Posts tagged boots
I have a good selection of Brasher socks now and I have to say right at the start of this review that I really rate them. I have learnt over the last few years that if you buy decent socks and shoes your feet will thank you. This time I am reviewing the Brasher Hillwalker socks – the women’s fit – and I like them a lot.
Hillwalker socks are designated as two season – spring and summer – and are designed for hiking and hillwalking for as many miles as you fancy. They have ThermoCool fibres which are said to optimise the foot’s natural thermoregulation – in other words they have been made to keep your feet warm when it’s cool and cool when its warm. The ventilation panel on the top of the foot keeps feet cool and dry (and therefore smelling fresh!), and Brasher have included some lycra support in these socks to keep them pulled up and stop them moving around as you walk.
The thing I particularly like about these, and the reason I will be buying a couple more pairs for myself, is the extra cushioning/padding for the heel, toes, ball and top of the foot. I found this cushioning made these some of the most comfortable socks I’ve ever had. Not exactly what Brasher had in mind for them I’m sure, but the part across the top of the foot makes these especially comfortable for wearing with motorcycle boots. They are ideal for wearing with hiking shoes and boots, of course, and are also comfortable for wearing with trainers.
I often wonder if I’m getting too old for New Look, but each time I step inside the Lincoln store I spot tops, jumpers, dresses and (especially) shoes that I love. So hey, I guess I’m still young!
I spotted these new ankle boots the other day and decided I needed them, as often happens with me and shoes. They are black leather Chelsea boots and come in at £69.99. I like the big chunky high heel with the hiking-boot-style ruggedy tread in the contrasting brown. No good for actual hiking of course, but I like the look. Yes?
As always I looked and thought, I don’t have anything to wear with those. So naturally I ended up browsing the New Look website and putting together a wish list of things I’d have to buy if I also purchased the boots. Oops.
On the left we have a fabulous pair of bright red skinny jeans. Oh how I’d love a pair of brightly coloured jeans. There is no way I could pull them off so don’t worry, I’m not going to try, I’d only buy black or blue ones, but I think they look fabulous. Anyone who can wear in your face trousers like these gets a smile from me. I’d wear them with an oversized sweater in a nice neutral cream or beige and stomp around in those boots to my hearts content. Not ladylike but who cares!
And on the right we have a really pretty paisley dress which would be great for the office and would add a bit of much needed spring-time. I’d wear this lovely feminine number with black leggings and a long line black cardigan (as it’s still oh so cold) so the dress really popped and the boots were obvious on my feet.
The fact that I don’t think I’ve worn proper heels for months (and months) is the main reason I’ve not given into these boots already, but that paisley dress has really caught my attention and I reckon it’d look great on. I seriously need to get walking-in-heels skills back!
The Hi-Tec Sierra Sina 200 WPI shoes are warm, waterproof and durable snow boots designed to keep your feet warm and dry whatever the weather. With a leather and nubuck upper, they incorporate a 200g Thinsulate insulation, a moisture wicking lining, and a Vibram rubber outsole ideal for snowy and icy conditions.
I chose these myself from the current Hi-Tec range after being offered a pair to review. I liked them the most from the selection because they didn’t actually look like snow boots… they are just like skate shoes, which I love to wear thanks to their comfort and style.
Here are a few photos of them before I took them out in the rain…
These were comfortable from the first time I wore them, which was actually to walk to the shop one pretty yucky day in early January. It was raining, was very cold, and even though I was worried about ruining the light coloured nubuck leather uppers on these, I wanted to give them a try. My feet thanked me – they were toasty warm, completely dry, and lovely and snug in these Hi-Tecs.
Actually I needn’t have worried about the upper. Sure these shoes don’t look like new any more, but the uppers didn’t ruin, they just dried out (thanks in part to my Stuffits!) a bit darker than before. They are comfy shoes, not smart ones, so that’s fine.
I also took these with me to Finland, where they have proper snow (and proper winter temperatures)! These were my shoes of choice when wandering around in the evenings – they are much less bulky than normal snow boots like my KEENs so I could wear them with my straight cut jeans, and I reckon they kept my feet as warm thanks to that insulated lining. I’ve come across Thinsulate in gloves and hats before, but this is my first experience of it in shoes – it works.
I found myself wearing these to work for a day too. I decided I needed something properly warm and comfortable thanks to the very icy pavements – I didn’t want to be stuck in the office at lunchtime thanks to unsuitable footwear, or break my neck getting to a meeting. The Vibram soles worked a treat and, even though I was definitely careful – I didn’t want to end up with anything broken, I felt very secure with these on my feet.
I do like these a lot and I have been wearing them a lot while it’s been cold. They an easy-wearing shoe, cosy and comfy, that keeps what’s on the inside dry and warm even if the outside is disgusting.
The problem with our hobbies being walking, motorcycling and skiing is that we often end up with a line of boots by the back door drying or airing out. Stinky damp boots. Yuk!
I came across Stuffits at the end of last year and just had to try them out. The company was very kind and sent me a set for my boots and one for my helmet.
The shoe savers have very recently been launched in the UK. Here’s the marketing info…
- Dual-wick fabric combined with natural cedar inserts quickly and effectively protect shoes from moisture and odour
- Soft, lightweight, foot-shaped form fits easily into all types of shoes
- 100% natural cedar means no chemicals, sprays, or powders touch shoes or feet
- Convenient carry straps keeps dry and fresh-smelling shoes together wherever you go
- Reusable over and over again!
Since I had these they have pretty much lived in my hiking boots or snow boots (these seem to be the footwear I’ve used outdoors). The medium size fits perfectly – snug but without stretching – into my size 7 shoes.
