If you've read the blog before you'll know how much I loved my old boots and I thought they were doing fine - it wasn't until Steve got some new boots (having killed his old ones walking 214 Wainwrights in 214 days) that I looked more closely at mine and realised that though the tops were fine, the soles were damned near smooth and as the Lake District really is "No Country for Old Boots" (you see what I did there?) I figured it was time to nab me a new pair too.
Enter GriSport - tucked away near the Dolomites in Italy and manufacturing boots in a factory where 70% of the power comes from solar energy. (Not so easy to do in Cumbria for some reason...) They sent me a lovely pair of their Everest boots to play with and see what I thought.
Anyway, I figured that as I've been learning Italian for a few years now I'd make the review useful by translating some common English/ Northern phrases into Italian for you as I go - you know, in case you ever decide to visit the factory or anything...
1. I say, I'm absolutely parched, do you know of somewhere I can wet my whistle? "Dico, ho grande sete, sai da qualche parte dove posso bagnare il mio fischietto?
Never mind the hiking part, let's tackle the important stuff - do the boots look cool enough to be seen in the pub with. Yes they do - if there's one thing you can trust the Italians to do it's design something that looks good. Mind you, that beer looks good too and that was made in Ulverston...
2. I'm so hungry I could eat a scabby horse. "Ho fame cosi grande che mangerei un cavallo crostoso."
Not only are the boots good enough to be seen in the pub with, they'd also pass muster in most pub restaurants - so long as they weren't too muddy obviously. Not found a pub serving scabby horses yet - will look for it on next year's Master Chef.
3. Do you sell Compeed? I've got blisters the size of conkers. "Avete Compeed? Ho i vesciche come i ipposcastani"
I've given these boots a good workout. I've done 8 miles up and around Whitbarrow Scar, 5 miles around Hampsfell and another 9 up and over Black Combe and I can honestly promise you that you won't be needing that phrase. They were proper comfy from the off and my feet were almost as fresh when I took the boots off as they were when I put them on. The smell wasn't as fresh mind...
4. In these shoes? I don't think so! "Nel queste scarpe? Non penso cosi!"
OK, not so much a phrase as a fabulous Kirsty MacColl song - but a perfect way to point out that the boots come with easy to follow care instructions. They didn't specifically say no paddling in them, but I'm guessing the salt water wouldn't do them much good.
I'm pleased to report that although these are high boots (well up over the ankle) they are light (1205g) so if you need to put your feet up to enjoy a well earned rest they won't be too heavy
6. That'll put a spring in your step. "Quello metterà una balzo in il tuo passo"
Again, light, flexible and bouncable. Plenty of spring for jumping on and off rocks repetitively so the shot you had planned can be caught on a camera phone.
7. She took off up Whitbarrow Scar like a rat up a drainpipe. "Ha decollato su Whitbarrow Scar come un ratto su un tubo di drenaggio." (And if you're thinking the Italians are using the same words as us for things like rat, it's probably the other way around. Blame the Romans.)
The day I got them I strapped them onto my feet and took off - no breaking in, no gentle walks to the shops, no nothing - straight on and straight up. No problems at all. At least not for me. Steve was cursing a bit 'cos he didn't have nice new shiny boots to play with.
8. He was in such a hurry that he met himself coming back. "Era in tanta fretta che ha incontrato lui stesso tornare indietro" (This was *really* horrible to try and translate!)
Because they are light and comfy you can whiz around all over the place and have a lot of fun taking silly photos.
9. Striding Edge? It was a walk in the park! "Striding Edge? É stato una camminare nel parco."
Though I've not taken these boots up striding edge yet, I can confirm that they are proper hiking boots for proper hikes on proper big mountains. The high sides keep my ankles cosy and firm and the fabulous grippy soles stop me slipping over quite as much as I used to. And there was me thinking it was the gin when I could have blamed my old boots all along.
10. Well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs! "Allora, andró alla piede del nostri scalini!"
Stairs, hillsides, stiles, whatever - the boots bounded through it all. I'm trying to think of a downside to tell you about to keep the review balanced and the only 2 things I can come up with are that a half size might be nice as I could feel my toes catching the ends on the descent from Black Combe - though not badly so - and the fold in the leather catches the little toe on my left foot a bit, but that's only because I dislocated it last year and its still a bit grumpy.
I plan to wear the boots throughout the winter and post an update in around 6 months to let you know how they are once they've worn in a bit. Best get my Italian phrasebook out and start brushing up on my grammar ready.