Meindl Portland Lady GTX (2013)

Really comfortable and supportive shoes with a lovely lightweight feel. Good lateral stiffness provides adequate support on rough terrain, and the flexible toe means they feel as comfortable in the street as they do on the hill. A great speed-lacing system makes it easy to spread the tension across your foot for a really snug fit, and there’s plenty of mesh in the uppers for breathability too. The Contagrip sole provides decent enough traction on most types of ground, and there’s great shock absorption too, especially at the heel. Protection at the toe and heel will stop your feet getting knocked about, and there’s a Gore-Tex lining to keep your feet dry.


Sizes: 3½-8
Upper: Suede and mesh
Sole: Meindl double-density Contagrip
Waterproof/breathable lining: Gore-Tex
Weight: 740g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 01539 560214;



Keen Bryce Low WP


Our rating: ****


Tough-looking shoes in the traditional Keen square-toed design. They’re not as voluminous as they look, though, and will suit a variety of foot shapes. Lots of padding makes them feel comfortable and very secure, but also very hot, and lots of waterproof leather in the uppers means they’re not particularly light or breathable either. But they’re well-made and certainly very tough; so they’ll take a beasting on the trail before any real signs of wear appears. They’ve got a waterproof lining to keep out water, and plenty of stiffness in the midsole for support on rough terrain. The sole is very grippy and there’s plenty of shock absorption for a spring in your step. Pronounced rubber bumpers at the toe and heel protect from knocks.


Sizes: 2½-8
Upper: Leather
Sole: Keen non-marking rubber
Waterproof/breathable lining: Keen Dry
Weight: 800g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 00800 22555336;



Hi-Tec Harmony Lace WP


Our rating: ***


New for 2013 and very lightweight, but surprisingly small and narrow for their size – they’re very well-suited to women with lower-volume feet. The uppers are soft, comfortable and supportive, though, and plenty of mesh in the uppers helps your feet breathe and makes them feel great in warm weather. The lacing system is a little fiddly across the toes, but it will hold your feet securely when properly adjusted. There’s a waterproof lining to keep your feet dry, and there’s some nice-looking waterproof leather in the uppers. Aggressive lugs at the toe and heel provide great grip on steep ground, although a lack of midsole stiffness will leave them wanting on tough terrain. They’ve got a good quality Vibram sole, though.


Sizes: 4-8, 37-42
Upper: Leather/textile
Sole: Vibram
Waterproof/breathable lining: Waterproof
Weight: 600g
Men’s version: No
Contact: 01702 541741;