Meindl revolutionised the comfort of hillwalking footwear in the early Nineties by making durable leather boots that were far more comfortable than they had ever been before. But now what we all want from a boot isn’t just about comfort; it’s also about weight and most recently price.
The Toronto has been designed especially for the UK market to offer that tried and trusted Meindl leather boot quality, comfort and performance but at a far more competitive price. At £140 the boot sits below Meindl’s popular Kansas at £160 and the Burma at £190, in terms of price, but it’s also lighter than these models too, though not as light as the Softline Light.
The boot looks and feels like a Meindl as soon as your eyes and hands begin to take in its form. The ankle cuff is typical Meindl, made from soft leather that’s beautifully padded while being high enough to protect the ankle. It’s also incredibly flexible, with the comfort and flex extending down the front of the boot to the toe.
With one hand on the heel and one hand on the toe, you find that the sole stiffness is far more supportive than the upper would suggest. In fact it almost feels out of proportion, as the sole unit hardly flexes when compared to the supple soft upper.
Underfoot there’s a Vibram sole that’s quite a departure from the norm, as it has a more sporty, even casual, pattern of lugs than I have come to expect from Meindl. There isn’t much of a heel breast and the lugs aren’t quite as deep and aggressive
as those on other Meindl boots.
The Toronto is described as a 2-3 season boot, like many modern lighter and more flexible models, but it has that extra stiffness in the sole that makes it pretty useful on rockier ground. I’ve been wearing the Toronto a great deal and I love it for easier paths, grass slopes and moorland. I would like it more if the outsole lugs were slightly more aggressive, though, as during descents it does not quite have the bite that some other lightweight, low-priced leather boots have. However, it does have better stiffness and provides a very stable foot placement.
I found the blend of stiff sole, soft upper and padded ankle cuff to be a slightly strange combination, with the ankle cuff feeling a little bulkier than it needs to be
for the rest of the boot. But when used on fell paths, moors, valleys and some easier rocky ground it does perform quite well overall. I’d prefer a Meindl Kansas or Burma in many ways; but I love the cash saving that the Toronto provides, and I love its lighter weight – so for general walking the Toronto provides much of what is needed. As it has a leather upper it should last well, and once you get used to the unusual combination of stiffness and suppleness it’s nice to wear. The Toronto sets a new standard for Meindl and places the brand right back into the heart of the British hillwalking boot market.
Upper material aniline leather, Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Men’s sizes 6-12
Women’s sizes 3½-8
Weight 1622g (pair, size 11)
The Toronto GTX is a well-priced boot with typical Meindl comfort coupled with a good weight, but a little more attack in the sole lugs would be good.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine Spring 2013