I’ve been wearing the all-leather Brasher Supalite II GTX virtually every day for the last few years, and for a lightweight boot it’s one the best on offer in my experience. However there are lighter models out there, and the new Brasher Supalite Activ GTX is a direct competitor to those lighter alternatives. What I want to know is, does it have the staying power of its all-leather predecessor?
The Brasher Supalite Activ GTX, which also boasts a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex lining, tips the scales at just 1042g (pair, size 11), making it significantly lighter than the all-leather Brasher Supalite II GTX (1268g). It is therefore instantly appealing to anyone who wants to save weight and use less energy when hillwalking. At £130 the Supalite is £15 lower in price than the leather alternative, which makes it desirable, particularly as outdoor gear pricing is rising while most people’s income is stagnating.
Brasher describes the Supalite Activ as ‘ideal for leisure walking and kicking around the campsite’ so it is clearly underplaying its performance on more rugged terrain. However, at this price and weight those who cut grams to reduce fatigue when hillwalking will clearly be interested.
Also, the sole unit has a good degree of stiffness to ensure that walking over rockier ground isn’t going to be as inappropriate as the manufacturer implies. The toe box is quite soft, though, so I wouldn’t want to have boulders landing on top of my foot while wearing these. It’s this aspect of the Supalite Activ that’s so different from the all-leather Brasher Supalite II. I’ve even found the Supalite II a little unprotective on rockier ground, so I’m certainly less keen on taking the Supalite Activ on the rockiest of hill trips. I’ve been really impressed with how durable the all-leather Supalite II has proved to be over the years, and Brasher has done a great job of keeping the upper and particularly the flex point clean on this fabric version, which should help durability. However, I wouldn’t expect the upper of the Supalite Activ to last as long as that of the leather alternative; time will tell if my prediction is right.
On the foot, the Supalite Activ is instantly comfortable, something Brasher has always been good at. It feels light and responsive, but it’s not quite as close-fitting as the all-leather Supalite II. On the hill it feels very much like its leather alternative, so there isn’t the most stable foot placement available on every step, and your feet have to work quite hard when scrambling or walking over rockier ground. Also, as already mentioned, that upper doesn’t protect the foot as well. So while many ‘lightweight’ hillwalkers will enjoy using this on the hill, I can see why Brasher has promoted it as a boot for more gentle activity. I’d happily use it for general hillwalking, but on some terrain I’d prefer the leather Supalite II or a more supportive and protective boot. But if low weight and price are your priorities, then the Supalite Activ has much to offer the hillwalker.
Upper material synthetic fabric, suede overlays, Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole Brasher Supalite
Men’s sizes 7-12
Women’s sizes 4-8
Weight 1042g (pair, size 11)
The Brasher Supalite Activ GTX offers much of what its well-established leather counterpart provides, but in a lighter and lower-priced package. Only time will tell if its durability is as good as that of the leather version.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine June 2013