Gear: Brasher Hillmaster GTX Walking Boots

Brasher Hillmaster walking boots

I bought this pair of Brasher “Hillmaster” GTX boots back in 1999, and they have since given 8 years of sterling service. I’ve used them in all conditions – from snow and pelting rain to hot dry days. They’ve covered many, many miles around a good part of England and Wales as well as Switzerland and Australia, along all kinds of terrain.

The boots are constructed of a leather upper with Gore-tex lining and a rubber sole. The waterproofing is generally very good, although it is wise to remember that no boot can ever be completely waterproof, given water can get in from the top and around the tongue. The soles on my pair have worn down quite a bit but still have plenty of life left, and they are still firmly attached to the uppers. I’ve had no problems with seams coming undone or indeed any other manufacturing issues. I should add that the boots have often been stored wet and have not been cleaned that often, I’ll also have to admit that I have sometimes opened up the boot bag in which they are stored to discover dust and dirt and a rather fragrant pair of socks stuffed in them from the previous walk, which makes their longevity all the more impressive. Comfort has been excellent right from the start – no blisters at all, and at around 1.3kg they are quite light for a solid pair of boots and this makes a big difference towards the end of a day of walking.

In summary, definitely the best pair of walking boots I’ve owned: comfortable and light with excellent performance and quality. I’m retiring this pair now because the leather on the top of the boot at the front has finally cracked after the flexing of thousands of steps (the leather in this area has also become a bit brittle), but my next pair will be Hillmasters¬†Supalites.

(Link to manufacturer’s site)

UPDATE: Well I visited a Field and Trek store while I was in London fully intending to buy a new pair of Hillmasters…but I tried on a pair of Brasher Supalites, and after much deliberation decided to give these a try instead. First impressions have been good, again they were very comfortable out of the box, just a little rubbing at the top of the ankle at the back – but I get this with all new shoes and it didn’t cause a blister.¬†

The boots are and feel lighter but the trade off here is that they don’t feel as sturdy and I don’t expect they’ll last as long. I’ll report back in a year or so.