I’ve had Nancy Sinatra’s catchy ditty running through my head now all day and whilst it’s a perfect description of what Brasher’s Kiso GTX boots represent, you don’t half look like a plum when you sing out loud “and I’m gonna walk all over you!” at a muddy forest track only to realise there’s someone behind you.
Covering my embarrassment by sploshing into a 3-inch deep puddle and proclaiming with a smile “Brilliant waterproof boots these!”, the hapless hiker who was by now convinced that I was on day-release chose to smile in return and take a sharp left off-path route through some woodland. He’s probably still hacking his way through thickets of dead brambles, poor sod.
So, let me explain why Nancy seemed so fitting to my morning stroll. You see, there are walking boots, hiking boots and mountaineering boots, and they’re all slightly different despite the fact that most casual observers couldn’t tell the difference when they’re on your feet.
The Kiso GTX boots are definitely “Walking” boots, unlike their big brothers the Lithium (A Hiking boot, reviewed here) and the Kanaga (A Mountain boot, reviewed here) and are suited to walks through fields, on well made tracks and through a little bit of mud, wet and ick.
The photo here shows a direct comparison between the Kiso (blue) and the Kanaga (brown). You can immediately see that the Kiso is shorter, with less ankle support than a mountain boot, a slightly less deep sole and slightly less gnarly tread depth and pattern.
What the Kiso is designed for, and does exceptionally well, is cope with wet grass, sticky mud, shallow streams and a day’s walking on gravelly paths.
I’ve come to expect Brasher boots to fit me well straight out of the box, and the Kisos didn’t disappoint. They have a cosy, soft yet supportive footbed and plenty of padding up and around the tongue and ankle. The lacing system works well which I tested by loosening the lower laces to ease pressure on a hot spot (caused by different boots). No problems there.
The Kiso boots use a Gore-Tex membrane which works perfectly. They’ve taken me down a shallow stream and through numerous puddles without a leak. Bear in mind though that the slightly lower cut of these boots than a “hiking” boot means they won’t go quite as deep in water.
The soles are Brasher’s own (The Kanagas use Vibram soles) and they work very well on wet grass and mud. They cleared of mud quite quickly during walking, but aren’t quite as deeply cut as the Vibram soles, especially in the mid-step (dip between heel and forefoot), so there’s slightly less sole to dig in on steep descents.
The Kiso boots have a nice big runner toe-bumper to protect the boot from sharp stuff, and the same on the heel. And the materials used (Nubuck and synthetic textiles) feel hard-wearing and well assembled. They aren’t as easy to clean as leather boots, but then no textile boots are!
They weigh 1.16Kg per pair, which is pretty competitive for the type of boot.
Priced at £100 (although I’m seeing them for £85 on Google Shopping) they’re slightly more of an investment than something like your bog-standard Karrimor or Own-brand boot, but you appear to get a bit more boot for your loot. They would be an excellent introduction boot or second-boot for those of you with more extreme footwear already.
SUMMARY: The Kiso represents another niche well-covered by Brasher – they seem ideal as a low-impact walking boot, but possibly better made and specced than an entry-level boot. Something you’d trade up into, or have as a second pair of boots alongside your more rugged mountaineering or hiking boots. They’re very comfortable, waterproof and priced just about right. They’re not for serious hiking, mountain trekking or crampons but would do your feet a treat for on-path walking, crossing fields and spending whole days in.
Price: £100 rrp (£85 online)
From: Google Shopping
Note on scoring: It occurs to me that we’ve rated each Brasher boot at 5-hammers, so I wanted to emphasise that we don’t compare two boots which are made for different purposes against each other when scoring. We rate on the suitability of each product to its intended use. In this case, walking.
Tags and search info for this review: This is a Walking Boot review. GearWeAre.com tests and reviews hiking boots, walking boots, shoes, outdoor gear and camping equipment.