In 1978 Chris Brasher, an Olympic gold medallist, designed the Brasher Boot, a walking boot with the comfort of a running shoe. In 2000 his original ideas once again emerged, this time with the Brasher Supalite, one of the lightest leather walking boots ever made. Today’s Supalite II GTX retains the performance, but now with a modern design twist.
Making functional outdoor gear is not too difficult, but making lightweight functional gear that looks reasonably appealing so it can attract more than just the die-hard walker is far more of a challenge. The modern version of Chris Brasher’s design – the Brasher Supalite II GTX – is certainly the most appealing adaptation to date. It still doesn’t grab the attention as well as some other modern designs and it is still more of a traditional ‘brown leather boot’ than some people will wish to be seen wearing, but beneath that low-key exterior lies high-key performance. You are getting a virtually one-piece leather upper, so there is minimal stitching to fray. The leather is reasonably stiff too, and is reinforced at the toe box and heel. Inside you get a leather lining, which some may prefer for comfort, while it may also help protect the Gore-Tex waterproof lining from stray grit. But what I really like here is that the sole unit has good stiffness, and a reasonably deep and widely spaced set of lugs.
On the hill
I’ve been using the old and newer versions of the Supalite for many years. For me it has been the most durable lightweight leather boot I have used. In my experience the sole unit has worn smooth long before anything else has worn out. However with the latest version I have noticed that the laces tend to wear out around the eyelets. The performance is good on the hills, and I’ve used it for scrambling over all types of ground. I do however find that it offers a less stable platform on every step compared to others. The grip and wear of the sole are good, although a deeper lug pattern would of course last longer – and for my money that would make this a better investment. The ankle cuff is relatively low, as it is with most lighter boots, but it is comfortable and still keeps the worst of the grit out. On rockier ground I do prefer a boot with a higher and stiffer ankle cuff, though, so while I have worn them on rockier ground, they are not my first choice.
Upper 1.6-1.8mm full-grain leather, Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole Brasher Supalite, EVA cushioning
Sizes 40-47 (men’s); 36-42 (women’s)
Weight 1216g (pair, size 46)
Made in India
Stores in the UK 215
Stockist details (0191) 516 5780; www.brasher.co.uk
The Brasher Supalite II GTX has a virtually stitch-free upper for maximum durability; stiff toe box; reasonably deep and widely spaced lugs on sole; the leather lining may add more durability. However my experience is that the laces are wearing through on the eyelets; the narrow profile creates a less stable platform compared to others; as with all lighter flexible boots there is less support than you’d get with stiffer but heavier boots. It’s a proven, durable boot, except for the laces, and ideal in many ways for general walking if you don’t want extra support.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2011