I had to get a new pair of walking boots last month in preparation for my Madeiran walkabout (click to read 5 Things You Need To Know About Madeira in Winter) but I also needed something that, given the significant financial investment a decent pair would be, could serve me well on my travels in South East Asia in the hottest months.
I went into Cotswold Outdoor with a lightweight approach shoe in mind (as I didn't really know how much hardcore walking I'd be doing). I came out with a pair of full grain leather entry level walking boots. But here's why...
From a purely aesthetic point of view, the Merrells to my mind are just so ugly to wear. And I don't admit to that lightly. I'm not easily embarrassed nor am I particularly image conscious. I always take comfort and practicality over fashion. However, in the case of the Merrells, they would have had to have felt like sex for my feet in order to persuade me to part with money to wear the ugliest shoes in the world.
But something about the Scarpa shoe still wasn't quite right either. All of them, in fact, just felt a little... I don't know, wishy washy on my feet.
Then I thought about all of my footwear. All boots. Ankle boots, calf or knee highs, I realised that I only wear boots. So it was time to think a little chunkier.
As soon as the Scarpa Terra GTX walking boots were on my feet, they just felt... right. Cushioned on the inside, sturdy underfoot and, a huge plus for me, particularly after all the tying and untying of laces that I'd done by this point, so so so easy to do up. Just pull on the laces with both hands and they tighten all the way from the bottom on their own. None of this faff with having to tighten each 'rung' in the lace ladder from the bottom up individually (so tedious).
And you know what? I just think they look really nice. I'm not very girly and, as I've already said, I like leather boots, but they have an old school walking boot charm about them. They don't shout - at least not to me - 'Hey, I'm semi-retired and quite into rambling', which many of the others do. And at between £115 and £140 a pair (depending on where you buy them), they're not going to work for some of you on a reduced budget. But, in my humble opinion, if you're able to spend the money you can't go too far wrong with these.
So, having walked, hiked and scrambled at least 40km on treacherous paths and in the wet since buying them, I feel very happy with my purchase. So happy, in fact, that I'm still wearing them. In London. They're leather, so they need some TLC, and I am treating them with Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather (also from Cotswold Outdoor). I'll see how they cope with the jungle and give you an update after they've had a bit more wear.
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