We haven’t done any walking boots reviews on The Travel Tester yet, which is of course something we wanted to change for a while! Nick and I LOVE hiking: we did the 11-day Annapurna trek in Nepal and went on many shorter walking trips when we lived in Australia. But when we moved to the UK… and nothing happened anymore.
But then I got invited on a fun South England Road Trip by Visit Britain, where I got to do a bit of camping in Norfolk and hiking at the White Cliffs of Dover. And after compiling our extensive Great Britain Bucket List, we also realized there were just too many opportunities to go walking in the UK for us to have a good excuse not to, and so we finally took action and decided to bring our hiking boots on our most recent trip to Northern Wales, where we went camping in an Airstream. Even though it was only for a couple of hours, it was so nice to walk through the forest and over the beach again!
Nick brought his Hanwag hiking boots that he wore in Nepal, but I left my own boots of the same brand at home this time, as I was contacted by the lovely people of outdoor clothing giant Blacks.co.uk to try a pair of hiking shoes from their brand selection. After a quick browse, I immediately fell for the Brasher ‘Women’s Country Walker Walking Boots’, as I LOVED the colour and the look of them. But would they perform well ‘in the field’?
Well, let’s take them to the test!
The Blacks Story
In 1861, Thomas Black set up his own sail making business on the Clyde River. Using the same materials and expertise he had developed equipping boats and ships, he turned his hand to crafting tents and shelters of high quality.
These days, Blacks is one of Britain’s leading outdoor experts. They say themselves that they “live and breathe the outdoors, from simple walks and technical hikes, to arduous expeditions and intrepid exploration”. Their mission is to make the outdoors as accessible as possible to everybody, ensuring that they have the right clothing and equipment for wherever their adventure takes them. Through their #EverydayLifeOutdoors campaign, they encourage your to explore the outdoors and share your experiences with others!
The Brasher Story
Chris Brasher (1928-2003) was a runner, a sports journalist, an arctic expedition leader and an entrepreneur. Above all that Chris was an outdoor footwear and clothing enthusiast with a fresh perspective and unwavering will to succeed. He founded the Brasher Boot Company and developed proper British clothing and footwear built on traditional core values that accommodated for every type of adventurer.
The idea behind the first Brasher boot was conceived by Chris in 1978. The story goes that whilst walking the Roof of Wales with Paddy Buckley, both Chris and Paddy suffered all sorts of blisters and problems with their walking boots. They posted the defective boots home for later examination, and soldiered through the next 180 miles in their training shoes without any trouble and in relative comfort. This lead Chris to ask the question: “Why aren’t walking boots as comfortable as trainers?”… inspiring the creation of the first, cushioned Brasher Boot.
After twenty-five different prototypes, and five years of field testing across the UK, the revolutionary boot was put on the market for the first time in 1983. As a sign of Chris’ confidence in the quality of the boot, brasher offered a bottle of champagne to anyone who wore the boots and developed a blister, how cool is that! While they understandably cannot do that anymore with so many shops around the world, they still guarantee the quality of their material.
Brasher Women’s Country Walker Walking Boots Review – The Travel Tester in Action
As with all the product reviews on The Travel Tester, we subjected the Brasher Walking Boots to our 5-senses test. Here is what we found:
1. What does it SOUND like?
With 1.3 kilo, these walking boots are definitely not the lightest and when you walk on hard underground, people can definitely hear you approaching. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering what the sole is made out of:
There are three layers in the sole, starting at with the PU Footbed. This is the lightweight and flexible construction that cradles the foot. It makes sure to cushion each of your steps for better comfort. Trust me, this shoe feels like wearing (ok, somewhat heavy) slippers, that’s how comfortable they are. As on my trip I didn’t have time to walk them in, I was a bit concerned about the comfort, but there was no need for this. As soon as I started walking, the shoes were perfect and I had no discomfort or blisters or anything like that.
Then you get to the EVA Midsole. This mid construction is said to be long lasting (I won’t know more about that before I use these boots more regularly, I think) and this part of the sole is also there to cushion the foot and providing added support, which you can definitely feel when walking around. It’s almost like you’re walking on a cloud, or at least, this is what I believe walking on a cloud would feel like.
Finally, you have the Vibram® Outsole, which is the black part at the bottom of the sole boasting traction and grip on all terrain, which is definitely true. I walked with the shoe on loose and hard beach sand and through forest in Wales, on grass while camping in Norfolk and I did a bit of climbing on rocks over at the White Cliffs of Dover and everywhere I had perfect grip and didn’t slip once. I haven’t tried the shoes on wet and very rocky trails yet, but they’re said to be perfect for that as well.
I clearly took the photos after hiking, so you can see I actually used them (and obviously didn’t bother cleaning them yet, oops!)
2. What does it LOOK like?
I picked this pair because I felt that being all leather and in this camel-brown colour, they really stood out over those hiking boots made out of that typical Gore-Tex & Mesh material. Somehow, they felt not so ‘outdoor-sey’ to me, if that is even a word.
That’s also why I went for this specific type, instead of their ‘Women’s Country Master Walking Boots’, as those had an extra strip of waterproof lining which made the shoe look to me more like a workers boot, rather than a normal shoe.
I love how these shoes look clean and simple and are easy to pair with whatever you’re wearing on your hike or day out.
3. What does it TASTE like?
Ok, I have to admit that I didn’t actually licked the shoes in this particular test, but let me just say that they definitely taste like I want to go hiking more often!
Enjoying the view from The White Cliffs of Dover – perfect for a good hike!
4. What does it FEEL like?
The whole outer shoe is made of a tough, deep cut premium leather for lasting performance and the boots have a suede outer cuff for added style and durability. Everything seems to have been done to make wearing the shoes as comfortable as possible, while still keeping them as stylish as possible!
After wearing the shoes a couple of times, I do think that they’re definitely more suited for a good hike than just to wear on a city trip, as they are quite heavy and feel a tad bulky, but I can imagine that they are perfect for trips to certain cities in Winter, such as Helsinki for example, where you really need grip and a bit of padding to keep your feet from falling of. That’s something I would have to test on a future trip!
5. What does it SMELL like?
The shoes shield from water and moisture whilst allowing for constant airflow to keep your feet dry, so there is a limited chance of getting smelly and itchy feet after a good walk. I do recommend wearing good hiking socks. Merino wool is always a good option for that, as it keeps your feet warm in Winter and fresh and cool in Summer. These socks will also wick away sweat and lets it evaporate fast, so your feet will stay comfortably dry.
After our 5-senses test, we’re ready to answer our final (and perhaps most important) question in our Brasher Walking Boots Review:
Does this product make us happy?
They definitely did! I love shoes that don’t need any breaking in and still feel so super comfortable, while at the same time protect my feet from blisters and water AND still look good at the same time. I can’t wait to bring them to my next adventure, all I need to do is go and plan it. Any suggestions, let me know!
Let us know: are you an avid hiker? Which boots are you using at the moment and what do you think of these Brasher Walking Boots? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Country Walker Walking Boots from Brasher
At time of writing this review, these shoes are about £ 120.00 a pair.
You can get the boots (and shoes from many other brands) at Blacks.co.uk
Blacks offers FREE click & collect on this pair when ordering within the UK. There is also FREE Standard delivery within 5 working days within the UK and international delivery to over 200 countries worldwide from £ 4.99. Some restrictions apply.
We worked in partnership with Blacks to do this Brasher Walking Boots Review. All photos and opinions are 100% our own.
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