The pinnacle of centuries of Bavarian shoemaking, the Ontarios aren’t just designed for serious walking, they’re precision engineered. From heel to toe, they’re light, well-made, top-of-therange walking shoes. I tackled the ups, downs and uneven rocky paths of the Peak District in supreme comfort. The supportive last shape alone seemed moulded to my arches and heels, but on top of that, the laces loop into the wire ‘varioflex’ retention cradles, holding my ankles securely. My feet enjoyed an easy ride on the soft insoles, never feeling pinched by the supple suede uppers. The midsoles provide extra cushioning, but aren’t so thick that you lose a tactile sense the ground under your feet.
Meindl use their own outsole, which doesn’t sport a deep tread better-suited for tackling thick mud, but seemed to provide good grip on smooth rock and fine grit. A tough rubber rand protects the toe area from stubs and scrapes. The waterproof GORE-TEX® lining did its job when called upon and seemed adequately breathable in mild weather. Consummate all-rounders, the Ontarios are go-anywhere wonder shoes.