Montrail Torre 02 GTX
Author: George Tod
There are no photographs of these boots as I returned them to the shop before I had taken any. I had to buy these boots in a hurry as I was due to start the Southern Upland Way in just a few weeks time and had suffered from a hole in the sole of my previous boots allowing water to get in.
These boots were a hybrid between leather boots and fabric boots. On the inside they had all the hallmarks of a fabric boot, with soft padding all around and a GORE-TEX® lining. On the outside, they had a similar appearance to a fabric boot but with leather in place of fabric. This made them a more robust boot offering greater support and with a more substantial outer to reduce the likelihood of water penetration.
£85 in 2003 (reduced from £129)
These boots appeared to offer all the advantages of a soft, well padded fabric boot and the instant comfort that goes with it, as well as the more robust protection and waterproofing of a leather boot. I did, indeed think that I had got the best of both worlds, especially as they were obtained from a shop stocking end-of-range lines and surplus stock at discount prices. My initial walks in these boots made me think that I had made an ideal choice, especially as I had very little time for breaking them in. They were comfortable right from the start and I felt confident that they would remain that way throughout my walk of the Southern Upland Way. However, as I progressed along the walk, I noticed that the heels of my socks seemed to accumulate tiny balls of a plastic substance which clung to the wool. I thought nothing of this for a while, but then found I was starting to suffer from sore heels and my socks were wearing through. Upon investigation, I found that the seam in the GORE-TEX® lining of each boot had come apart at the heel. This exposed the foam lining underneath, which was wearing away, with the remnants of it attaching itself to my socks and causing friction. Ideally, if there is any movement of the foot within a boot, the sliding should take place between the sock and the boot, not between the foot and the sock. In this case, because the wear exposed a material, i.e. foam, that was not smooth, and the socks built up numerous lumpy attachments from the foam, the socks started to cling to the boot and this resulted in a lot of rubbing between my socks and my feet. This started after only about 150 miles and caused me quite a bit of discomfort for the latter part of the walk.
For the time that I had these boots, they performed very well, although much of the walking I did in them was on hard tracks and roads. However, I did cover a number of sections through long, wet grass and boggy terrain, where they kept my feet quite dry. However, as I did not have them for the same length of time as usual, I didn't have chance to give them a very good evaluation.
Again, as I only walked about 250 miles in these boots, it was not possible to establish how long they would have lasted. They showed very little signs of wear in general, with the exception of the wearing away of the lining at the heel.
My general impression of these boots was that they were very well designed for comfort, support and durability. It was only when I started to have problems with the lining of the heels that my impression of them took a turn for the worse. This is not a problem that I have experienced with any other boots, except for my Line 7 fabric boots towards the end of their life, and these didn't cause my heels any problem, it was just that the GORE-TEX® lining wore through. Part of the problem arose from the provision of soft padding inside the boots. This was very good for comfort but, in the absence of a durable covering, allowed wear to take place and destroyed my initial impressions about the boots. Most conventional leather boots have little or no soft padding and, therefore, do not suffer this problem. I was bitterly disappointed when this happened, as I was so pleased with these boots at the outset and was sad that they had let me down in this way. They were only five weeks old when I had finished the Southern Upland Way so, rather than trying to find a way round the problem myself, I felt I had every justification to return them to the shop. There was no problem in getting an exchange, although I must admit that I didn't disclose that I had walked over 250 miles in their short life.
As I still needed another pair of boots, I tried on various other ones in the shop and found some of the same make but of a more conventional leather construction, which fitted my feet very well. They were £10 less than the others, which was refunded to me, and I only hoped that they would not suffer any similar problems.
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