Meindl Portland XCR

Despite being a bit heavier than some shoes, the Portland still manage to get the balance of weight and stiffness just about right. The sole is plenty stiff enough for most uses and there is an excellent amount of heel hold to keep your foot locked in place over uneven ground and when walking downhill. They have great stability under the heel too, with a flared-out sole that really helps keep you upright and prevents ankle rolling – particularly useful towards the end of a long day, as 14 miles over the South Downs will testify. All of this stability and technical ability does of course come at a price, although they feel beautifully made. Be warned that they do take a tiny amount of breaking in and won’t be as immediately comfortable for casual use, but hopefully that means they will last a bit longer.

Materials: Suede/mesh, Gore-Tex XCR
Sole: Meindl Contagrip Trail
Weight: 1,022g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 015395 60214;
• Review from Country Walking magazine, June ’11