These are the lightest hiking boots tested and also the most unusual. At a glance it looks as though there’s something missing. There is: The thick tapered cushioning wedge found in other boots. Instead there is a thin flat sole with no rise at the heel. This does feel unusual at first but I soon became used to it though whether it had any effect on how I walk I can’t tell. What I did notice was that on frozen ground and snow the cold strikes up through the sole. These are not boots for winter. On stony ground you also feel every pebble. The sole is also very flexible in every direction so your feet can move naturally, which is the whole idea. The grip is fine. The uppers have a wide toebox “to maximise foot spread” and they fit me very well.

The heel is reasonably stiff but the toe is soft – these are not boots for kicking rocks. Once used to the feel I enjoyed walking in these boots, even on a pebble beach. Those who hike in sandals and light running shoes might well find the Synth Hikers a good choice. Those who prefer heavy boots will probably regard them with horror.