pounds—or about $200. Or, look at the German-made Meindl Borneo Pro (110 pounds), which also has sturdy leather upper and classic construction that doesn’t include Gore-Tex. The Borneo Pros have a heat-sensitive memory foam in the lining that helps the boot conform to the shape of your foot.

This past summer, I’ve worn several boots with Gore-Tex liners and have softened my stance on them. I still don’t really think them necessary, but I can see the utility, and I don’t see a great difference in boot comfort versus non-Gore-Tex footwear. So I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Raichle’s Mountain Guide GTX, a boot of about the same weight as the Ranger or the Borneo, with the addition of a Gore-Tex liner. It has full-grain leather uppers, a Vibram sole, and a removable midsole. A very nice boot. Cotswold Outdoor (cotswoldoutdoor.com) sells them for 120 pounds.

You’ll get up to the Lake District, yes? Great hill-walking there. I did some bike-touring there many years ago and get a little misty-eyed when I think about it.

You’ve seen our picks for 2007 Gear of the Year, and now the entire Outside Summer Buyer’s Guide is online. Check out this year’s more than 400 must-have gear items, including hiking shoes.

Filed To: Hiking Boots

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