As part of our comprehensive guide to walking, walking.org is going to take a look at the best walking boots brands, starting with Brasher. If you’re looking for a bargain pair of these popular boots on-line, Blacks are currently offering some great deals on Brasher footwear. Alternately you can also give Millets or Tiso a shot, they usually have some good promotions running this time of year.
Brasher have been making walking shoes and their best selling brown hiking boots since the late 1970s. Named after their founder Chris Brasher, a 1956 Olympic Gold Medallist of the 3000 metre steeple chase, it was only 20 years later while wrecking his feet in a pair of unforgiving outdoor shoes that he came up with the concept for Brasher boots.
After suffering from major blisters half way through a long trek, he threw away his painful boots and put on his New Balance trainers in order To complete the 180 mile journey. He arrived at his destination without a hitch.
Inspired by his experience of trekking in Wales, Chris asked why walking boots can’t be as comfortable as training shoes and was motivated to design the perfect walking boot. So he combined the looks of a traditional walking boot with a lightweight cushioned upper and last inspired by the most comfortable running shoes on the market.
As a result, Brasher boots were quickly recognised as the definitive boot for walking in the British Isles, particularly for their comfort, support and lightweight designs. Today Brasher is celebrated for the exact same reasons why retaining the traditional looks of rugged brown boots that outdoor enthusiasts have always loved.
Since this time, Brasher has had many successes, but none so successful as the launch of their now legendary Hillmaster GTX in 1993. The Hillmaster GTX defined a new generation of walking boots during an age when walkers wore heavy leather boots with steel or even wooden shanks. But the Brasher Hillmaster made a mockery of these traditional designs. The Hillmaster GTX is Britain’s best selling three season boot thanks to its breathable and waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, which was revolutionary at the time and still at the top of its class today. As a result, the Hillmaster has a dedicated following amongst the walking community and has won the Best Leather Boot from readers of Country Walking magazine for more than 6 years.
It’s no surprise then that Brasher have kept the Hillmaster in their classic walking boots range. In fact, this is one of the things that makes us appreciate Brasher as a brand, because they do not discontinue one of their best selling styles, then try to sell you something that you don’t really want. After all, why should you choose some new boots when the old ones worked perfectly well? Surely you would want more of the same.
In keeping with their ideals of traditional walking footwear, Brasher later produced the very popular Brasher Azuma walking boot which brought a modern twist to the typical brown boot that Brasher has become renowned for. Meanwhile for smart attire or more light and casual walking conditions, the Brasher Countrymaster was a classically styled walking shoe equally at home on the trail or worn about the office. If there’s one thing that can be said about Brasher, it is that they know who their customers are and what their customers want.
So in the year 2000 it was a surprise to see Brasher break from traditional and unleash a series of new designs based on their original concept of a walking boot made to resemble a running trainer. They kept all of their classic styles of course, god bless ‘em, but the new Supalite GTX was one of the lightest leather walking boots ever made. Featuring an ultra-light weight upper made from water resistant, high strength full grain leather, with a Gore-Tex membrane and trainer like design, its performance was and is still second to none. The Brasher Supalite weighed little more than 1136g per pair and won Best Footwear Product at the 2000 Outdoor Industries Association Awards as well as many other prizes.
2002 saw a rapid rise in the number of people jetting abroad for adventure holidays. So to match this sudden shift in tourism, Brasher quickly established a completely new category of lifestyle footwear for the adventure traveller. Designed with performance in mind, the Brasher AT:20 range was designed to be versatile and functional to be worn while travelling, walking round town and tough enough to be taken out on the trail. Brasher was at the forefront of the new adventure travel market with its Brasher Kamati shoes which combined the best aspects of walking boots, comfortable trainers and stylish contemporary shoes with a foot formed last as well as water resistant and highly breathable nubuck leather.
Brasher has always offered a wide range of suitable footwear for women walking enthusiasts, so then they styled their Brasher ntoba travel shoe, it was with the female market in mind who would want a shoe focussed on comfort whilst walking.
Since 2005, Brasher has continued to expand their range of mountain walking and adventure travel footwear while continuing to do what they do best; which is making excellent brown walking boots. The Brasher Colima was one such successful walking product styled for the modern market while meeting all the performance demands of the hardcore hikers.
More recently Brasher has embraced the growing sport of trail running with a range of mountain sports shoes which are designed to be lightweight and versatile while helping to improve speed and stamina along mountain paths and through forest trails. By taking their original concept even further towards a shock absorbing running trainer, they produced the Brasher Diablo which is suitable for light trails while holding a broad appeal to Brasher’s younger audience who are seeking versatile multi active shoe as well as an urban fashion shoe.
While Brasher has the British walking community wrapped round its little finger (and they always will so long as they keep making Hillmaster walking boots!), they are keen to capture the younger generation of outdoor enthusiasts. To do this they marketed the Brasher Hekla, a traditionally built Brasher hiking boot with all the styling of their running trainer inspired trail running shoes.
When it comes to walking boots, you won’t find better than Brasher. After all, Chris Brasher was the first man to take off his hiking shoes and wish that they were as comfortable as his New Balance trainers and ever since they have been ahead of the competition in terms of style, technology and new ideas.
However, it has to be said that Brasher’s sudden interest in trail running shoes is slightly unsettling. It’s understandable that they want to capture a bigger market which includes the next generation of their customers, but anything other than a brown Brasher shoes comes as a surprise. But, this hasn’t stopped Brasher from keeping their customers pleased with a plentiful supply of their best selling brown hiking boots. As a result Brasher is the definitive brown boot brand. So if you’re a traditionalist seeking classic looks a lightweight construction, exceptional comfort and outstanding performance, walking footwear doesn’t get much better than Brasher.