My favourite boots of all time were a pair of Millet High Roc – they were comfortable, precise and, importantly, bright red. We had many adventures together, from scrambling in the Lake District to walking in the Dales to a winter traverse of Liathach. Some of you may recall I was in a little accident in 2014. After the nearly dying, eight hours alone with a massive list of injuries, multiple operations, and 3 years of recovery, my greatest regret (apart from not remembering the only helicopter ride of my life) is that those boots were removed with scissors. They’d gone out of production by this point, so I replaced them with a pair of Scarpa Rebel Lite, which are lighter, nearly as good, but not red.
In the build up to my fundraising walk for Keswick Mountain Rescue Team, I started casting about for some stiffish boots that are also light and comfortable and quite by chance, I found these beauties. They tick all of those boxes and they are red. They are even redder than the High Rocs. RED. Annnnyway, I bought them online and now I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I have fairly narrow feet and fairly high arches, so I don’t generally buy boots online unless I know the manufacturer and their fit fairly well. Because I’d already had a pair of Millet (and also checked around for other reviews) I knew to go a half size up for these.
So, what did £138 get me? They’re a mid-height boot, just coming up to my ankle, with split leather uppers and a Gore-Tex lining. There’s a nice rubber rand; lacing all the way to the toe; some decent cushioning around the cuff; they’re stiff enough to take a C1 crampon; the Vibram sole has a climbing zone at the front. The leather upper has a series of ridges moulded into it – I presume this is to give it some kind of structural integrity without the bulk/weight that comes with really thick leather. The full spec is here. For some reason it doesn’t mention the redness. Apparently you can get them in black, if you’re trying too hard.
For their first trip out, I got up early, laced them up, and whipped off up Baildon Hill (yes, I also got dressed, smart arse). Front door to summit, at a pace that gave me a stitch as I
barrelled up the side of the Hill, took 45 minutes. Surprisingly, given their newness, stiffness and my briskness, I had no blisters. There was a little rubbing around my right Achilles tendon, but that was it.
Second trip took me from Kettlewell to the top of Great Whernside and then back down via the green lane. It was a sweltering day with a bout of chilling rain two thirds of the way round. Grassy ascent, boggy descent and then that loose, stony track. God, I hate that track. No blisters – and if they were going to blister, that day had the heat for it – no rubbing and no leaks.
By now, I was sufficiently confident in these boots to make their third third trip my epic fundraising walk for Keswick MRT – 11 summits over 35km in some really foul weather. They did wet out after about 6 hours, but to be honest, I don’t know a boot at this weight that wouldn’t wet out after 6 hours. They were precise, comfortable, supportive, light and incredibly red.
Footwear – especially over any sort of distance – is a very personal thing, so I can never say that these are the boots for you. I would unhesitatingly recommend them if you have feet like mine – narrow, high arches – and remember to go a half size up. These are my new favourite boots.
Note: I paid for these boots myself and have received no form of remuneration from Millet.