Gear Dude, I need to replace my worn out three-season boots, and I haven't had any luck shopping here in England. Im 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
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 liningno Gore-Tex. Its a classic mid-weight boot for three-season hiking. Price is about 100 poundsor about $200. Or, look at the German-made Meindl Borneo Pro (110 pounds), which also has sturdy leather upper and classic construction that doesnt 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.
Raichle Mountain Guide GTX Boot
Mountain Guide GTX Boot
This past summer, Ive worn several boots with Gore-Tex liners and have softened my stance on them. I still dont really think them necessary, but I can see the utility, and I dont see a great difference in boot comfort versus non-Gore-Tex footwear. So I wouldnt hesitate to recommend Raichles 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.
Youll 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.