Product: Desert Fox Pro
The latest contract to re-equip Britain’s armed forces with combat boots covers five different categories and two separate manufacturers using their own last designs will supply each category to ensure a higher percentage of troops are able to wear off-the-shelf footwear than if only one manufacturer’s products had been selected. In theory every soldier should be able to choose the one of two boot designs that better suits his or her feet (both male and female sizes cobbled on different lasts are also being catered for) thereby reducing the percentage of troops requiring specialist non-standard combat footwear and subsequently saving money.View this product
Product: Air Revolution 4.1 Lady
Meindl claims that the Air Revolution technology is 33% more breathable than a standard Gore-Tex boot. As well as a Gore-Tex lining it has a double tongue; the outer part protects against ingress, while the inner is designed to pump out warm air and draw in cool as you walk. The sole is solid and deep lugged, with a crampon lug at the heel and surrounding (but not quite complete) rubber rand. 5/5
This is available in UK sizes 3.5 - 9 for women and 6 - 12 for men, both including half sizes. It’s made on a female- specific last and fits snugly while allowing wiggle room for the toes. The ankle cuff is supportive without being uncomfortably stiff. It is almost perfectly snug, though , so if you have a larger-volume foot, you may want to go up a half size. 5/5
There’s no undue pressure anywhere on these and the interior feels quite soft, so comfort is immediately high. The lace rivets make it easy to get a good secure fit around the ankle, without affecting movement or comfort elsewhere. The toe curves upwards slightly, which gives a pleasant rolling momentum and there’s a little flexibility in the forefoot, which improves comfort on less snowy days. 5/5
These sit almost precisely halfway along the 3-4 season spectrum. Some winter boots can feel too stiff and clumpy (the price you pay for 4-season protection) but these tread the line between comfort and stiffness impressively well. They have the comfort of a 3-season boot and the features of a boot fit for British winter. You’ll get more stability from others, but less comfort. 4/5
You get am impressive set of features and genuine cross-season use, so while expensive these are not outrageous for their range. 3/5
An excellent example of a cross-season boot. Some models are stiffer, but few are more comfortable.
Review PDF: Download
Product: Respond GTX
MEINDL Respond GTX
The Meindl Responds have been putting in the miles for a while now and these consummate all-rounders have proven themselves to be very dependable multi-terrain shoes. With a higher price tag than the Anatoms, they also come with higher specs (such as a Gore-Tex lining), so on paper at least, you do get what you’re paying for. Perfect for spring and summer, they’re lightweight with a breathable mesh and suede upper,
reinforced on the underside and with a sturdy toe bumper. Highly waterproof too, they’re versatile shoes – cushioned enough for everyday walking,
but stable and durable enough to put in the distance. With a little breaking in at first (making use of the double eyelet to lace them up securely),
they felt very stable tackling the uneven ground of the South West Coast Path.
But firmer ankle support would be welcome over mountainous terrain and the Contragrip outsole’s shallow tread doesn’t provide enough traction on grass and mud. Overall though, they’re well-balanced all-rounders. PT
+ Comfy and cool, technically sound, and reassuring stable.
Long-distance challengesView this product
Product: Bhutan MFS
Here’s my Meindl Bhutan review
of the boots that I’ve had on test for the last 6 months.
As soon as I received them they went
straight on. The fit is not overtly wide, but definitely not narrow, so they
should fit the majority of people’s feet in the UK. I went up half a size from
my regular every day shoe size to accommodate the thicker socks I like to wear
with walking boots.
Pulling on the laces tightens up the whole lace
system thanks to the smooth eyelets Meindl have used on these boots, it also
helps that only the first four are traditional eyelets, with the top three
being hook style, allowing you to tailor your fit with precision. (I like to
tie half a bow before the hooks, having a tighter fit on the ankle, with a
looser feel on the forefoot).
For a 3-4 UK season boot they have taken all I’ve thrown at them
Brad Wills – Taunton Leisure - Exeter ShopView this product
Product: X-SO 30 GTX
More breathability around the foot has to be a good thing.
It’s great for those who need it and ideal for warm weather conditions.