I am impressed with the way the Stuffits not only help to dry out my shoes from the inside (which is the bit that takes the longest if they’ve got very wet) but also works to reduce any odour that might have developed after several hours walking. I also like the way the shoe Stuffits can be joined together using the strap, so I can put them in my boots and hang them up, again helping them to dry out and air.
I was even more impressed that when putting these into soaking wet shoes, after leaving them overnight my shoes were dry and there was no trace of any musty damp smell that often lingers, especially in trainers. These nice looking cedar filled shoe savers are my new friends after a long walk for sure!
As for the helmet one I can see where the name came from – Stuffits! I can ram it into my extra small Arai Condor just about (it fits into LincsGeek’s medium sized Caberg much easier), and while I wouldn’t store my helmet like that as I wouldn’t want to affect the shape of the foam interior (and therefore perhaps the fit), I am happy to leave it in there for a few hours to do its work. There is honestly nothing worse than a very sweaty motorcycle helmet, and I will absolutely be taking this simple accessory on the Graham Homes Memorial Ride later in the year.
I have found Stuffits true to their word. They help to dry out shoes and helmets, do their work on any odours, are easy to use and can be used many times over – a few months after receiving my samples they are still working just as well as they did when they arrived. A brilliant idea.
It was a shame I couldn’t fit these in my suitcase when we went skiing as we really could have done with both types while we were away!
It seems like a very long time since I won the KEEN Playtime Tester prize… but it hasn’t been until this last couple of weeks that I’ve been able to give the KEEN Hoodoo High Lace snow boots a really good try. I will be honest and say I very nearly bought this pair of boots last year before we went skiing. I’d tried them on, found them at a decent price, but something stopped me. I’m not sure what. I loved them from the pictures, and wanted them badly. When I won the competition and was allowed to choose four pairs of KEENs it was an absolute no brainer, I had to have these.
The Hoodoo High Lace boots are calf length lace up hiking boots with a thick chunky sole and insulated sock. This is what the website says:
The Hoodoo High Lace tames snow banks and cold fronts with ease. Lined with plush synthetic shearling, the high shaft combines handsome oiled nubuck leather with a fast and easy lacing system for a stylish look that’s easy to get into. Inside, a KEEN.DRY waterproof/breathable membrane and 200g KEEN.WARM insulation keep feet warm, dry, and happy—so you can enjoy winter wherever you are.
I have to say, they only just fit around my legs. I really do have large legs, I hate it, really hate it, but because these are lace ups I can get away with it. Now they’re broken in I can get them laced up better too, the sides of the boot have softened up and they are easier to lace up now they’re not as stiff as when I first got them out of the box. That of course is generally true of any boot. They fit under my ski pants and my boyfriend jeans well, look great over leggings, but I couldn’t get them over or under my straight cut jeans – they wouldn’t do up when the jeans were tucked in and the jeans wouldn’t stretch over the top; I just had to choose my outfits to go with them.
Walking around in the snow was a doddle. The massive lugs on the bottom of the boot gripped onto the thick fresh snow in Finland with no problem at all. I did fall over twice – the first time I was running through the snow when all of a sudden it was at least twice as deep and I sank(!), and the second was when I was walking down a steep icy path – oops. So not fool-proof but better than standard hiking boots. They’ve also been great in the slush and ice this week at home; I walked up the hill into the village on Monday morning and felt very sure footed when others were wobbling around treading daintily. Don’t get me wrong, when it got really icy on the pavements I was careful – I’m not stupid (!), but I was confident that if there was grip to be found, these would grab onto it.
I can also confirm that they keep my feet warm and dry – even in deep snow and at -22C to -28C in Finland last week. I obviously wore them with ski socks while out there as I wanted to give my feet every chance possible, but I can honestly say that my toes were quite happy even when my fingers were moaning! The toe protection is great too, that solid area keeps my feet safe when I inevitably bash into things (so clumsy!), and also help the boots keep their shape.
We had great fun on a couple of walks in the snow in Finland taking in the scenery and snapping photos, having something decent on my feet made a big difference as I didn’t worry about them. Playtime is definitely back in these. I’m so pleased with them. They do their job as all-weather boots without a problem, and fit with my idea of what snow boots should look like. Let it snow!
Being a Playtime Tester has turned me into a proper KEEN fan. Put it this way, next time I need to buy a pair of shoes or boots for the outdoors then I would definitely consider KEEN. The shapes are just right for my feet, with plenty of space for me to wiggle my toes without them being sloppy. And they look great too – the range is full of rugged looking shoes suitable for wearing all day and for various activities. And yes, that’s a glowing review, I can’t help it! I now have my eyes on a pair of the canvas mary jane style flats for the summer.
So thanks KEEN. I’m looking forward to Spring to see what you come up with next.
I write this having just got home from work, still wearing my beloved patent black boots with leggings and a grey dress. Definitely my work fashion of choice (even with legs like mine!), they are probably the closest thing I have to a style.
I blame living in Wollaston as a child. Mum and dad were in charge of the Salvation Army church there – I started school in the village and I have lots of happy memories of the place. Wollaston is where Dr Martens are made in this country – I understand still by hand – I’d love to visit the factory and see how they do it.
If I had lots of money I’d have lots of pairs of Dr Martens… but which pair should I get next? It’s between two pairs, both brown:
At the moment I think I’m swaying towards the traditional 1460 boots as I know I like this style and they would complement my collection nicely. But I quite fancy a pair of long boots, and the Haley boots say they have a calf measurement of 42cm which would just fit. Decisions decisions!
Which would you pick?