Brasher Supalite Gtx 2 Boots
I have spent years being dis-satisfied with the footwear I have used for archery, not necessarily because the boots I have used have been rubbish, although some of them have been. A large part has been on account that I have been too mean to purchase really top quality footwear. We all know that top Johnny boots will cost close to £100 and in many cases even more.
Several years ago I purchased some bargain fabric boots, they were fine, until it rained and there are few things worse than wet cold feet, I say few things, well one of those things is those same boots sitting in the hall after having been wet - I won't go in to graphic detail, lets just say that they can be "unpleasant". But then they do dry out and you persevere, each time they get wet you promise yourself that you will get decent boots next time - well I did get new boots but I couldn't quite bring myself to go the whole hog. Instead I spent £50 on some leather boots which proved to be equally ineffective against the wet.
Another lesson learned the hard way, buy quality and you just buy once. The next pair were the most expensive I could find, at £160 they promised I would leave all my boot worries behind - they almost lived up to that promise, however most of my archery takes place in woodland and not on the north face of the Eiger - it turned out I had purchased some seriously hard core trekking/hillwalking/mountaineering boots with a sole so stiff I could hardly bend my foot, not only that but they weighed a ton.
In desperation I turned to one of the leading boot designers and manufacturers of footwear, Brasher. I explained in great detail the trials and tribulations an archer must endure for his art, I explained the issues I had encountered and the fact that I just wanted boots that would keep my feet dry and comfortable, I wanted them to weigh next to nothing cause me no problems and just let me get on with archery.
At first I thought they had sent me an empty box.. but it did indeed contain boots, the lightest I have ever encountered, the literature tells me they are 1122g for the pair, that really doesn't mean too much nor sound quite so impressive as it actually is. To illustrate, the photo below shows my current boot on the right and the pair of Brasher Supalight 2 GTX boots on the left, the small addition of a 4oz weight to the single boot had the scales balanced nicely.
On paper that sounds great, in the real world it's even better, at a shoot last Sunday I positively danced round the 42 target course, perhaps a slight exaggeration, but they felt more like trainers than boots, so soft that they needed no breaking in at all. The uppers are proper leather, by that I mean this is a proper boot made from full grain leather, the quality of the boot has not been compromised to lose the weight, there is a padded and very soft tongue and the "cuff" at the top of the ankle is similarly padded with memory foam and what feels almost like chamois leather. They fit perfectly and despite the softness offered all the support I needed whilst traversing gulleys and hills through the woodland. The secret to the lighter weight must be in the sole but they are giving nothing away as it is billed as just "Supalite sole". Inside the boot it is lined with very soft leather.
I need dry feet, I just can't stand having them wet and the Gore Tex layer will sort that issue, the weather has been dry here of late and with few puddles to splash in and only the early morning dew to contend with the only real way to test them was an extended session with a hose, I had been pleased when Caroline had volunteered to help with this test to hold the hose and I must have been lost in contemplation of the boots not to have realised that her perverse sense of humour would leave me with wet everything, except wet feet, the boots at least didn't turn on me..
When your feet are warm and dry you don't actually notice your boots, A boot that doesn't keep you dry will make whatever you are doing a miserable experience, these Gore Tex boots actually guarantee to keep you dry, that isn't the end of the story though, as they are also lightweight, comfortable and soft, in fact everything I had asked Brasher to provide, which would have to make them just about the perfect archers boot. The boots are available in sizes 7 to 11, interestingly they are made in half sizes as well so you can get the perfect fit. The woman's version comes in sizes 4 to 8 and again half sizes are available. This review will be updated as an ongoing review and we will see what these boots are like to live with over time.
Reviewed By Andy, 6 June 2010
It's not often a bit of kit saves your life, I'm possibly being over dramatic but that's what it seems like to me. Last year for the first time I took a whole week off to take part in the South West Challenge, the challenge is a full weeks worth of archery across the south west of England in Devon Cornwall and Somerset. Eight shoots in nine days, but that's not really the challenge, that comes in the form of massive hills to be tackled on a minute by minute basis.
Despite weeks worth of planning it, after the first day it was clear that hadn't been enough. Not only were there hills to be negotiated it had to be done in the wet as it rained pretty much all the time. While I'm not what you would call sprightly, I am generally pretty stable on my feet, however I spent possibly as much time slipping over as I did shooting. The second day wasn't much better and it was becoming clear my choice of footwear for the week wasn't going to last the nine days, or more specifically, I wasn't going to last the nine days if I continued to wear them. We had word that the third and fourth days shooting wouldn't be so extreme but when we got there we found different. To be fair the shooting was a little easier but the terrain wasn't and things carried on as they were. There was one particular fall which resulted in me smashing my head on the floor, this was the final straw and the boots really did have to go.
The 5th day was a day of rest so I had the chance to venture off to Plymouth in search of some boots. Steve had recommended Brasher and in particular Super Lites, one of the worst thing with decent walking boots is the weight of them, this becomes worse when they have half a ton of mud attached to the bottom. After a few unsuccessful attempts I finally found a shop which stocked Super Lite. The first thing you notice, which should be obvious by the name, is that they are indeed super 'lite', coming in at an advertised 1122gms for a pair. What is also clear is that these are not hardcore mountain climbing boots, the uppers are extremely soft which makes them very comfortable, but not overly protective. The boots are also exceptionally well made the upper being made in such as way so that everything is joined and therefore totally waterproof. The boots are not cheap at £125 and I was at the mercy of the shops as I didn't have the time to wait for them to arrive from the internet, where they can be found for under £100.
The next 4 days of archery were uneventful with regards to falling around as the boots performed exceptionally well. Like a big kid I stepped in all the big puddles to test them out and my feet stayed dry at all times. I didn't slip over once during the final few days.
I have been wearing these for several months now and they have been excellent, there have been no signs of wear and they are as comfortable as everyday shoes but with the practicality of a solid walking boot.
Features & Design
The main feature is the weight, in that regard they are excellent. They don't have the macho look of a modern walking boot but are more classically styled, I am not into funky looking anything, I want the product to perform and be functional, these boots are simple and effective - with very few seams they are easy to maintain and for those of us who are neglectful of cleaning, these boots make it easy.
In terms of what a boot should do it does it perfectly. Dry feet is normally the number one priority and these fit the bill. Also offer support to the ankle without being restrictive.
Value for Money
£130 is a lot of money for a pair of boots, even for light ones. If your feet had a vote they would say they were value for money - a quick trawl on the internet will find them much cheaper than list price.
I don't suppose Brasher had field archers in mind when designing these boots, but throughout history those who made the greatest discoveries were usually in pursuit of something else, that makes them no less excellent offering the protection of a boot, the comfort of a trainer and the waterproof properties of a welly !!