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Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

New boots & panties

The old Asolos - still muddy from their last walk
But so far – just the new boots! The old Asolos have hiked their last hike and will see out their twilight years in gentle retirement around the garden. Although the soles are worn almost flat (through to the spongy stuff underneath in places) and the fabric uppers are a bit ragged, amazingly they remain watertight and astonishingly comfortable.

But they won’t do another year, and this model is now looooong discontinued.

Anticipating the old Asolos’ demise, I tried a pair of AKUs a while back, but didn’t like them, and none of the current crop from Asolo seem to fit as well. Readers with long memories might recall that I have “issues” with boot fitting.

But not this time – no sir!

Bury St Edmunds, miles from the nearest hill, is strangely well provided with shops selling outdoor gear, but I always go first to the independent outdoor emporium. Outdoor shops come & go, but 'Stepping Out' keeps on adapting and surviving, diving into any niche not covered by the big boys. In the face of competition from the new Cotswold and Blacks stores they are currently re-inventing themselves again. I browsed the footwear. Nothing much that I fancied, but the Meindl Softline Ultra GTX looked pretty good. Despite knowing that the narrower Italian lasts suit me better, after a chat with the owner I was persuaded to give them a try. My size wasn’t in stock, but it was ordered straightaway and yesterday a phone call confirmed that they were in.

Meindl Softline Ultra GTX
Absolute astonishment. They laced up easily to give a firm snug fit. A stroll up and down – no appreciable heel lift, and plenty of room in the toe box too (the Asolos tended to taper in a bit at the end). Either my feet have got wider, or the Meindl Softline is narrower than their traditional boots, or maybe the new design and lacing system is much more flexible. Whatever – the fit is excellent.

Even better, this is a fairly stiff boot with a high ankle cuff. OK, unlike some of the softer lightweight boots they will take a few miles to bed in. The benefit is that over rough, steep ground edging won’t be a problem and that higher cuff means that maybe there is less chance of water pouring over the top in the ultra boggy ground that Scotland promises after this winter.

To sum up. Not the lightest boot on the market, but light enough, and very well made apart from the usual rubbish insole, which I’ll replace with my Superfeet. I think I’ll get a lot of miles out of them. So if  you think that the regular Meindl boot is too wide or has too much volume, these are well worth a try.



Blogger Alan Sloman said...

Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs!

March 6, 2010 at 6:57 PM  
Blogger John J said...

I've been a fan of Meindl for 6-7 years - Burma Pro GTX leather boots for rufty-tufty stuff, and Emotion walking shoes for the easy-peasy stuff.

The Meindl last seems to suit my peculiar feet very well, they're the only boots / shoes that have felt good straight out of the box.

Word: mersoles.....which are also very good on Meindls. Unless it means something rude.


March 6, 2010 at 11:36 PM  
Anonymous whitespider1066 said...

I look forward to the cutting remarks that Ms W will be posting on this matter. This post has bought back fonds memories of her last comments on this matter.

March 7, 2010 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

@Alan: Try climbing them too - v good for the belly ;-)

@John: Yes indeed. After a nine mile trial walk the comfort seems as good as the quality.

@ Darren: Miss W is being kept well away from this keyboard.

All in all, a very satisfactory purchase - now for the panties (new trews). More retail anguish.

March 8, 2010 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger The Odyssee said...

I am on my second pair of these. They are a nice weight, the fit is good and Meindl are a wide fitting.
My first pair lasted about 50 miles before the sole started to come away.
Cotswold changed them no problems.
The second pair are showing signs that they might be following the first.
I would suggest that you put a few miles on them before doing anything like the TGO and keep checking the sole. If there is any sign that the sole is starting to leave the boot, get them back to the shop.
For a Meindl product i am very disappointed.

April 2, 2010 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Thanks for the heads up, Alan. I'll keep a look out for this problem.

Miss W rang me with your comment,just as I was about to set off into the hills of Galloway. "Hope you've got a spare pair of dry socks", she giggled.

Pleased to report, though, that they are fine so far. I know that mine came from a new batch with what the shopkeeper described as 'very minor design tweaks', so I hope that one of Meindl's tweaks was attaching the sole properly!



April 6, 2010 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger The Odyssee said...

Phil, I hope you are right although making sure that the sole stays on is hardly a design tweak.
For the price, and the reputable company, you would have thought that some destructive testing would have been done prior to release.

Their is too much of "Let the customer do the testing" these days.

Glad yours held out this week and hope they last. Enjoyed reading your trip post.

April 7, 2010 at 9:03 AM  

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