Features = 5/5
Fit = 5/5
Comfort = 5/5
In Use = 5/5
Value = 4/5
Read full review here
Review PDF: Download
Product: Air Stream
‘A REVOLUTION IN COMFORTABLE FITTING CHAINSAW BOOTS’.
Additional press information maintains that the Airstream is ‘a stand-out-from-the-crowd, modern-looking work boot with many innovative built-in features’.
This Class-1 chainsaw boot has a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable lining, with a cushioned 3D mesh tongue, which, says the manufacturer, make this boot 33% more breathable than a standard boot. Added comfort and fit comes with the built-in memory foam to the heel area, which provides an individual custom fit to the wearer. Meindl DiGAfix lacing makes for a secure foot hold inside the boot. Protection comes with the high rubber rand around these boots, frontal Kevlar protection, steel toe cap and the famous Meindl multigrip double-density sole unit made by Vibram.
That’s a lot of bold claims to make, so essentialARB was asked to put the boots to the test. David Oliver (of Tales from the Trees fame) has had the boots for three months or so. This is what he had to say…
This has to be one of the most difficult reviews I have written – not because I have anything critical to say or the struggle that being objective over a fault brings, but because of the opposite.
Firstly, and most importantly, the boots come in my size – 9.5 UK (or 44 EU). This matters because having to wear either a size 9 or 10 boot that doesn’t quite fit is extremely annoying. The sizes available range from 6 to 12.
The next thing is that the boots are easy to pull on. After 25 years and the almost inevitable back issues combined with missing finger parts, this is a key feature – particularly first thing in the morning. The laces undo to a point where the boots can be slipped on and off without having to bend down to pull them and adjust the tongue.
As an aside, and it seems irrelevant, the laces are good quality too – not really a deal breaker, but I have worn boots that make me wonder whether
the manufacturers realise what tree surgeons do all day! Boots need to be tied securely.
The tongue is soft and comfy, the boots do indeed mould to your feet, exactly like they say they do – something called Meindl Memory Foam System
The boots claim to have 33% more breathability. I’ve been wearing mine for around 6 weeks through May, June and July, and although my feet have been hot, they aren’t too bad – certainly better than any others I’ve worn.
The Gore-Tex makes them completely waterproof and I know this because my feet were dry in wet long grass and in the river. In fact, because you can tie
them tightly and with ease at the ankle you can prevent some water ingress even if you go too deep.
The features include the standard steel toe cap, good quality soles and grip and a high rubber seal between the sole and the top of the boot – over an inch.
After a month there was no sign of wear and it seems to me that this higher rubber seal could help the longevity of the boot insomuch as there is less opportunity for the boots to ‘separate’ where the sole meets the leather/suede. Whether or not this proves true remains to be seen, but one of my men, who has had the same boots for 6 months, reports no signs of wear.
There is Class 1 20m/second chainsaw protection. I haven’t tested this – it would be a shame as I don’t want to damage the comfiest boots I’ve ever worn. And that’s the point. It’s easy to read the leaflet and copy out a few of the selling features, but I was given these boots to test, which is what really matters, how they feel. On this alone they are faultless.
From day one I forgot that I was conducting a test, because I forgot I was wearing them. I’ve worn them for hiking, tree surgery, farming and even to
the Arb Show and I can’t think of a single criticism. At the end of the day I wear them to do the office work because there’s no particular rush to take them
off, unlike some boots, which I can’t bear to be in any longer than I have to.
I also fell out of a tree in them, not because they didn’t grip, but because I failed to put my rope around anything whilst abseiling down a larch I was felling. I’m certain that I fell 25ft (though my men reckon it was only 15), and I landed on my feet. This really was the ultimate test because where I hurt my knees, back and (oddly) my elbow, my ankles were totally supported and undamaged.
Although it makes me look like a covert Meindl employee, I’m not going to find fault with the boots.
I’m sure there are plenty of other good boots out there. Whether or not they are as good, and at the same price (£179 RRP), I don’t know, but I don’t
really need to know – these will do me.
(EssentialARB Summer 2014)
Review PDF: Download
Competition winners Will Clarke and Anna recently received their Meindl Vitalis Mid boots from the staff at The Great Outdoors in DublinRead in full