Berghaus called past versions of its Explorer Trek GTX boot ‘Britain's 'most popular waterproof fabric fell walking boot'. Has this newer suede design still got what it takes? On paper, it ticks a lot of boxes, with a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, Vibram rubber soles, a light weight and flexible suede fabric that should make it feel comfortable for long days in the hills. Sounds good on paper; time to put it through its paces and see if it ranks with the best women's hiking boots and the best hiking boots for men. Read on for my full Berghaus Explorer Trek Gore-Tex Hiking Boots review.
Berghaus Explorer Trek Gore-Tex Hiking Boots review: Design and features
Berghaus Explorer Trek Gore-Tex Hiking Boots review: specs
Colours available: 1 (for women) 2 (for men)
Sizes available: 4.5-8, 7-12
It rains around 170 days a year in the UK, so odds are pretty high that you’re going to encounter wet conditions while hiking in Blighty. Enter Gore-Tex, makers of a hiking boot membrane that does a great job at keeping water at bay. It’s built into the Explorer Trek boot and worked very well on test even when I trekked in driving rain. This boot feels as warm as leather to wear, too, though it’s not as breathable as a fabric boot would be, so it’s best saved for use from autumn to spring.
At 540g per boot (for the women’s model), the Explorer is a light- to middle-weight boot that doesn’t weigh the foot down even over longer distances. The rubber sole is pretty solid and has less flex than some lighter weight boots we’ve tested, but it feels tough and supportive underfoot and is good for dealing with rocky, challenging terrain, with a durable toe box and a tight lacing system and narrow ankle adding further protection and support.
I like the neutral looks and dark colourways of this classic-looking boot. Suede is a good choice of material for hiking boots because it’s both durable and breathable, but in my experience, suede boots require a bit more care than washable fabric or wipe-clean leather designs, and can stain easily – it’s a good idea to invest in a suede-specific cleaning agent if you do get your new boots muddy, to keep them looking their best.
Berghaus Explorer Trek Gore-Tex Hiking Boots review: Performance and comfort
Grip is arguably the most important element in a good hiking boot – and the grip of the Explorer Trek really impressed me when I hit the trails of Wales to test it out. The Vibram-branded rubber sole has well-placed Opti-Stud lugs (the indentations that help your boot keep contact with the ground) that give welcome control and balance even on wet rock or muddy terrain. This stay-put grip adds confidence in bad weather and makes this boot well able to explore off the beaten hiking trail and up into the fells. Top marks – if you’re getting more ambitious with your hiking adventures and want to graduate from a more basic boot, this is a solid choice.
The Explorer Trek is comfortable straight out of the box, and deep, cushiony insoles mould nicely to your feet over time. Fit is true to size but on the narrow side around the toes – if you suffer from bunions or just have naturally wide feet, try a size up or a different model altogether.
Berghaus Explorer Trek review: alternatives
If you prefer full leather, Berghaus’ Hillwalker II boot boasts classic looks and Gore-Tex waterproofing.
Berghaus Explorer Trek Gore-Tex Hiking Boots review: verdict
Comfortable suede, reliable Gore-Tex waterproofing and really excellent grip – Berghaus’ Explorer Trek is a bit of a classic walking boot for the colder months for good reason. This versatile design might just be the whole package for day hikers looking to go from peak to pub, although it’ll suit those with a narrow foot best, and be aware that the suede will take looking after to keep it smart. Before you buy, make sure you check our Berghaus discount codes to lower the cost.