As you may have already read, we did a lot of walking in Snowdonia. We summited about half the Welsh 3000 footers in just a couple of days and did loads of other trekking besides. Upon leaving, at the end of our four days in Snowdonia and after over 30 hours walking, my feet felt exactly the same as when we had arrived. This was all down to the golden combination of Alt-Berg boots and Smartwool socks. Not one blister, saw spot or achy foot and I hadn’t even warn them in as much as I would have liked too.
I had opted to wear the Altberg Mens Tethera Hill Walking Boot, these are incredible boots from a legendary company! Here’s a little history: the Alt-Berg legacy started almost one hundred years ago when a chap called Mr William Shepherd, a master boot and shoe maker learned his skills in Lancashire. There were good times and bad, factories were opened and closed but the traditions and knowledge lived on. The Shepherd family taught a man named Mike Sheehan everything they knew, and continuing their legacy he founded Alt-Berg. Years have passed and now Alt-Berg make some of the best boots in the world.
One of the major points that set Alt-Berg apart from other boot makers is their choice of sizes. For 20 years Altberg have been making their classic hiking footshape in 5 different volume and width fittings, xtra narrow, narrow, medium, wide and xtra wide – this makes these boots ideal for anyone who finds bog standard fitting boots uncomfortable. They also sell their boots in half sizes. There are 115 different variations of the Alt-Berg Tethera alone, so you know you will definitely find a boot to fit exactly your foot shape. I’d recommend going to one of Alt-Berg’s Premier Retailers who will be able to ensure you get the right match.
Soles are one of the key features of any boot and Alt-Berg don’t scrimp, using Vibram soles. Vibram was set up in 1937 by Vitale Bramani after the deaths of several of his mountaineer friends was caused by poor footwear. With support from Pirelli tyres, he created amazing soles made from rubber. When K2 was first ascended in 1954, it was done with Vibram soles. The abrasion resistant soles on the Tetheras have a shock absorbing mid, which definitely added to the comfort especially when walking on rocky ground.
Grip is essential in a pair of boots that you’re likely to be wearing in treacherous conditions such a steep rock, ice and snow. With deep, widely spaced lugs that prevent clogs, these grip very, very well on all surfaces. I wore these boots through all of these conditions (often all at once) and I didn’t even slip or slide at all. At first I was quite timid and over cautious around these area, but once I realised the performance of these boots I was more confident and really put them through their paces.
I love the large rubber rand that goes all the way round the boot. I found that this offered great protection on rocky ground and definitely will help the durability and life of these boots. After hours of scrambling and trekking up mountains, they still looked as good as new. With a really supportive upper, toe box and heel cup the boots are perfect for scrambling and use on dodgy terrain; my ankles felt really secure and safe whilst wearing them. Saying all this, the boots are still lovely and comfortable.
Although the Tetheras are 3 season hill walking boots, they don’t feel heavy (my size 9s were just over 700 grams) or hot to wear. On one day, I wore them for 11 hours and my feet felt great at the end. Not hot or sweaty or anything like you might imagine. They have a Sympatex membrane lining which is not only waterproof but also breathable – this is one of the great features which keep you feet feeling fresh. We trekked through miles of wet and boggy ground which originated from the melting ice and not at one point did even one tiny droplet of water enter my boot – Perfect!
I’ve saved the most important and one of the best and highest quality parts of the Tetheras till last – the boot’s leather itself! Alt-Berg work mainly with one Italian tannery, who make a unique leather called Anfibio which is full grain, water repellent and what Alt-Berg use. This breathable, organic and natural material is renowned around the world and is only used in the very best quality hiking boots. They’ve utilised this leather intelligently and created the upper from one lovely big piece of leather. This creates a lack of stitching which further improves the long life of the boot.
The quality of these boots is incredible which is amazing as I know that they will last me for years and years and lots of adventures to come!
UPDATE – How to Care for your Alt-Berg Boots
I’m really happy that this review has become a little hub of conversation and chat about the awesome Alt-Berg boots. Lots of people are clearly interested in how to properly maintain their lovely boots and I regularly get emails and comments about these issues.
In the comments I’ve now added some advice direct from Alt-Berg on how to keep your boots at their best. I’ve also added a PDF copy of the Alt-Berg User Guide below. This will give you all the information you should need on how to care for and look after your superb Alt-Berg hiking boots.
Please keep commenting and letting us know where your Alt-Bergs have taken you. Thanks for reading and I hope this document and the comments below help.