As a brand with long British adventure pedigree, Berghaus may be known more for its heavier walking boots, but it has brought its expertise to fast and light with the Berghaus Explorer FT Active GoreTex.
The Explorer FT Active GoreTex is aimed at anyone looking to take on the big outdoors but leave the heavy clobber at home. Can it stand up against the best men's walking shoes and best women's walking shoes, though? We hit the trails to find out.
Berghaus Explorer FT Active review: design and features
The real test of most walking shoes is can they still be comfy after a long hiking day when you are worn out and sore? Berghaus knows this and has included a foot-saving Ortholite Multisport footbed in the Explorer FT Active GTX (opens in new tab), which keeps your arch supported.
The Vibram OPTI-STUD sole impressed me with its sticky, grippy rubber and aggressive but mud-shedding grips, which also bear up well over time. You can shove this shoe between boulders without tearing the fabric around toes, heel and the sides, which improves its flexibility for sections of scrambling.
Berghaus Explorer FT Active GoreTex review: performance and comfort
If you’re looking for lightweight outdoor performance, then the Explorer FT Active GTX has you covered. If you aspire to be a hot-stepping mountain athlete, then they will have you hopping down the trail in no time. That does mean that they are less supportive than some other offerings, but there’s always a balance to be struck here.
The Gore-Tex upper gives you the confidence to tackle inclement conditions, while at the same time being surprisingly breathable for a waterproof layer, when the sun shines. It’s not going to hold up to proper filthy weather, but then that’s what walking boots are for (you can’t waterproof your ankles, unless you use waterproof socks).
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Berghaus says these shoes have been built for stamina and agility and I think I can see what they are getting at – the comfort of a well-built, traditional walking shoe, packaged with some of the energy of a trail runner. I wouldn’t run in these, but I wouldn’t hesitate to set a rapid pace, confident that blisters aren’t going to ruin my day.
I did find that the toe box was a little snug for my high-volume feet, so the Explorer FT Active GTX would suit those with narrower or less hefty appendages. The heel area is well protected but could do with grabbing the heel a bit more – again that’s a personal fit thing. The lacing system is simple and versatile, so no complaints there.
Berghaus Explorer FT Active GoreTex review: verdict
A blend of stamina and agility that really does manage to tick both of those boxes. The Explorer FT Active GTX offers good waterproofing without sacrificing much in breathability, and the lighter footfall does enable you to flex your agility out on the trails. The brand you trust to deliver a comfortable hike has hit the mark again with walking shoes that will encourage you to get out there and explore!