Alt-Berg Tethera Mens Hiking Boot Review

 
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.

Altberg Boots Smartwool Sock
 
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.

Altberg Boots Rohan Guardian Elite
 
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.

Altberg Boots Helly Hansen Mid Layer

I love the active fit on the Rohan Guardian Jacket.

 
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.

Altberg Boots
 
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.

Altberg Boots Rohan Coat
 
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.

Altberg Boots Water
 
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!

Altberg Boots Forest
 
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.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the Alt-Berg Boots User Guide

Altberg Boots Mountain Summit

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17 Comments

  1. Andy
    May 4, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    Thanks for the review and helpful detail. I’m considering buying a pair after wearing out my old Scarpas and it’s good to read of your experience with them.

    • May 4, 2016 / 1:22 pm

      Thanks Andy. I love it when people find my articles useful. They are a really stunning pair of boots, I’ve never spent that much on a pair of hiking boots before and was hesitant at first but you definitely get what you pay for and they are well worth it. Especially with the massive selection of sizes.

  2. July 26, 2016 / 2:16 pm

    Thanks for the review; it certainly seems like Altberg are ticking a lot of boxes in their walking boots category. I’ve used Altberg Defender boots for a while now, and they’ve been incredibly good but not what I’m after for hiking and trecking. The leather Altberg use is second to none and the Defenders have stayed comfy and waterproof despite regular soakings and rough treatment.

    I’ve struggled to find walking boots that are comfortable and durable in a wide toe box fitting (size 9 and 27cm circumference around the wide part of the foot). The Meindl vakuums came close but were still a little too snug and with so many reported issues with Meindl quality and durability of late, I’ve decided to order and try the Tetheras in an extra wide and the Nordkapps with their new A-Forme last and keep the best fitting pair. Your review is comfort that I’ve picked the right make, and it’s great to be supporting a UK business into the deal!

    • Andy
      August 9, 2016 / 10:57 am

      Hi Paul/WildTide,

      Just to follow up on my previous comment, I did buy the Alt-Berg Tethera boots. I have fairly large feet and needed size 11 extra wide. They are by far the best fitting and most comfortable boots I’ve ever had. After breaking them in (although they were really comfortable from first wearing) and giving them some hard work for a week in Snowdonia (with some very wet conditions there too), I’m very impressed.

      They’ve now done a lot more walking the past two months in various terrains and conditions and I can say they have performed really well. There has been absolutely no ingress of water and, also using decent socks, no problem points of friction or rubbing on my feet. The grip and performance of the sole has been very good in all (summer) conditions. It’s still fairly early days, but with good cleaning and care, so far there are no signs of problems in the construction or quality of the materials.

      • paul coupe
        August 10, 2016 / 5:27 pm

        To follow up Andy, I’ve had the Tethera boots for a little while now and christened them with a week in the Lake district taking in several fell walks in mixed weather. They have remained totally waterproof, despite several duckings to ankle depth, and the lacing adjustments and width make them a breeze to achieve a comfortable fit. My only gripe is that they are a little in the firm side underfoot, but this is no doubt compounded by the orthotics I have to wear which have very little give in them. The bots strike a great balance between relatively light weight for a leather boot, and support, having excellent torsional rigidity yet roll well on paved surfaces thanks to the profiled front section of sole which has a slight upturn to it.

        Overall, very pleased with these. The grip is also excellent on just about all surfaces. I haven’t had and slips yet despite some rock scrambles and some steep descents over wooded paths with lots of roots and damp rock.

        They get their biggest trial next week though with an ascent of Coniston Old Man. I’m pretty confident though judging by overall comfort and grip offered, that they’ll be fine. Can’t recommend them highly enough. Using them with good quality woollen socks and using Leder Gris which is applied after every outing. Very pleased with the Tetheras and for anyone wanting an all day comfortable not that cuts it on some more technical upland walks as well as rolling well on more gentle trials, these are worth a shout.

        • August 13, 2016 / 8:46 am

          Thanks for your replies Paul and Andy,

          I’ve had my boots up in Snowdonia recently and they were fantastic again. I really like the firm grip and support offered by these boots, making them excellent for scrambling and scree type surfaces.

          I recommend them to a man on top of Pen yr Ole Wen, who after we had got chatting was complaining about blisters and having hard feet to buy boots for.

          I also purchased some Leder Gris from a shop in Llanberis. How regularly are you applying it Paul?

          Thanks again for both your comments.

          • Paul
            August 13, 2016 / 12:28 pm

            Hi WildTide

            I apply Ledergris after every outing to ensure the boots remain well conditioned. I have some Altberg Defender boots which are still like new after a year of hard use and have always used Ledergris after every outing with those. If the boots get wet I pack the insides with newspaper and apply Ledergris to the outside and leave overnight before buffing.

