Traction and Stability8.5 /10
Water Resistance7.5 /10
- Comfort straight out of the box
- Easily accessible for unexperienced hikers
- New technologies employed to for top traction and stability
- Durability is questionable
- Not for the dedicated, experienced trekker
Berghaus is a brand ubiquitous with the Great British outdoors, and as early pioneers of specialist hiking gear production they have certainly earned that recognition over the years. The name Berghaus (German for ‘mountain house’) is so highly rated because of their continuing innovations over the years, bringing new comforts for the burgeoning outdoor activity scene. The Explorer Trek Plus is, according to their website, ‘the most popular fabric fell walking boot in Britain’, but is this the case only because of past glories? Or is Berghaus still the innovative force it has always been?
It has to be said that the Berghaus Explorer is clearly targeted to the much wider audience, being less about specialisation and more about all-round appeal. These are an accessible pair of mid- top hiking boots that feel good out of the box and it must be said that plenty of effort has been put in to ensure the Explorer Plus scores high on the comfort front. They do not suffer from the sizing issue that seems to plague so many of their competitors, the size you are is the size you should order. It also has good width, with the amount of padding on the interior making it snug for the majority of people. The real kicker that make them a truly comfortable hiking shoe is the cushioned insole, the OrthoLite foot bed which provides brilliant cushioning as well as having anti-odour properties.
Weighing in at 1120g these boots are on the lower end of the scale as you may expect from a populist all-round three season hiking boot. They don’t feel flimsy however and the weight is well balanced across the boot, helping the boot be supportive, leading me to…
Traction and Stability
The first thing to notice in the aesthetic of the boot is that the ankle is fairly low compared to many of the other best mid-hiking shoe’s on the market. When you think of the lightness of the boot in combination with this fact, you may be forgiven for having your doubts on the support that the Berghaus can offer. They have managed to offset this by some smart design features however, using a new type of EVA midsole, alongside a TPU plantar plate that caresses the foot well and holds it in place. The real innovation, however, is the EHS (Ergonomic Holding System) which is designed to support the heel with a snug yet flexible and comfortable fit. It does this by creating the boot in layers, using a band that runs from under the sole diagonally up to the ankle. When used in conjunction with the adjustable lacing system and ample padding inside, it really does mean good support for use on the less challenging trails. On steeper ground however the boot is too flexible, there isn’t enough tension to really help you up the more challenging slopes and hills.
In this vein the traction provided by the Opti-Stud outsole has an excellent grip on your average trail, doing the job very well for the more casual walker. When the going gets tough though, the experience hiker will perhaps lean more toward a more specialised mountain boot.
As you may expect from the description so far, the durability on the Explorer Trek Plus is questionable. This is not to say it is sub-par, but because of the nature of its target audience, these aren’t for the dedicated, perennial rambler. The combination of suede upper and abrasion resistant mesh is good but doesn’t inspire complete confidence. The competitive price perhaps highlights the more temporary nature of these boots.
Our old friend Gore-Tex is once again present here (He does get around, doesn’t he?) and the combination with suede is a tried and trusted classic, especially for the three-season all-rounders. The low ankle once again suffers here, as obviously the depth you can go in a stream before getting wet is limited. Another issue to watch out for is where the tongue meets the boot, an elementary error, causing further damage to these boots waterproof rating in this review. Some have complained that the Gore-Tex hasn’t been used properly here and causes breathability issues.
I have stressed many times during this review that the target of this boot’s manufacture is for the less discerning hiker, the fact it’s the Duke of Edinburgh Award’s recommended boot is proof that this is for the holiday hiker. For those of you who have spent a lifetime on the trail looking for new best friends, gloss over this review. If you are just realising the wonders of the wider rural world and are looking for a nice pair of outdoor waterproof boots to get you started on your treks, then this is a very good all-round affordable option.
|Upper Material||Suede Leather
TPU Plantar Plate
|Closure||Berghaus Enhanced Holding System|
|Claimed Weight (per pair)||1.2kg|
|Best Use||Medium to Advanced Hikes|