The Ridge Low GTX in ‘graphite-vibrant’ is a smart hiking shoe grey and black with flashes of yellow in the laces and along the sole but it is not too vibrant to attract undue comment. The style I tried was the Low version that was a shoe (the High version is more boot-like with greater ankle support).
We got them in on test because they are available in a UK 13 which, if you’re of the generously proportioned foot persuasion, is a thing of wonder. Unfortunately, the fit was a little slim for me, even in a 13, but I’m told that Mammut can come up on the slimmer side of things.
It has a snug feel thanks to the ‘memo form’ rim and moulded innersole and the integral heel support (handily labelled in yellow in case you missed it). The upper covering is a mixture of velour and artificial leather and breathable GORE-TEX material with some yellow stitching that appears to be more for looks, serving no discernible function. In fact, it’s Gore-Tex Performance Comfort membrane, which they say has been engineered for a nice balance of all-day waterproofing versus not getting too hot and sweaty.
What struck me the most when I put the shoe on was the stiffness of the sole as I am used to a more flexible walking shoe. The ‘Gripex Iron Grip’ concept is designed for the via ferrata (iron road in Italian) style of hiking that involves trails that have steel cables and iron stemples (rungs) fitted. A hard and firm sole is an advantage as it provides support and protects the foot from sharp rocks with its ‘stone shield’ whilst having a good adhesion to prevent you slipping off those metal rungs. Flexibility is limited but the bottom of the shoe is contoured so that you can rock and pivot on the ball of your foot and use the (again helpfully labelled) climbing zone at the toe if the going gets steep.
I must admit I did not test this shoe in the intended environment as my style of walking often involves gentle rambles between public houses across well trodden paths, however I did take them with me on a recent trip to New Zealand where I used them along the long sandy beaches and on some of the coastal paths and they proved to be up to the task. The stiffness is soon forgotten.
One of the phrases in the company’s occasionally baffling jargon peppered literature of the shoe is that it is ‘close to the ground’ this might be trying to say that the sole is thin because I was slightly disappointed that it did not have levitation properties. In real terms it means that there’s little chance of you rolling off the side of the shoe and getting a hurty ankle.
Other than that this is a well made and attractive shoe though I would suggest you explore some of their other shoes before you choose depending on what outdoor activity you enjoy.
Their ‘sole technologies’ include Meteorite Rubber for winter walking, Sonar and Runner for trail running, Capricorn for climbing, Scale and Cougapproach with high grip soles, Frog for extra grip for caving, the lighter Iguana technology for speed, and Reptilia for mountain sport. Somewhere in the Mammut range you will probably find a shoe/boot to suit you. If you don’t, then at least you’ll have spent an enjoyable hour trying to determine the difference on their website.