Swiss brand Mammut have created a fine four-season boot in the Appalachian. It has a winter-friendly flex, both laterally and in the forefoot, so it felt solid kicking into snow and in strap-on crampons. The 3/5 forefoot flex rating feels like a 4/5 in my small size, and they walk with a pronounced rocker. However, since the fabric ankle inset allows the boot to move with the leg and foot, the end result is positive, especially on mixed terrain. Lace adjustment is smooth and with a deep-set heel anchor and two hooks at the ankle. An extra hook on the tongue centre stops the laces popping off the top of the tongue. The tongue itself is well devised, mixing fabric and leather to reduce bulk while resisting lace pressure. The rand is excellent; a good height around the boot, and the sole and midsole units provided cushioning, support and grip. Fit is moderate; wider feet may feel compressed (mine did at the sides). I’ve used this boot in a wide range of winter conditions and really like its intuitive feel and support. A top pair of hiking boots for autumn, winter and spring walking, and more than a match for tough terrain.

First published: April 2013