Out on the hills, trails and mountains, leather boots seem to be once more the order of the day.
When I first started rambling, back in the stone age, there was no alternative but to choose leather boots. Those originals were fine, but rarely waterproof. If, like me, you could only afford one pair, after a wet walk it was a race against time, drying them off stuffed with newspaper. At the end a long, rainy weekend away, your feet were usually squelching.
Then ‘modern’ boots emerged. These were good looking confections of manmade fabrics, made possible by those new waterproof membranes. They were lighter than their leather counterparts and needed less care. For a few decades they were the go-to choice for all walkers.
Gradually, the new generation of leather boots has grown in popularity. Spearheading this march was the Brasher boot – now part of the Berghaus offering. Today’s hide solutions have all the strengths of the original footwear, but with the benefit of waterproof, breathable membranes, orthopaedic insoles and modern materials technologies in sole construction.
Of course, fabric boots are still a hugely popular choice. They are often inexpensive and usually light and cool for summer walking. So what makes people go for leather?
- You can stamp your personality. With time and wear, leather moulds itself to your feet in a way that fabric never can. When you slip them on they are like a part of your body – unique to your shape.
- Tough – in rough terrain they are more resistant to cuts and abrasion. That means they last a long time – and offer more protection.
- Good water resistance – even without a membrane, leather is naturally fairly waterproof (if kept in condition), and they usually have fewer seams and stitching for water to penetrate.
- Straightforward care – washing with water and judicious application of a good conditioner is all that’s required.