Boreal is perhaps best-known for making more climbing- and mountaineering- orientated footwear, but the Aztec is an example of what it can produce for hillwalkers – and at this price it offers a great deal for the money. It has a fabric and leather upper like most mountain activity shoes, but it benefits from a little more support than most by having good stiffness in the heel cup and toe box to protect the foot on rocky terrain. There’s a rubber rand at the toe box too for long-term durability when negotiating rougher going. The performance benefit extends to the outsole, which is a Vibram unit with well-spaced lugs to prevent clogging and a heel breast to aid braking during a descent on soft ground. Grab the Boreal Aztec between the toe and heel and it has a good, firm resistance to bending, which is ideal for rockier conditions. On the foot it feels good with a close, precise fit that suits clambering over easier rocky terrain as well as tramping along trails. The Boreal Aztec’s only drawback is that it’s a bit heavier than others and feels slightly ‘clumpier’ and more boot-like on the foot.
Upper material 2mm split leather, synthetic tongue
Waterproof lining Boreal Dry-Line
Sole unit Vibram Skyrunning
Men’s sizes 6-12
Women’s sizes 4-8
Weight 1188g (pair, size 11)
For a practical alternative to a boot, the Boreal Aztec is ideal; but for something much lighter and much more comfortable others here have the edge. It won the ‘Best Value’ accolade.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2013