I absolutely hate buying new walking boots! Once those faithful friends have finally worn through, down and out and having dry feet is a distant memory it is a grim task that must be tackled head on and with considerable determination. So ultimately it's something that all us outdoors fans have to face up more often than we would like to. My previous pair of three season walking boots gave up the ghost at the beginning of last summer and I was faced with the unpleasant prospect of cruising the boot displays of Glasgow's finest outdoor retailers in search of my next pair of mountain boots. After trying on dozens of pairs of walking boots of every shape, size, colour and style I finally took home a shiny new new pair of UK size 9 Mammut MT Trail GTX boots (that just slips off the tongue doesn't it). Three days later I was back in Ellis Brigham changing them for a size 10 as they were just too tight once I had worn them for a few hours. So eventually I was ready to start a new relationship. My review of the Mammut Men's MT GTX walking boots follows:
The Mammut website describes the Mt. Trail XT GTX as follows:
A half-height classic with braced insole made from full-grained, durable smooth leather for easy backpacking and even the occasional alpine trek. The integrated Mammut® Motion-Control ensures great flexibility and strong lateral support. The grippy, cushioning and perfectly rolling Vibram® MT Traction sole, the waterproof GORE-TEX® Performance Comfort Footwear membrane and the cushioning memo foam around the tongue and ankle complete this quality shoe.
A three season mountain boot perfect for mountain walking and backpacking which will take a flexible crampon.
These are a good looking and beautifully made pair of boots. A moulded Vibram sole offers plenty of grip, a thick leather upper promises longevity, a rubber rand protects the toe box an the ubiquitous GORE-TEX® liner promises a waterproof boot (until you pierce the liner with your toenails that is). That is all very well but the reason I choose the boot was because of the great fit. Mammut (like Raichle they swallowed) has always been built on a wide last so they feed instantly comfortable on a typically wide British foot like mine. They are so well made they just feel brilliant as soon as you put them on. They are a real treat and considering the selling price of between £165 and £180 they should do. Most men certainly won't enjoy spending this amount of money on a pair of shoes.
Moulded Vibram Sole
These boots have been well loved and thoroughly tested as I have had owned them for over a year now and they have done two summer seasons. They have been worn scrambling in Snowdonia and Scotland, walking in the Scottish Highlands, strolling through the mud of Mugdock Country Park with the kids, backpacking in the Peruvian Andes and two weeks ago I was wading through the tropical jungle in Mexico. The only aspect I haven't tested is how they perform with crampons as I have winter boots and am not a huge fan of strapping flexible crampons onto 3/4 season boots unless it's an emergency. Walking and backpacking is definitely where these boots perform best. They offer great ankle support and are supremely comfortable, even after a long day on the hill with a heavy pack. The moulded Vibram sole offers excellent grip on all surfaces ranging from gloopy mud to rough trails and broken rock. I really like the feeling of security they give you on all surfaces when walking with a heavy pack. They do the job scrambling but it certainly isn't their strong point. The sole is too cushioned, which means that the edge is not hard or stiff enough for really secure grip on small edges. So if you plan on spending most of your time scrambling choose another boot. And the million dollar question - Are they waterproof? I am pleased to report that so far the Mt Trail Xt GTX is waterproof! (Except in truly exceptional circumstances - I won't go into the disaster that was the wettest weekend of my life in Snowdonia with Rich) Comfort wise they continue to impress and put a little smile on my face every time I put them on, but perhaps that is in anticipation on getting into the outdoors. I haven't done as much walking as I would have liked to in the past year but the high rubber rand, thick leather and good build quality mean that they have worn very well and after a coat of wax they look almost as good as new, just a bit more loved.
Mt. Trail XT GTX features I like:
- Good quality leather upper means they are hard wearing and will stay waterproof long after the GORE-TEX® liner dies.
- The high rubber rand stops the toe scuffing and ensures boot and sole remain attached even after heavy wear.
- Great fit! Only one small blister from new and they just seem to get more comfy by the day.
Features I'm not so keen on:
- Looks - just another brown boot. it would be great if leather boots could look a bit cooler.
- Not great for more difficult scrambling/easy climbing.
- I certainly wouldn't use them as a winter boot as they aren't stiff or insulated enough.
- Common to most modern boots you cannot replace the sole unit when the the Vibram sole wears out, which it invariably does before the upper.
Some Walking Holidays to Get Your Boots on For:
As always, check out the Macs Adventure Website for some walking trip ideas. Happy walking!