The V3 is a big, chunky, contemporary-styled boot which looks impressive on the shelf and shamelessly steals detailing cues from both climbing shoes and much more expensive boots. However, at just £110 for a waterproof, high-level hiking boot with a Vibram sole could it be a sheep in wolf’s clothing?
We’ve been putting the Anatom V3 boots to the test over the last few months on lowland terrain, muddy bogs and streams and the best way that we can describe them is as a mountaineer’s boot for people who don’t climb mountains. Let me explain further…
The V3 has a tall ankle support, and when putting your foot in to the boot it feels very snug and exoskeleton like. The difference in support on rutted, rocky paths is noticeable over a lower-ankled boot like the Q2 – the V3 offers to stop more of those ankle-twisting, day-ending stumbles off uneven ground – and for somebody like me with weak ankles they give a definite boost to confidence.
But at the same time, the V3 has quite a low Achilles tendon cut-out which means that it offers slightly lower support levels than you might think, given the height of the tongue. This is a trade-off for comfort, and the V3’s party piece is its comfort so it’s a trade-off which I’m happy with.
The comfort is evident from the moment you slide your foot in. The entire upper feels lined with a spacer foam and there’s lots of give in the woollen footbed so that the feeling is akin to a heavy slipper at first. The woollen footbed is a thing of wonder, with antibacterial properties and self-lubricating properties to minimise underfoot blisters. Unfortunately, the wool’s loft is lost fairly quickly, so you only get to experience the sheep-like feel on a new pair. The ankle and tongue of the V3 is heavily padded so that even when you’ve pulled the laces as tight as you can, there’s still some evident padding.
The upper of the V3 is a combination of suede and fabric. I think it looks great, with it’s stitching harking towards climbing shoes perhaps. There is some school of thought that a heavily stitched upper will be more prone to failure (at the seams), but I haven’t seen any evidence of this yet. The base-layer of the upper appears to be an all-over layer of cordura-like fabric; very tough indeed.
The front and rear ends of the boot feature a rubberised toe-box to protect against sharp stuff, and a reinforced heel cup to keep things sturdy.
The V3 copes very well with wet ground and sticky mud, as has been the norm for the last few weeks. The Tri-Aria waterproof membrane inside the boot has worked well and I’ve not experienced wet feet yet. The sole of the V3 is a Vibram unit which features widely spaced lugs that self-clean quite well, and areas at the front and rear to help grip on slopes.
The midsole of the V3 is where most of the surprise of the wolf’s clothing ends. Pick the V3 up and give it a bend and a twist and you can immediately tell that it’s a much softer boot than its looks would suggest. There’s a lot of flex in the forefoot, which makes for a comfortable walk on easy terrain, and a moderate degree of rigidity in the mid-foot to help with stability. It isn’t, however, anywhere near the same league as a mountaineering boot for stiffness, and you’d be hard-pressed to team the V3 up with a crampon (except for the flexible ice-spike type like Pogu sell).
So, back to my original comment that this is a Mountaineer’s boot for those of us without mountains. I’ve thrown the worst conditions available to me in the South of England at these boots and they’ve behaved brilliantly. Mud, wet, grass, slopes, chalk… not a problem. And for £110 they represent an absolute bargain. However, they are a little soft for the very gnarly stuff which their looks suggest that they may be able to cope with. They’re not really a scree or rock or ice capable boot so don’t make the mistake of thinking that they’re a cheap alternative to the likes of a crampon-compatible boot. They’re a different beast altogether; a sturdy trekking boot for mile-munching and sure-footedness all-day.
SUMMARY: A big, sturdy boot which is good for trails and trekking. Great contemporary styling and a huge amount of comfort in a high-ankled boot which is a crossover between a standard walking boot and a mountain boot. Perfect for my narrow-heel, wide forefoot with enough flex to not become tiring or stiff during the day. Coped brilliantly with everything the lowland could throw at them. For just £110, a waterproof boot which would suit all but the most demanding of mountain walkers.