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FOOTWEAR FOCUS ROAD TEST


Joan Colett puts the boot into Meindl


I’ll take the high road and you take the High Street and I’ll be in Scotland a’ fore ye I


’ve never been one for fashionable high heeled shoes, so when a girlfriend suggested we go away on a “girls activity weekend” in Scotland, I thought it a great opportunity to test a new pair of boots. The home base for the weekend was a rambling country house in the


West of Scotland. We arrived on a cloudless evening in September and before we could unpack our hosts said they had organised a hike to the top of the forest to see the full moon. I had come well prepared; I had been given a pair of Meindl Kansas Ladies GTX boots to road test for Footwear Today. By the time we set off it was dark, as the moon had not yet risen although being so far north the day had not left us entirely. The warmth of the summer lingered in the pinewood. I always think it unfortunate that makers of lavatory cleaner insist on giving it an ersatz pine smell that smells nothing like, indeed is an insult to the fragrant, head- clearing scent of real pine in real pine forest. We ambled up among the trees for an hour or more


At the river we donned lifejackets and helmets and climbed into kayaks.


After we had paddled downstream for a short distance the river suddenly accelerated from an amber meander to a bursting burn. We were swept through the white water of the gorge, how we avoided the rocks, I don’t know! We had travelled the rapids and the river was now opening into a loch. We paddled the loch for a couple of hours until it opened to the sea. We paddled along the coast and surfed into a beach.


sticking to the needle carpeted path. Then we rose above the tree line and the pines gave way to open rocky, heath land. By day, we would have been able to see the bonny heather, but we were too busy following the leader and not tripping to even be aware of the vegetation. As we reached the peak, the sky to the east was lightening, not a white moonlight, but a golden plasma that caught the ghostly trails of mist. We sat down on the rocks and, as if by magic, a bottle of whiskey (Scotch mist!) appeared and was passed around. I think the full moon at that time of year is what is called a “hunter’s moon” or “blood moon”. The hunter’s moon is the first full moon after a “harvest moon”. Its rich warm light, supplemented by the whiskey that was now glowing in our stomachs as it lit the acres of woodland at our feet was magical. When we got back to the house I had to remind myself that I was wearing


new boots, so comfortable were they that I had quite forgotten I was breaking in new footwear! And, considering the different terrains we had traversed in the evening – the pine path and the rugged heath - I had come off very well indeed. If this was the start of an activity weekend it had started brilliantly. The following day the action started in earnest. A gigantic breakfast was


followed by writhing, squirming, wriggling and bouncing – not to get the porridge to settle but to squeeze into wet suits – fortunately they were dry – it is yuk getting into a cold wet wetsuit.


When we got back to the house I had to remind myself that I was wearing new boots, so comfortable were they that I had quite forgotten I was breaking in new footwear! And, considering the different terrains we had traversed in the evening – the pine path and the rugged heath - I had come off very well indeed.


The afternoon was a new trial, a new challenge. Exhausted from the morning’s paddling, we set off to hike back to the hotel. The trek took us from the sandy beach, along the loch’s edge – some of which comprised sharp rocky outcrops. The solid soles of the Kansas GTX boots protected from any of the rugged surfaces on which we hiked while the soft as glove, nubuck uppers were not only comfortable but kept out most of the water as we crossed burns and brooks and traversed sheep filled meadows. I have a confession to make. I did not understand what toe randing is. And this boot offered, “toe randing protection.” When I looked up the word in the dictionary I was told it randing was the application of rands – I was none the wiser. I then discovered a definition of a rand as, “A strip of cloth or leather used to support the shoe at the heel.” Ahh! These boots have a rubber fender on the toes that protect the front of the boot and your toes, I think this is what is meant by toe randing protection – and it’s a good idea because it saves the boots from the scuffing and wear that the sort of yomping to which I subjected them to.


Details: Meindl Kansas Lady GTX – R.R.P. £139.99 www.meindl.com


16 • FOOTWEAR TODAY


• JANUARY 2011


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