            I had an all day treck yesterday in poor weather and got drenched. The Tetheras were submerged numerous times and this time round did get damp on the insides so not convinced about them being totally waterproof but my feet stayed quite dry in good wool socks. The Tetheras are getting more comfortable as the miles pile on and they inspire confidence on steeper scrambled. The soles show little wear after the first 40 miles. Great all round boots. Like you I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them despite some slight dampness getting through (it was an exceptionally wet hike including stream crossings).

  3. Andy
    August 15, 2016 / 11:40 am

    Hi Hi WildTide,

    I too use Ledergris. I’ve found it to be the best of these types of products. I apply it after each significant use of the boots, cleaning and drying first. I’m careful to apply the Ledergris to all the stitching and around lace eyelet studds etc. For me, the best part of £200 on a pair of boots is a significant investment and they deserve to be looked after if you want them to perform at their best for the longest time possible.

    • Andy
      August 15, 2016 / 11:43 am

      Sorry about the Hi Hi typo!! at leat there wasn’t a “de” in the middle…

  4. Paul coupe
    August 15, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    Hi WildTide/Andy

    just an update. Completed Old Man of Coniston climb today, taking one of the less touristy tracks up between Dow Crag and Old Man which involved some fairly steep rocky ascents to the 803m summit and the boots again inspired confidence with great grip and torsional rigidity. Very comfortable, no blistered feet yet. Despite a few slips and scuffs, the rand was high enough to protect the leather and a quick wipe with Ledergris on my return had them looking like new again. These could well be the best 3 season boot I’ve yet tried…a great Jack of all trades for walkers.

  5. Stan
    January 5, 2017 / 10:57 pm

    Hi,

    I’ve had a pair of 12.5 wide Tetheras for just over 2 years now and endorse all your comments. They are used mainly for lowland/moorland walking in SW England, so plenty of mud and splashing across streams. No noticeable wear at an estimated 1500+ miles. The boots were comfortable from straight off; I have both plantar fasciitis and mild Morton’s neuroma, so the stiff sole is ideal (I wear them with Vasyli + Dananberg orthotics, and merino wool socks). One observation is that the soles are made of quite hard rubber, and don’t grip well on smooth/wet rock; I’ve invested in a pair of Lowa Renegades for rocky walks and summer use, but wouldn’t subject them to the same conditions as the Tetheras. In summary, excellent well-made boots.

    Incidentally I persisted with the Ledergris until my last big tin ran out, but find a softer wax such as the Berghaus one easier to work in to the boot particularly on a cold day.

  6. Tania
    March 2, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    Just purchased my first pair of Altberg Tethera’s. looking forward to getting out in them and hoping they will be good for Nijmegen later in the year. I’ve always worn trail or running shoes before so am keen to give them a go

  7. Jezz
    October 22, 2017 / 9:35 am

    Hello there,

    I’m about to give my Tetheras their first proper clean- can someone tell me if you should apply Leader Gris to the upper part of the heel and ankle support? I’m not entirely sure it’s leather there…

    Jezz

    • October 24, 2017 / 6:27 pm

      Hello Jezz, I’m not 100% sure. I’ve emailed Alt-Berg as I’d like to know myself. I will post their reply up here when I receive it!

      Thanks for reading!

      Mike

      • October 25, 2017 / 10:39 am

        Hi again Jezz,

        I’ve heard back from Katie at Alt-Berg, she says this on the matter of Leader Gris and where to apply it.

        I hope this helps you and anyone else with similar questions:

        “On our Tethera boot the heel and ankle support is Nubuk, which is Leather but with a different finish, and this area along with the rest of the boot should be treated with Leder-Gris wax-oil to help keep the Nubuk and Leather supple.

        We recommend that the area where the heel flexes the most should also be treated with Leder-Gris, as this area bends and stretches regularly.

        Altberg only recommend Leder-Gris for use on their boots. We do not recommend dubbins, saddle soaps, oils, or any shoe-type polishes.

        NEVER dry quickly • NEVER dry near heat • NEVER leave boots in direct sunlight • NEVER force dry in any way • NEVER dry near central heating • ALWAYS dry in a cool place • ALWAYS treat with Leder-Gris before storage”

    • October 25, 2017 / 10:55 am

      I’ve also added a PDF of their user guide at the bottom of my original review. I think a hard copy of this comes in the box with the boots, but hopefully it will be useful if anyone has lost their copy.

      • Jezz
        October 30, 2017 / 6:41 pm

        That’s great, many many thanks, Mike! The last thing anyone wants is to pay top dollar for boots and then…

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