The boots are a supportive and sturdy, yet lightweight, pair of hiking boots that offer GORE-TEX waterproof protection and an extremely comfortable fit.
I was wearing these boots straight out of the box and onto the hills with no 'breaking in' at all – and experienced no rubbing or discomfort, even after a long hike on the first day.
The boots are very breathable, with a suede and mesh upper, making them ideal for wearing in warmer weather. I found them lower cut at the heel than I'm used to – this didn't affect ankle support, giving good security over uneven ground, but it did allow for greater freedom of movement during more active hikes that required some scrambling.
My feet felt very secure in these boots. As an intermittent sufferer from plantar fasciitis, I need supportive footwear on long hikes – and the Explorer Trail boots certainly fit the bill. I was very glad of the extra cushioning provided by the OrthoLite foot bed, and the Berghaus engineered TPU Plantar Plates protected my feet from impact damage.
The boots have excellent grip, and coped well with rocky, slippery surfaces, gravel paths, mud and wet, grassy banks. They also kept my feet dry during wet weather and when traversing streams. When the boots got wet they were quick to dry.
At just 870g this is a relatively lightweight boot, so is a good travelling option. But despite its lighter weight, it feels reassuringly sturdy and durable, with good support and protection for ankles and toes.
I went up half a shoe-size – to avoid plantar fasciitis issues I like to wear thick cushioned walking socks with hiking boots. The Explorer Trail boots were quite roomy, though, and very true to size – so, unless like me you like very thick walking socks, I'd recommend sticking to your normal shoe size.
Overall, the best thing about these boots was the level of comfort they offer. For someone who frequently suffers from heel pain following a day in the hills, it was a blessing to find a hiking boot that supported my feet so well.