British mountains provide a unique test for the walker, with terrain that includes everything from smooth paths to rocky scrambles and from grassy slopes to boggy moors. While it is easy to get gear that performs well in one situation, it is far more difficult to find outdoors kit that manages to handle everything the UK hills can throw at you.
Most outdoor gear is designed to appeal to a broad European or North American market; but Mammut’s Brecon 3-season boot has been designed to cope with British conditions, so it should be ideal for the typical mix of terrain such as that found in the Lakes, Dales and Scottish Highlands, not forgetting the Brecon Beacons.
On first appearances this boot resembles Mammut’s popular £185 Mt Crest, but the new Brecon costs just £145. The big difference is in the upper material. The Brecon is made from waxed suede leather, while the Mt Crest is made from nubuck leather, a higher-quality material – so in the long term the Brecon is going to need a little more care to maintain its performance. The Brecon also lacks the Motion Control technology provided by the Mt Crest, extra reinforcement that prevents the heel from twisting outwards. So in theory the Brecon is a less supportive boot than the Mt Crest.
Get the Brecon on and it offers a fairly traditional experience, though, being supportive enough while being built to take plenty of abuse, whether grappling with rock and scree or tackling boggy moorland.
There is good stiffness and support in the upper for rocky ground, while a rubber rand around the toe provides extra durability. Like the Mt Crest, it uses Mammut’s Rolling Concept, which in plain English means there is a good shape and support to the sole as well as good padding inside for a natural walking action, which makes it comfortable when on the move.
On softer ground the grip is good thanks to the use of a sole unit, with deep lugs that are well-spaced to prevent clogging. The heel breast is not as aggressive as on some boots, but there is enough bite to provide reasonable braking power on a descent.
Mammut’s Brecon does pretty much everything it sets out to do. It does have the performance to match the typical challenges thrown up by British mountains; and while it may lack some of the finer detail of boots that cost £40 more, such as the Mammut Mt Crest,
I suspect that most people would rather keep that cash in their pocket and just enjoy using the Brecon in the British mountains for which it was designed. Sadly, those people are unlikely to include many females, as there is no women’s version of this excellent all-round boot.
Upper waxed suede leather
Sole Vibram MT Traction
Sizes 6-13 (men’s)
Weight 1720g (pair, size 11)
Made in China
More info www.mammut.ch
With a design and a price to match the needs of the British walker, the Mammut Brecon 3-season boot is destined to become a regular sight on our hills.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2012