Many brands showcased “hiking” boots this season (my favourites being from Penelope Chilvers, as illustrated by me in my book, above) but I do like going for actual proper walks and I would NEVER recommend wearing a beloved pair of Chilvers’ boots through a muddy field. And if you’re walking more than a couple of miles (yesterday Mr Brogue and I did around 8 miles on the Isle of Wight), a Wellington boot just isn’t going to cut it, comfort-wise, so I wear made-for-purpose walking boots.
Now, my pair are so old, so muddy, and so deeply unstylish, that I couldn’t possibly show you a picture of them, so you’re getting a rare picture of my face instead. But I am in the market for a new pair, and I thought I’d share my findings with you lot, as judging from Instagram, you’ve all been doing a lot of country walks over the festive period too.
The key hiking-style features that the designer versions picked up on are the hook and eye lace holes, and contrast colour laces. This pair from Ecco ticks those boxes, and knowing Ecco will be incredibly comfortable, too (my mum has a pair she’s been hiking all over the Isle of Wight and beyond in for the last 8 years). They are made from yak leather (three times stronger than cow hide) and have a Gore-tex® lining, which means they are actually guaranteed to keep your feet dry.
I’ve been jealous of Mr Brogue’s Italian leather walking boots for AGES now, and I think this is the style I am going to invest in. That brown leather just looks so much more acceptable when you stop in a country pub for a pint, and actually looks pretty stylish with blue jeans. By all accounts, Brashers (top) are brilliant, but do take a fair bit of wearing in. I really like the way they look, though, so it might be worth the effort. With these and the Scarpa pair, I would switch the laces for a red or yellow pair with a black fleck for a little En Brogue touch. Both also have the waterproof guarantee of Gore-tex®. I think the pair I like the best, though, are the North Face boots (below), as they remind me of Sorel snow boots and I like that flash of yellow on the heel.
If you miss the brilliant sale prices above or they don’t have your size and you’re on a budget, try outdoor sports specialists Decathlon. Nothing in this shop is very expensive (I’ve bought countless pairs of skiing socks and tiny rucksacks in here for my snowboarding trips) and this pair is an absolute steal. They don’t come with that waterproof guarantee, but they’ve been tested and apparently keep your feet warm at as low as -19°C!
Happy hiking everyone!