These Comfort High boots from Mammut have, as I’ve somewhat come to expect from new boots these days, been super-duper comfy straight out of the box and have thus lived up to their name. Long-gone are the days of having to endure blisters and sore bits as you use your feet to break a new pair of boots in, and the world of outdoors is a happier place for it.
They are also super supportive as a tumble down some shale proved. Only my pride was a little dented; my ankles were absolutely fine and with my level of clumsiness I’m not sure they would have been in a shoe.
In a bit of reverse psychology I did try to pass off the grippiness of the sole as the cause of that little spill. You see they had been doing a remarkable job on all sorts of terrain in the hour or so previous to my spill so I’d got a bit cocky and strode nonchalantly on to the loose shale without proper assessment. This reasoning didn’t pass muster with my walking buddy -even the dog snorted with derision.
However, I digress as despite these lovely boots having been delivered to GWA HQ from the good folk at Mammut, it isn’t so much the boots themselves to which I want to direct your attention. The GTX in the name indicates some new tech from the masters of all that is waterproof-breathableness, called Gore-Tex Surround.
Gore-Tex Surround is, according to the PR blurb, ‘making sweaty feet a thing of the past!’ so that gives you an idea of what this new swanky tech is all about, but here is GWA’s Editor to fully explain it…
Shoes comprise two main parts – the Sole, which supports your weight, and the Upper, which protects your foot and holds the sole on nice and snugly. Until now, waterproof-breathable membranes like Gore-Tex, eVent, Dri-Tec, KeenDry etc. have been a part of the Upper, and your sweat has forced its way out through leather, nylon, mesh… whatever the Upper is made from. Gore Surround places a layer of spacer-mesh UNDER your foot as part of the sole, which creates a space for the sweat that comes from the bottom of your foot to escape to and then evaporate out of the shoe. The theory is that this allows 30% more area for sweat to evaporate from, and thus better breathability. All Gore Surround shoes (it’s used by a bunch of brands now) will feature the tell-tale vents on the side of their Sole.
Now that all sounds suitably impressive and I really, really wanted to have my mind blown by the fact that my feet could be waterproof and cool… even in summer. Alas it didn’t happen as this rather uninspiring picture shows…yup that below is a very dull picture of my sweaty hoof print after I’d taken the boots off and stood on a tile. I couldn’t tell any difference from a normal boot – I have to be honest.
In the interests of science and fair testing I did the same walk an hour or so later in a different pair of non-cool claiming boots and ended up with a similar sweaty paw print – I won’t bore you with a second almost identical picture. GWA’s Ed did suggest wearing one of each boot for proper fair testing!
It comes down to this simple fact: Gore may well have increased the breathability of boots by making a much larger surface for sweat to evaporate from, but ANY boot with a waterproof membrane is still basically a plastic bag inside a shoe, and will always be sweatier than a non-membraned shoe. If you want an unsweaty boot, look for one without a membrane. If you really want a hot-weather waterproof boot, look for one with a membrane and thin Upper materials (or consider Surround if your budget allows).
However, membrane aside, if you are looking for a pair of impressively comfortable, supportive boots then do take a gander as the name Comfort-High is rightly deserved. That new Surround tech does make them expensive though.