Finding the right boot. Oh the ultimate and sometimes never ending quest to get that perfect cushiony heavenly feeling for your feet for those long days outside. Some people (pff who are these chumps) get lucky with their very first pair, and then lecture us smugly about “oohhh my feet are just sooo comfy, did I mention I got new boots?”. Whilst the rest of us wince and hobble our way up and over the hills.
Firstly, why boots? I have some fantastic pairs of approach shoes that hold their own, but the protection boots offer around the ankle and with stiffer soles is very tempting (and useful) come Autumn time when you never quite know what you’re going to find up above the cloud line.
The Merrell Crestbound boots have been my secret lust-item for almost 2 years now, and I finally took the plunge this summer and bought a pair. Check out my thoughts below.
Merrell Ladies Crestbound Boots
Price: £132 on the Merrell website
With a full grain leather upper and a GORE TEX membrane, these will keep your feet dry for DAYS. The tech wrapped up in these boots is all really high quality with a vibram outsole, M-Select fresh, Grade 5 Women’s specific nylon insole for backpacking with a medium pack, 5mm lug depth and a Unifly Mid-sole combined with all the usual Merrell bits like air cushion heel support and a moulded nylon arch shank to keep your feet stable, supported and comfy.
The boot itself looks a little different from a lot of its competitors on the market, with a lighter colour leather and additional heel counter support meaning some people haven’t been entirely sold on them. BUT, personally I love this – it’s different, good looking and the small splash of purple from the midsole and the laces means I’m not walking round in some god awful girly boots that look like I just walked through a pink paint factory.
Having lived in my trail shoes for the last few years, putting these on at first was a little strange. They felt big and a bit clumpy, and I am still getting used to trusting the rubber when doing more agile (and risky) moves in the mountains. However, I have to say after having used them on a variety of terrain over the last 6 months they no longer feel like clown shoes. My ankles (which when I get tired are prone to rolling) feel incredibly stable and despite having terrible knees (now I sound like a real grandma) not once did my knees ‘go’ at any point when I was wearing these, which is a miracle in itself to be honest! My feet felt protected yet still in tune with what I was walking over, which for me is a really important point.
The rubber and design of the outsole have combined to make an awesome base for these boots. The grip is incredible, and it even fared well over the smooth slick rocks of Glyder Fach. But where this boot really comes into it’s element is over the mixed terrain; tramping up grassy knolls, traversing scree slopes, scrambling up rock formations and descending steep mountains – on the long days of everything the mountains can throw at you I could not fault them.
Something I really want to mention is the articulated tongue. Yes you heard me, that’s a thing now and everyone should put this on their boots in my opinion. I hate tying my boots laces, I’m just going to put it out there – you think you’ve got them all nice and tight, then BAM suddenly you’ve let go of one and ping ping ping ping, all your hard work pulling and puffing whilst wrapped up in numerous layers has been undone. Now, I won’t say that these boots miraculously stop all of this, but the articulated tongue really helps! Instead of flapping about and being big and bulky and obstructing life, it curves nicely around your ankle and slots under either side of the boot. Not only does this create a great seal to keep out the crud and dirt, but it makes it easier to walk AND (this might just be me) to do up my laces.
As you can probably tell, I love these boots, and will be putting them to good use through the winter too possibly with a pair of gaiters if things get really hairy. My only negative point is one that kind of clashes with my first positive point – the leather upper looks great, but having used them on a few scrambly/rocky days in North Wales, they are pretty damn scratched. This doesn’t really bother me too much as it doesn’t affect the performance of the boots, but it was something that I did make me frown a little when I had a look at them one Sunday night.
On the whole? An awesome boot that performs really well on long days of lots of mixed terrain. If you want something that looks a bit different but aren’t precious about keeping them pristine, and like little features that make life easier then these are the boots for you.