Berghaus Explorer FT Active GoreTex walking shoe review: a classic fast mover

The Berghaus Explorer FT Active GTX walking shoes build on the brand's rep for rock-solid stability but adds a speedy twist

Berghaus Explorer FT Active GoreTex review
(Image credit: Matt Ray)
T3 Verdict

The Berghaus Explorer FT Active GTX is a lightweight shoe that combines great traction with waterproofing and excellent cushioning underfoot for long-distance effort. The sole has some stiffness to it, and the rand around the toes, heel and side has been printed with rubber in case you find yourself in rougher terrain.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Stable and yet nimble

  • +

    Light and surprisingly breathable

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not ideal for the most gnarly conditions

  • -

    Not great for high-volume feet

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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, which keeps your arch supported.

Berghaus Explorer FT Active GoreTex review

(Image credit: Berghaus)

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).

Berghaus Explorer FT Active GoreTex review

(Image credit: Berghaus)

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!

Matt Ray

Matt Ray is an outdoor journalist and photographer whose work appears in magazines and websites, including, Men’s Fitness and Nat Geo Traveller. He can find an adventure anywhere, from racing a mountain bike down a ski slope, to climbing under bridges in Edinburgh.