Thought it was about time I go back to talking kit and the ever-challenging issue of footwear.
It feels like blasphemy these days as the lightweight backpacking community have eschewed boots for trail shoes, but I have gone back to boots after three years of experimenting with different footwear after retiring my trusty Scarpa SLs.
Those who checked out the kit list will see that I’ve been using TNF hedgehogs for the last year or so after having some success with Keen Targhees… although the nasty niff emanating from these shoes became too intrusive at the end. They’re now strictly for gardening only and live in the shed.
The TNFs have been good, but I’ve decided that they don’t have sufficient support for someone of my size/weight plus load. I’m still not convinced Goretex liners are for me, either, as they seem to make my feet itch uncontrollably.
So what’s the solution? Nothing that originally, I’m afraid. I picked up a pair of Hi Tec Fasthike V-Lite mids at Go Outdoors (Stockport) and couldn’t believe how light they were. The last boot of note I remember Hi Tec making was the Trail (I think). They were a brown suede/fabric number, which had out-of-the-box comfort and lasted about three weeks (well, that may be a little unkind, but you get my point).
The V-Lites impressed not only on the weight front, but also in terms lateral stiffness and foot cushioning. Although claiming to be waterproof, there’s no membrane either.
First trip was the bivvy-bagging jaunt to the Lakes. The boots were superb and performed brilliantly over all terrain encountered. They were pretty waterproof, too, but allowed my feet to breathe more than lined models. No itching feet either.
However, at the end of day two, I noticed that the EVA wedge was coming away at the upper. A bit miffed, I thought they were worth another go and took them back and got a replacement. Since then, I’ve used them on eight outings, including a tramp up Ben Nevis, and my feet weren’t screaming after that horrible descent.
This pair seems to be holding up much better although I don’t think these are going to last too long. That said, if I get twelve months out of them for £40, I’m not complaining.