- By Chris Parkin
- 332 Comments
- Last updated: 26/01/2017
Hanwag seems relatively unknown, yet although sounding perhaps a little oriental is actually a German company producing the highest quality outdoor footwear since 1921. I thought it about time to have a look at alternative brands and David at Becketts Outdoor was a minefield of information about boots and, because he sells most brands, can give sound, impartial advice to any customer who asks.
I had no specific preference, but told him exactly what I wanted from a boot to suit the midseasons of the year, the likely terrain, travel and weight requirements. As all these mental boxes were ticked off, including my choice of leather material and colour, the Hanwag Special Forces GTX boot was the suggestion and a few days later, I opened the box.
The lasted and waxed full-grain leather build is produced in MOD brown specifically to suit the latest MTP uniforms and a brief glance around a service station coffee shop full of serving soldiers, showed a direct percentage of how many choose the Hanwag.
The 2.6-2.8mm leather polishes up well and has a deep lustrous feel that clearly displays quality. Stitching is regimentally neat throughout all the panels external and internal. Vibram soles are omnipresent these days and here we see the ‘Fuora’ unit that has moderate lugs with what I would term `soft` edges. They are quiet when walking on any surface and grippy in all but the wettest of conditions. The nine-inch height is a good moderate size for ankle support in everyday use without feeling hot or saggy; the leather stays externally firm yet softly padded and fully breathable internally. I found the Gore-Tex lining to deliver all that is promised with the whole foot surrounded up to eight inches from the floor within the soft internal fabric. The toes did mark a bit as the full grain leather was rubbed on rough surfaces but two minutes with wax polish soon had them like new.
sizing lengthwise was perfect for me, but they did seem a little narrower than I am used to. Thankfully the leather gave a little and they have become an extremely comfortable boot, I especially like the fit of the leather in the ankle and toe, as neither fold or squash up when shooting kneeling. The heel remains planted firmly and they are comfortable no matter how high they are laced. The laces run freely through loose eyelets with no restrictions, so can be pulled on from slack to tight if needed, but as the eyelets are held free, they can rattle a bit of not fully laced.
The Air Pulse System Memory Effect Insole Profile is very good and not too high in the arch for me, it combines well with a slightly spongy feeling midsole layer that aids the tactile feel of the boot, which at 1000g for the pair have a lightness to their step that seems at odds with the durability and support they offer.
Made in Croatia, I warmed to the Hanwags, it’s nice to find a boot that gives to fit your foot. They can be fully re-soled and I have no doubt they will keep getting more and more comfortable, just needing a new set of `tyres` every few years perhaps.
Available in sizes 5 to 13 (and half sizes) and priced at £159.99, contact Becketts Adventure on 01603 613 466 or visit the website at www.armynnavy.com.