Berghaus Explorer Ridge GTX
Walking Boot for Men
Product Review / Walking Gear Test
Explorer Ridge GTX Walking Boot for Men
Colours: Brown, Black
Weight: 598 gms
Features to Note:
- Fabric: Upper: Full Grain Leather
- Lining: GORE-TEX Performance Comfort Footwear lining
- Outsole: Asylum / PU Midsole
- Insole: Comfort fibre insole
Berghaus' Explorer Ridge GTX is a solid 2/3 season leather walking boot which I've been wearing pretty regularly over the last 2 months or so for a variety of Peak District walking.
And I must say that they've been extremely comfortable right 'out of the box' no matter what the conditions.
The sizing may be a little on the small side - I've been wearing a half size bigger than normal and found that these were a great fit with my usual two pairs of socks.
The lacing system is good - the laces are substantial and a decent length and it was easy to get the right level of tightness which was maintained. My heels have been held well and I've liked the relatively high cut which provided perfectly adequate ankle support with the winter day pack I've been using. There is a good firm-feeling toe cap and a generous level of padding around the ankle and tongue. The traction is as good as I would have expected on mud and wet, bare rock
Overall my feet have been very comfortable throughout some very long Autumn day-walks over typical Dark Peak terrain. And they've definitely been waterproof - even in clingy, boggy conditions.
Although not officially crampon-compatible, I think there may be just about enough stiffness in the sole to allow occasional use with flexible crampons.
So far they are wearing well and so appear to be quite durable.
The Explorer Ridge GTX is a good option for a regular peak district or lakeland walker. They may also suit an occasional munroe-ist as well.
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What do you think?
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• These boots are a waste of money. They simply do not grip hard wet surfaces - that includes the pavement, never mind a hill walk. They look good though, so you can break your neck in style.
John Baines, Newcastle Upon Tyne
• These boots seemed to be a good fit but after a few months they didn't seem as good, they also leak like a sieve through the base of the tongue area despite being treated with nic-wax ,the laces are needing renewing ( again) because the lace hooks are too square in section ,they should be made more rounded, the grip in wet or damp conditions is very unsatisfactory,and finally the boot pull tab at the rear of the boot is too long and set too high ,it catches on your trousers meaning you have to be constantly readjusting your trouser leg. Would I recommend these boots ------ NO!
Rod Rothwell, Chester-le-street
• I am genuinely surprised to read negative comments from others regarding this boot. I have owned a pair for well over a year now and am what could be considered a 'heavy user'. I wear them on a daily basis for general use, plus an average of 30 miles (sometimes a lot more) recreationally per-week on all terrains from tarmac to heavy trails. The only time this boot has let me down was during recent snow, when water managed to find its way in through the upper tongue when wading over 10 miles through a few feet of drift. Apart for this, dryness has never been a problem - even during the summer these boots were suitably breathable to stop excess sweat. Any mild dampness was gone within a few hours when the boots were removed.
I do tend to abuse my footwear, and these boots have survived everything from a very sharp axe-hit to the toe which cleanly sliced through the laces (the leather is gashed, but not compromised) to full weekends in mud and water. I also have a bad heel-roll which tends to wear through most soles relatively quickly, but in this instance, the wear has been pretty-even and has lasted the duration. The grip is still reasonable, even with around 1.5mm of tread in most places. The soles have easily outlasted any boot I have previously owned, particularly on the heels.
That said, grip on smooth roots / wet rock can cause issue, but nothing that a bit of forward thinking can't overcome. They certainly aren't as bad as some of the Vibram soles I've used over the years.
I very rarely find a factory-supplied footbed that is to my liking, and the Berghaus ones were no exception. Not much longevity in the supplied footbed meant that they were changed within about 3 months for Scarpa Super Supports due to wear.
Overall support is fantastic, although those used to a more rigid boot might find these take a bit of getting used to - the comfort-level is deceptively good and makes you believe that they aren't as robust as they are. They feel light and comfortable out-of-the-box and actually take very little breaking-in. I have had far less blistering when wearing these than any other boot previously-owned, especially during the breaking-in period (I have a very high-arch which makes me prone to blisters over longer expeditions).
I have waxed / treated the uppers several times during the past year which has kept them supple, but the abuse they have survived could not be attributed to my 'care'. There are no splits in the leather (other than the axe-wound) which is surprising considering the amount of articulation they are subjected to (I do bushcraft, which involves a lot of crounching / sitting on my heels).
Overall, as a 3 season boot I cannot recommend them enough. I can only guess that other's negative experiences come down to lack of gaiters in extreme weather or some sort of manufacturing defect that has lowered consistant quality...
Mr D Ball, Brecon Beacons
• I have had opportunity to use these boots in all types of terrain and weather conditions. They are extremely comfortable straight out of the box keeping my feet cozy and dry BUT, and this is a REALLY BIG BUT, when conditions are anything but bone dry, the grip and the traction is truly shocking verging on the downright dangerous. I have skidded and slipped more in these boots than any make I've previously owned. I think the cause is probably due to the sole pattern rather than the rubber compound which appears to be quite hard wearing. Could I recommend these boots? Absolutely not!
Adrian Bance, Medway
• Having owned these boots for just over 4 months I am slightly disappointed. They were very comfortable and waterproof at first. I always clean my boots using the Nickwax Products after every walk. Now the left one leaks badly and has started to bruise the top of my foot. Not sure why this is but the boot seems to have become misshapen. Both sole treads at the heel have worn away so I often slip when descending hills. I have probably walked 400-500 miles in them so far, mostly at low level. As someone else mentioned the foot bed is pretty poor although you can easily fit a different type. The lacing system is among the best I have come across and it never slips. A good boot for casual walking-no doubt- but they do not seem to be up to hard walking over varied terrain. Leaking uppers and worn soles after 4 months-not good for a £100+ boot from a reputable company.
Steven Scott, Leeds
• This is the first boot I have owned, that was instantly comfortable out of the box. They are very light and make walking long distances more tolerable. Their lightness did make me question how they would perform in boggy conditions but in practice the boots handled all I put them through. My feet remained dry and comfortable and the lacing system kept them firmly in place. Although they do not have a vibram sole unit they give good grip and seem fairly hard wearing ( I have only walked about 120 miles in them so far but they are showing no noticable signs of wear ). Another plus for me is how easy they are to keep clean using the Nickwax products-no hard to get to nooks and crannies with these boots. Overall, in my opinion, a very good boot that should last if looked after. The only thing I would change is the footbed to a better quality one (which I do with all my boots anyway). With regard to the poor review of the person using them for work. I have worn boots all my working life (37 years) and I have yet to find any boot that will make it past 10 months in use due to the increase in flexing and stretching caused during a day at work.
Steven Scott, Leeds
• I had a pair of these for a couple of months but then one of the boots started to leak. They were replaced without question. I found them comfortable as your review suggests and would agree with your comments about lacing, support etc. I only used them locally in the Chilterns and never tested them in mountain country. They never let me down but I did not feel as confident with their grip (especially laterally) as with my previous or current boots (both Scarpa).
Martinw , Bucks.