Our outdoor review today is around the Berghaus Hillmaster II GTX boot. Berghaus have joined forces with Brasher to work on the Berghaus Hillmaster II GTX (Hillmaster II). The original Hillmaster boots, then made solely by Brasher, had been the stalwart of many hikers and had built up a substantial following. With the introduction of this new model, Berghaus announced an improvement program:
– Gender-specific comfort fit for men and women that has been tried and tested for all-day walking comfort.
– Fabric lining for enhanced comfort.
– New lightweight and hardwearing Hillmaster sole unit with cushioned comfort and reduced lug depth to offer anti-clogging, grip and durability.
– PU midsole and rand, offering shock absorption and protection for all day walking.
– Soft, supple and abrasion resistant luxurious full grain leather upper 2.2-2.4mm for men and 2.0-2.2mm for women.
– Revised collar and tongue pattern for enhanced comfort.
– Repositioned locking hook for extra heel hold.
– Memory Foam in the collar and tongue, plus additional ankle foam pads, for extra comfort.
When looking for a mid-range boot, we settled on the Hillmaster II to do our outdoor review on as it seemed to offer everything we needed. Since then we have taken our Hillmaster II’s through a series of hikes over the past month and we have learned a lot about them from testing them in a range of situations. Having worn the previous Hillmaster boots, we were excited about what the new model would bring. Berghaus didn’t disappoint, ensuring the features that made the previous boot great have lived on.
We will now look more closely at the features of the boots.
The first thing to strike you is the classic styling of the hill master boot, their chocolate leather and metal eyelets just ooze quality and make you hope that the fit and comfort are able to match this first impression. More on that later.
The boot entry is nice and wide, allowing an easy way to move the boot on and off, especially with cold hands and thick socks. The metal eyelets mentioned earlier for their quality appearance also deliver in use. They allow a fast closure and tight fit with minimal effort, again always helpful on a cold morning.
The leather itself is supple and extremely waterproof. The GORE-TEX definitely does its job, even after walking through deep water we were completely dry (see below). Its so refreshing to have complete faith in a boot in these circumstances. We used the Berghaus ‘conditioning cream‘ between uses and found that this gave a good finish to the leather. It did take a while to work this into the surface, but if you spend money on a quality product you should be willing to put the effort in to keep it at its best.
We pushed the Hillmaster II’s to the limits in our outdoor review, but they never let us down.
Moving onto the fit and feel of the boots, we found the ankle support to be ample. You can get higher sided support in another boot, but these can sometimes feel restrictive. We feel the Hillmaster II gives you a good balance of support and manoeuvrability. We have tested the tradition pattern of the Vibram sole over all types of ground, from sand, to grass, to rock, to boulders, to snow, to water, to mud and back. The only time we had any kind of traction issues was on a moss covered rock in the fog, a surface you would struggle on in any boot. They are not the lightest boot on the market at 1482g, but given the quality sole and the leather construction giving you that solid feel, we will gladly take the extra grams to have these attributes.
Looking at all these aspects you can see we really rather like the Hillmaster II’s. But what we like more than anything about them is the comfort they give on an extended hike. They are simply the most comfortable boots we have ever worn. They are also very warm, which helps tremendously on a icy morning hike. As with most footwear, there was an initial stiffness in the leather, but this passed by the end of our first short trial walk (3 miles). Upon wearing them for our second test the had all gone and the boots seemed to mould perfectly to your feet and have been this way ever since.
So, our final score for the outdoor review. We have to award them a 9. We loved this product and we would recommend them to anyone looking for a mid-range boot with the quality of a more expensive model.
We Go Wild UK