You probably haven’t heard of Lomer, but don’t let that put you off. It’s very hard to launch a new brand in the UK in a market that’s as cut-throat as the Walking Boot sector, but Lomer have just landed their first big customer in the shape of Blacks, so the successful Italian shoemaker asked us to try out a pair and introduce them to the UK.
Slightly confusingly branded as Nordic Walking boots on Lomer’s own website, the Gottardo is designed with the UK hillwalker in mind and straight away it’s easy to see and feel why this is such a nice addition to Blacks’ range.
The Gottardo is styled in a fairly classic and understated fashion in brown Nubuck with a large rubberised toe bumper. It has been teamed with one of Vibram’s less gnarly, but still very capable soles (the Vibram Mars) which has proven to be accomplished at dealing with British wet grass, mud and slippery rubble paths.
The Gottardo has a fairly soft midsole with minimal structure, which whilst it will support your foot on loose and rocky ground, isn’t going to be suitable to anything too extreme, and certainly isn’t crampon compatible. This is a boot which is designed to slip on and be all-day comfortable for walking on paths and gentle off-road tracks, and it does that very well.
A note on the comfort, the Gottardo is a slipper-like experience. It doesn’t have the widest of fits (wider at the front than a Brasher, but less wide than a Hi-Tec, but I found that with my wide forefoot and narrow heel my foot was nestled comfortably and snug. It’s a confidence inspiring boot, and plenty of padding around the ankle and tongue enhance that feeling.
Lomer have made the Gottardo very light indeed. It is a published weight of 470g, but feels distinctly lighter than that would suggest. It’s almost akin to a heavier walking shoe than a boot and won’t weigh your feet down on long walks.
The lacing system is fairly traditional with metal eyelets and round laces. I generally despise round laces, but for the market which the Lomer Gottardo is aimed at, this system works very well, and it’s quite easy to bespoke fit the boot using the laces. The ‘locking’ lace hook (three from the top) works very well to hold your foot in.
Lomer have fitted the Gottardo with a waterproof membrane called Mer-Tex. It’s worked very well at keeping puddles and streams out of the boot, but it hasn’t really been warm enough whilst these have been on test to judge how sweaty the boot will get in Summer. I suspect that, as with any membraned boot, they will get quite moist in warm weather.
Price wise, the Gottardo has been positioned at £120 in Blacks. This puts it amongst the likes of walking boots from all the big names. I’ve just had a look at the Blacks’ selection at this price range (link here) and what strikes me about the Gottardo is how subtle and traditional it looks. It’s definitely a boot which would fit well in any circumstance, be it a bird-watching trip or a wander to the local pub with the in-laws. It neither loud nor boring, which is a nice place for it to be.
Whether it appeals to you will be the reason that people buy the Gottardo. It has stiff competition, but a slight edge on weight over most of them, and an appeal to those of us who don’t need bells and whistles. It’s a comfy boot which works well, but as always – try for fit before you buy.
SUMMARY: Lomer’s entry into the UK’s biggest outdoor retailer is heralded by this very lightweight nubuck waterproof boot. It’s a subtle style, with solid craftsmanship behind it that will appeal to those of us who like simple, working gear. A decent membrane and lots of padding make for an all-day comfortable boot that is grippy on trails and decent in the wet. A solid purchase from the Italian brand that it’s very hard to find fault with.