Meindl Tonale GTX; suede and mesh upper, GORE-TEX® lining, vibram rubber grip sole with an EVA duo density shock absorber. How do they fair out in the field? Our tester, Judy Armstrong from The Great Outdoors explains…
This boot, new to Meindl’s extensive range this year, was a real surprise. It looks like a hefty four season number, cut high enough for two well-spaced ankle hooks plus a full rubber rand. But it feels so light and dextrous on the feet, with a natural flex combined with all-round support; its confidence-inspiring and a pleasure to wear. This is due to several factors. One is the construction; suede for lateral support, with mesh over the tongue to reduce heat retention and to minimise bulk, combined with the rubber rand around the lower section. Another is the soft, smooth flex paired with good lateral support (handy on rocks).
But a big part is the lacing, which starts over the toes and runs through fabric loops to a closed metal eyelet, part of Meindl’s Variofix lacing system. This involves metal struts that secure the heel into the rear of the boot, making for an accurate fit. Lacing continues up the ankle, through two hooks, with a central hook to prevent the laces slipping up the tongue. The tongue, too, is crucial to this boot’s comfort. It has enough padding, without overt bulk: simple, but effective. The fabric cuff dips at the back to avoid pressure on the Achilles tendons (which is a danger with high, heavy boots).
The sole unit is a visible concession to the ‘lightweight’ sector, with plenty of lug depth and a squared-off heel block. As with most boots, the footbed was useless, providing absolutely no underfoot support, so I switched it out for a decent one. I never thought I’d find a boot to equal La Spotivas’s Trango Trek GTX (tested 2017) but Tonale (100g lighter) ranks alongside it as the best three-season ‘big’ boot I’ve ever worn.