Old Boot, New Boot

Published 5 May 2024

Two Meindl Bhutan boots - one old (on the right), one new (on the left)
New and old bootwise.

In 2016 I bought a pair of boots. My old pair – some Berghaus ones I’d tramped around the UK in – were giving up after barely 500 miles. So I went into the Covent Garden branch of Cotswold Outdoor and asked them what they’d recommend for a pair of hard working, long lasting walking boots. The answer was either a pair of Meindls or a pair of Scarpas.

I went with the Meindls. Specifically Meindl Bhutans.

The first big trek they did was four days on the Thames Path, not long before I moved out of London and back to Greater Manchester. They were so pristine at the start of the walk. And so muddy at the end.

They lasted well. Comfortable and incredibly resistant to water. The only time my feet ever seemed to get wet was if I managed to put my foot in a deep bog or something. Water never got in any other way. They went with me up numerous Wainwrights, along the Yorkshire Wolds Way, the Northumberland Coast Path, and a lot more. I couldn’t actually tell you how many miles they did.

But in 2023 they were beginning to look a little sad. The leather was beginning to crack and whilst water was getting in and my feet were still dry – even when subjected to pretty terrible conditions on the Offa’s Dyke Path – I knew it was getting to the time to replace them.

There was no debate what to replace them with. If something works and I can replace old for new identically, I will. Another new pair of Bhutans it was. They had their first big outing on the Cleveland Way in February, subjected to snow, rain, and more.

But before they went out, I took a quick photo comparing old to new. One with many miles under the belt, now destined for retirement. The other with all its adventures awaiting it. Because why wouldn’t you?


Vic Flange

5 May 2024 at 10:44 am

Wow, £280 on Cotswold Outdoor website. But, yes, nice boots and if they keep the water out – a rarity in my experience of hiking footwear – then well worth it. I have a pair of Scarpa boots which I used on Pennine Way and Coast-to-Coast but not used them in recent years, favouring fabric shoes. Might resurrect them – they became minorly leaky as I recall. Thanks for the reminder.

Cleveland Way. You don’t half like your winter walking: I guess, as a family man that you don’t get the time in spring/summer. Bet you weren’t camping then. I did that trail last September (as a follow-on to the YWW) and camped except the first night (Helmsley YHA – sadly, up for sale), Scarborough (cheap hotel, leaking roof, thankfully just missing the bed) and Filey (lovely room above a pub). Nice enough trail but it’s not on my list for a repeat.

Right, off to Flickr to see if you’ve posted any Cleveland Way pictures…

Andrew Bowden (Rambling Man editor)

6 May 2024 at 3:52 pm

I got the boots in Blacks where they’re currently £275. So big savings if you shop around! However YHA members (which I am) get 15% off at Blacks and Cotswold so that knocked a good chunk off. But they lasted well. Have had cheaper boots before that fell apart a lot sooner.

And yeah, doing the Cleveland Way in February really wasn’t the best time, although the moorland section is pretty good for winter walking. However the timing was linked to a job change and me wanting to have a break and do something between the end of the old job and the start of the new. Family commitments definitely make getting away in May and June a lot harder. Lots of family birthdays and children’s activities to deal with! It’s rather annoying that February and March are the easier times to get away!

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