All my footwear
Boots or shoes?
Now, I find it hard to believe I ever wore boots for hiking, but while I’ve transitioned to light-weight trail running shoes, my old Berghaus Expeditor walking boots served their purpose. Still, if I don’t wear boots anymore, why write this review?
The right tool for the job
Even though boots are extremely heavy compared to say a New Balance Minimus or an Altra Lone Peak 4.5, they do serve their purpose for particular types of walking. It’s important to note that your footwear should be considered as a tool, and specific tools are designed for specific jobs. You wouldn’t wear a huge, heavy boot for a fast, long-distance hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (unless you really wanted to, and that’s fine, HYOH!). Furthermore, you wouldn’t wear a skimpy trail shoe while attempting to traverse the Kumbu Icefall on your way to the summit of Mt Everest. So why did I wear boots in the first place?
Most folks who go for the occasional romp in the hills will don their old Wellington Boots or wear their Converse All-stars to attempt a summit of Ben Nevis or Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) as they don’t want to spend extra money on a proper set of footwear to wear once, nor do they understand the importance of wearing the correct footwear. Other walkers showing more interest might choose a boot for their first summit in beautiful sunshine and no sign of snow because that’s what everyone else does. I definitely fall into the latter here. “Oh, I’m going for a proper walk, I surely need a proper boot.”
While it’s better to wear a sturdy boot than a pair of your old Converse to summit a mountain or traverse a ridgeline, boots aren’t always the best choice for your objective either.
That said, a boot will come in handy as soon as the snow falls, thaws and freezes again. A boot will be essential to your kit list if you’re planning on traversing steep icy slopes. Boots will keep your feet warmer and dryer than a shoe in sub-zero conditions and you’ll be able to attach crampons to them.
Trail runners, on the other hand, are very light, comfortable, breathable and dry fast. They enable hikers to walk further for longer with fewer issues such as blisters. But, all the weight savings and comfort come with their trade-offs and limitations and can’t offer the stability that a stiff boot and pair of crampons offer in winter conditions.
I tend to hike mostly in the shoulder seasons and the summer over longer distances with a lighter load, so trail runners suite my objectives more than a boot. It’s not wrong to wear a flexible boot like the Berghaus Expeditor on a long, dry stretch of trail, but you may want to at least consider trying out a trail runner like the Lone Peak as well to see if they work better for you. I bet they probably will.
What did I use them for?
I purchased my Berghaus Expeditor walking boots when I went on my first ever hiking trip. I rented a car and drove north to the Lake District where I hiked up some hills for practice before heading to Fort William and taking on Ben Nevis, in the middle of March and in Winter conditions. After speaking with some experts in winter walking they switched me out to some stiff mountaineering boots and crampons, not even the Expeditor would’ve kept me stuck firmly to the ground that day. I then took the boots travelling with me around South East Asia for some volcano and jungle trekking. All the locals were wearing flipflops up the volcanoes and experienced walkers were wearing their trail shoes. The heavy, bulky boots weren’t versatile enough for such trips and I couldn’t pack them away when wearing some trainers.
After this, the only time I’d ever wear them is when the conditions were wet, icy or extremely muddy. Still, these were conditions and gradients that a pair of trail shoes with some Kahtoola Microspikes could’ve easily handled. Ever since, I’ve stuck to shoes and if required, will rent stiff boots and crampons for some more serious winter hiking.
Who are they for?
The Berghaus Expeditor walking boots are good for cold, wet and icy conditions. Stiff enough to take on a light crampon or set of spikes, as well as giving that added support, they’d be a good choice for a beginner walker who’s unsure what types of walking they prefer and haven’t built up strength in their ankles yet.
Personally, I’ll likely never wear the Berghaus Expeditor again unless I really have to dig them out, but they’re still going and will keep on going for 1000s of miles should I choose to wear them that far. The grip, support and capped toes kept me far from injury, but I’d advise aspiring long-distance walkers to try a trail shoe pronto and use a boot for tougher terrain and conditions.
- Durability 60% 60%
- Comfort 10% 10%
- Value for money 20% 20%
- Good ankle support
- Good grip
- Good on rocky trails
- Very heavy
- Not very comfortable
- Not water proof
- Slow drying
£110 / From £107 on Amazon
Leather and grain-mesh
AQ waterproof breathable membrane
Rubber w/ Opti-stud
- Hard toe caps
- Flexible sole
- Full set of eyelets