The Brasher Hillmaster has been one of my favourites since it was launched 20 years ago. There have been changes over the years though and the weight has slowly crept up so it’s no longer a lightweight boot. However for cold weather use, especially in snow, it’s still a good choice. The rocker sole, wide fit and good cushioning make it very comfortable. It’s quite flexible but not so soft that kicking steps in snow is very difficult. I’ve worn walking crampons all day with the Hillmasters. You can’t front-point up really steep slopes of course but for most hillwalking the Hillmasters are fine with crampons.
The one-piece leather outer and Gore-Tex inner make the boots waterproof. They’re warm too, with foam padding in the uppers. Various changes in this version such as a revised collar and tongue pattern are said to enhance comfort. I found the last version perfectly comfortable but the changes don’t decrease comfort. The lacing hooks are slightly different too ‘for extra heel hold’.
Another change is to the outer sole, which has a different pattern. Again this makes no noticeable difference. The tread grips well on all terrain and there’s a rubber rand running right round the sole plus hardened heel and toe bumpers.
First published: Sept 2014