This is a guest review by Vanessa.
I can’t be the only woman who hyperventilates when she spots an amazing pair of heels in a shoe shop window, but then doesn’t get quite the same reaction when looking for a new pair of walking boots.
Let’s face it, shoes can be stylish and sexy and make you feel glamorous no matter what the bathroom scales tell you is going on above your ankles, but walking boots always come under that umbrella of “functional and necessary” footwear. With that in mind, when I was offered a new pair of boots designed for women which combine ruggedness with a hint of looks, I thought why not embrace the challenge!
The boots arrived and my initial reaction was that Brasher had attempted to make them look subtly feminine. Although made of grey suede with grey fabric panels, by incorporating pink and grey laces, a pink logo and a pink trim above the sole midsole, they’ve softened the design a little, but not condescendingly ‘girliefied’ them.
They are reasonably light (coming it at under a kilo for a pair of size 5’s – that’s pretty good) and the fit felt good. I especially liked the low achilles dip at the back with plenty of padding to protect the heel. These are a Walking Boot, designed for good quality paths and nothing too extreme, so they’re lower cut than a Hiking Boot, and have less deep tread on the soles.
The Kenai boots have a memory-foam collar around the ankle, which keeps them warm and snug, but comfortable all day. Memory foam can get a little sweaty on very hot days, but the GoreTex liner and fabric uppers seem to let out enough moisture to keep your feet comfortable.
I was a little concerned that the Brashers seemed on the small side for a 5 but decided to wear a thinner pair of walking socks than I normally do. My maiden walk in the boots was up on Cleeve Hill with beautiful views of the Cotswolds, not too far from home in the event that I ended up in agony.
I needn’t have worried. They were great. Comfortable, more than adequate ankle support, waterproof (puddles found to substantiate this) and they coped with the gravel pathways and grassed areas very well. No sore feet on the way home via a well-deserved glass of vino at the local hostelry. A painless and fun way to break in a new pair of boots.
The Kenai GTX boots are aimed at novice walkers, and those of us requiring a less technical boot for gentle hillwalking. They’re sort of half-a-degree above an entry-level boot, with higher spec support, construction and waterproofing. They come in at £95, which for a boot from a well-known brand like Brasher is OK. It’s a smidgen more expensive than an entry-level walking boot from Berghaus or Hi-Tec, but you’re getting a smidgen more boot.
Some people don’t like fabric lace loops, which the Kenai boots have. I’ve never found them a problem and don’t think that on a boot designed for gentle walking that any mud collecting around the loops would create much of a long-term hassle.
Summary: The Kenai GTX Walking Boots are comfortable, supportive and look pretty good. They won’t be suitable for scaling mountains or wading through very muddy terrain or snow, but that’s not what they’re designed for. If you, like me, enjoy leisurely country walks and tend to go around the sticky stuff then these boots would be a great choice. They’re fully waterproof, have a comfortable sole and toe-protectors. They’re not ‘cheap’, and have a few features to make them stand above entry-level boots, This could be enough reason to put some novice walkers off I suppose, but for the walker looking for just a little bit more, these would fit the bill.
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