This light hiking boot has previously appeared in our guide to the best hiking boots. Respond has joined the extensive Meindl line-up two years ago. Cuff profile is classic ‘mid’, on my ankle bone, with a moderate heel dip. Featherweight in action, they have a very soft forefoot flex, almost like a trainer. Weight and suppleness are due to the mesh upper, reinforced with ribs plus a rubberised strut through the heel box.
The base of the ribs protects the mesh as it joins the sole unit, as well as forming a toe bumper. Lacing starts on the rounded flex point, with a relatively short run through fabric loops to a heel hook, through another loop mid-tongue, and up to two ankle hooks. The laces can’t pull smoothly in one shot, so for me it’s a three-part adjustment process.
Volume is moderate; I find most Meindl boots slightly narrow in the forefoot but in these I have toe wriggle-room. Underfoot, cushioning is minimal so the ground feels close, flex is very soft laterally as well as forward, and instep support is entirely absent. As with most boots, the footbed should be replaced with an orthotic. Meindl’s Contragrip sole unit has low lugs and a minimal heel ledge; it works well on dry terrain but was less effective on mud, especially descents. This isn’t a boot I’d use in difficult conditions, despite the Gore-Tex lining, so the sole unit is fine for its likely destinations. It’s a good fair-weather, dry to moderate condition boot with a soft flex for low-level walking.
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Judy Armstrong reviews the Meindl Respond Lady Mid GTX – the lightest boot in her review of three season boots for Spring 2021’s issue of The Great Outdoors.