A burly tramping boot that still checks in at a respectable weight (1730g), the Wilderness is well built and comfortable for average width feet. The Sympatex (waterproof and breathable) lined upper is a heavy leather that will take some breaking in for maximum comfort. It is stiff across the top of the foot, but a low-friction lacing system allows adjustment and fine tuning for pressure. A full rubber rand protects the upper from abrasion and enhances grip when scrambling or traversing rocky terrain.
For a stiff sole and upper, the boot is fairly comfortable out of the box thanks to quite a pronounced rocker (curve) in the sole, allowing for natural walking. The sole itself has deep lugs and a heel that gives very good traction on steep slippery ground. Gently angled lugs, rather than right angled, promote self-cleaning. This worked well in muddy terrain providing good grip, with the sole also clearing itself except in the stickiest mud. The sole is slightly concave across its width, which decreased overall traction but increased edging grip. This will likely lead to faster wear of the tread at the edges.
A midsole of softer-density foam gives great shock absorption. While the tongue is super comfortable, I would prefer to see a bit more forward-hinge at the ankle to free the ankle for steeper climbs.
These boots come with a ‘bonus pack’ pair of camouflage, low noise, knee gaiters; spare laces and a small tin of leather conditioner. A nice touch that adds value, except that being cotton-lined the gaiter is not ideal for wet New Zealand conditions. They would be very functional where it’s cold and dry, though.
The Wilderness suits a wide range of tramping conditions – from crampon use in winter, to summer transalpine trips through the roughest country.