Traction and Stability8.0 /10
Water Resistance7.5 /10
- Super lightweight, super comfy walking shoe
- Delivers massively on what they are intended for. Quite possible the best leather walking boot for medium terrain country walks
- Brasher brand
- Little to no ankle support. But this is expected as it is not intended for advanced hikes
- Although they are GTX, they do not protect your shoe well due to the low ankle
Chris Brasher was a remarkable character, he was a pace-setter in the first four minute mile, an Olympic gold medallist, the pioneer of orienteering in Britain and the founder of the London Marathon, but more crucially for us he is the godfather of the walking boot. It’s a bold statement, but because of the comfort he has brought to thousands upon thousands of people on their outdoor sojourns, it is most definitely an appropriate one. It is upon his shoulders that the realisation that boots don’t have to give you blisters rests, through the simple question ‘Why can’t walking boots be as comfortable as trainers?’ The Brasher Boot was the result, becoming the foremost walking shoe in Britain in a very short time. The Countrymaster is a more recent offering from the company, does it live up to the legacy?
As you may expect given the question at the heart of the origin of the Brasher Boot, comfort is at the heart of the brand and the Countrymaster is not an exception, utilising an EVA midsole as a shock absorber and requiring very little breaking in. This is definitely a hiking shoe though, rather than a boot, and as such rides very low on the ankle, giving little to no support. Though the memory foam padding that it does have on the tongue and collar is perfectly comfortable and is suitable for its intended use. Despite the fact they may look like a smart shoe more suited to the city, these are definitely a walking boot and your feet will thank you for wearing them.
Obviously, less shoe will usually mean less weight and there are no nasty surprises here. At just over a kilogramme for a pair these are pretty lightweight. The brown leather (they come in two shades of brown, classic or country) means that it doesn’t feel flimsy however, and for their purpose as a more casual yet effective walking shoe, they work very well. Despite the low ankle and general shape they are also not trail runners, they fulfil quite a specific niche, the weight is not wasted.
Traction and Stability
As mentioned above, there is quite a specific niche for these particular shoes, they are designed more for a country stroll with a possible diversion into a nice country pub. For this purpose, they are quite possibly the best leather walking boot. What you won’t particularly want to do with these is climb peaks, ford rivers or cross the desert. You will suffer. That’s not to say they can’t tackle terrain, they have a nice raised cleat pattern on the sole that holds onto medium difficulty ground well and have decent enough grip if your gentle excursion happens across a few errant rocks. Considering these are certainly from the more casual end of the spectrum of hiking boot they certainly hold their own. The low ankle also means that there is less stability than required for any serious hill walks. Sherpas probably won’t be wearing these but what do they know about style?
The Country masters are light, comfortable and decent on the trail, these things are down to excellent design, however it is the fantastic build quality which means that Brasher’s specialist leather walking boots will be a brilliant and hardy purchase for the more casual walker. Of course the target audience for them means they are not tested in the same way as your more heavy duty boot, but the excellent finish on these means that they will last whether you do end up using them mostly for casual wear or on forays out into the country.
Somewhat strangely the Brasher Countrymaster has GTX at the end of the product name. Of course this means Gore-Tex is present here, that is not strange in itself, it’s an old friend by now. What is strange is that they bothered to add it to the shoe. As a low-ankle casual walking boot they are not much good to keep your feet dry in much but the shallowest puddles. However, it must be said that in these puddles the combination of Gore-Tex and high quality British leather will keep your feet bone dry.
I have mentioned throughout the niche that these shoes serve. Imagine the scene, bucolic summers day temperature in the high seventies, the light breeze nudging the leaves of wistful willow trees along the rustling stream. In the distance, you see a quaint country pub that you are quite sure serve a fantastic home-brewed cider. Wiping the faint sweat from your brow you resolve to make it there for a pint and some lunch in comfort and style. You are most assuredly wearing Brasher Countrymaster GTX’s.
|Upper Material||Premium Nubuck leather|
|Claimed Weight (per pair)||1kg|
|Best Use||Country Walks|