Berghaus Leather Boots

Author: George Tod

Evaluation



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Berghaus Boots after over 1400 Miles



General view of Berghaus boot with 'one piece' leather construction

Loop of bootlace sewn on to prevent the tongue from sliding round to one side

Only Moderate Wear to sole

Rand coming completely adrift; also deep cracks in leather

Cost

60 in 1999 (reduced from 90)

Comfort

I knew from the first fitting of these boots that they were going to be comfortable. They had a good, wide fitting with plenty of room for my feet without them slopping about. The leather was very supple, whilst still giving a solid and secure feel to the boot, and the padding around the ankle was almost as soft as that found on the best fabric boots. They lived up well to my initial expectations in practice, apart from one minor but annoying initial problem. When I first started to wear them I found that the tongues tended to work their way to one side after a few miles, to the point where the edge of the tongue was rubbing against my anklebone and causing some discomfort. If I stopped to reposition the tongues they would not stay where they were put for very long before working their way back round again. Eventually, I managed to get one tongue bedded into the correct position, where it then stayed, but the other tongue would not do the same. After some thought, I sewed a small loop of old bootlace onto the offending tongue and looped this around a lace hook and this held it in the right position.

As with many leather boots, the footbed was of a very solid construction, which protects the feet from sharp stones but can cause some discomfort on long distance walks. However, unlike some boots, which have very flat footbeds, these had footbeds which were contoured somewhat to the shape of the feet, and this improved the level of comfort. I did suffer some discomfort when doing some of the longer stages of the Cleveland Way, but that was partly my own fault for not putting in thicker insoles when the original ones had compressed flat. For long distance walking, I generally find that the supplied insoles are rather inadequate and that thicker, cushioned ones are a great improvement. After fitting thicker insoles, these boots gave me some very comfortable wear for the rest of their life.

Water Resistance

Initially, these boots kept my feet dry in all but the wettest conditions, and even then they let in very little water. Although the rand started parting from the boot after a few hundred miles, this did not seem to have too much effect on the water resistance. Eventually, they suffered the same problem as many leather boots; cracks started to appear where the leather flexed most, and this allowed water to penetrate. The rand parted further from the leather and also started to let water enter lower down. These problems started to occur at about 1,000 miles and gradually got worse. I actually walked the Cambrian Way in these boots, which had done about 1,100 miles by the time I started. This, perhaps, wasn't a wise move, but I didn't want to start a long walk with new boots. I spent a lot of the walk with wet feet, and this caused a number of problems. However, I couldn't really complain about this, as it only occurred after a lengthy period of very good service.

The photographs show the boots after 1,400 miles of walking plus another few hundred miles of use walking the dog on muddy paths without any care or attention to the boots. By this point, the rand had completely parted company from the leather in places, and water could easily penetrate through the various cracks and holes in the leather, both above and below the rand.

Wear

Even after 1,400 miles and more, the degree of wear to the soles and other parts of the boots was not excessive and, had it not been for the cracking of the leather and rand separation, which allowed water to enter, they would have lasted even longer.

Good Points

Bad Points

General Assessment

My general impression of these boots has been that they are the best ones I have ever had. They were comfortable right from the start, although not quite as instantly comfortable as some fabric boots, and they have provided me with a lot of trouble free walking. They were the most expensive boots I had had up to that point, in terms of list price (even allowing for inflation), and even at their full price they would have been good value for their excellent comfort and hard wearing qualities. However, for the 60 I actually paid for them in a sale, they were indeed a real bargain and I would gladly have bought another pair, even at the full price. However, things seldom work out that way, as manufacturers change designs on a regular basis and stockists only have a limited range to choose from so, just when you think you have found the ideal boot, it is not easy just to buy another pair of the same. It did, however, make me realise that good leather boots can be nearly as comfortable as fabric ones, but with the advantage of being more robust, watertight and durable.


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