Follow Exeter shop manager, Dave as he takes on Mammut’s elite trekking boot and gives his thoughts.
Born in 1862, Mammut has been synonymous with high-performance and quality mountaineering equipment. Established in Switzerland, Mammut has been at the forefront of mountaineering innovation since the 1950’s. With this heritage in the outdoor industry, how well do a company with a background in the mountains, design and create a boot that is suitable for UK conditions? The quick answer is very well!
Nubuck leather, a Gore-tex lining and a Vibram sole could describe one of the hundreds of boots on the market today. So, how is Mammut’s Trovat Tour GTX Boot different to its peers? All Mammut boots are constructed with quality materials. The leather is called Terracare which is taken as a by-product of the meat industry and manufactured with the utmost quality, sustainability, and responsibility in mind. Although there are other waterproof membranes out there, let us be honest, Gore-tex is the one with the best reputation and that’s for good reason. Trovat’s Vibram XS Trek sole is one we certainly trust, and with a PU midsole for cushion, these soles have excellent grip, balanced with durability, along with a generous rand of rubber around the toe and heel. These boots provide great protection for the whole foot against all elements.
I have a size UK11 or EU46 foot and due to a climbing injury earlier in the year I have one foot measuring a C width and the other a D width, so generally narrow. However, if you have a wider foot do not be put off. I am very picky with boots after suffering from blisters, mainly on the heel for as long as I can remember, so I didn’t hold out much hope for the Mammut Trovat Boot. On first inspection, I thought that they would not fit due to appearing to be wide fitting, but due to some key features, they fit from the first outing. These are the “Memo-foam” lining and Mammut’s “Base fit” technology. These increase comfort without restriction, meaning the inner of the boot and ankle meld to the user’s foot, and the Base Fit technology on the lower lacing loops means that as you tension the lace the webbing wraps around the whole circumference of the foot. I found this helps create a really unique fit for each individual foot, or indeed each individual user. The Trovat has a longer lacing pattern which continues further down than many other boots, helping with versatility. Along with an extremely wide opening and long laces, each person can experiment with the right fit for them. This all being said, the best thing is to get into a store to try one on before you buy all out.
Working at Taunton Leisure, being a magpie towards new kit does tend to put one’s bank balance at risk but also provides an opportunity to own many pairs of boots. At the moment, I use Scarpa SL Activs, La Sportiva TX5s and On Cloudrocks. The Mammut Trovat in terms of weight or season is heavy and stiffer than the TX5s but much lighter and more flexible than the SL which has made these my go-to boot for the last 5 months.
On first impression, the Trovat seems to be a marmite boot, some love the look and some hate it, personally, I think it looks great. The first noticeable feature is the chunky heel on the boots which makes them look like beasty mountaineering boots, but at a size UK11 weighing in at under 850g each, this is a reasonable weight and does not feel heavy on the foot. Trying to flex the boot with your hands is tough, it feels really stiff, but that is a real asset for those long days on the hill or multiple days with a heavy pack. It isn’t however, the best for those more relaxed rambles on easier ground. Mammut has cleverly solved this around the Achilles, the nubuck and rubber heel protection stop about two thirds up the boot and are overtaken by memo foam which means that your ankle can flex, reducing the feeling of stiffness but still providing support and protection to both ankle and foot.
As well as using these for daily dog walks and days out on both the SW Coastal path and Dartmoor, after much deliberation, I decided to take these on our recent staff trip along the Affric Kintail way in Scotland. There are lots of points about these boots I like, the fit and feel for me personally were the biggest draw, but I was worried that with so much leather and rubber, the mild Scottish weather in September would be far too warm. This in the middle of a 4-day trek could be an absolute nightmare! To my great surprise, however, the Trovat’s breathability is great. The Gore-tex and flexible fabric panels over the top of the foot not only help the boot fit to a wider foot but significantly improve the breathability of the boot. After 4 days of trekking with a decent-sized pack, at no point did I get a problem with my feet being too hot, even when wearing a liner sock. I did not feel the instant need to wrench my boot off quickly once the tents were pitched.
The other experience I had with the boots was the grip of the sole, at first I was very critical that the Vibram XS Trek sole could feel slippery on hard compact surfaces, potentially feeling like ice skating but I have come to realise this was a little premature. Whether this is the way they are manufactured for protection in transit or not is my guess, but I felt that after a few days of use and giving them some time on the trail, the grip greatly improved. On the last day, descending back into Morvich along smooth well walked rocky stone paths in the very Scottish wet weather, the grip was excellent and I could take each step and commit with confidence.
During the few days in Scotland and testing in the recent terrible weather in Devon, the waterproofing has been great now due to the fabric panel over the top of the foot. When standing in a bog or crossing a river, I felt a few cold spots but once clear of the water, that went away and after a few steps was unnoticeable again. At no point did any water ingress into the boot. Now onto my only negative which has been a positive earlier on in my review. The Memo Foam cuff around the achilles has on one occasion caused the back of my foot to get wet. What I think has happened is due to the fabric soaking up water which had worked its way up and over the top of the ankle cuff, however, to put some context to this it was on a particularly wet night training with Mountain Rescue involving lots of bog and steep hills so my waterproof trousers kept moving up and down a lot, I do not like or wear gaiters. This occasion of a wet heel however has not put me off the boot at all and I have continued to use them since with no dramas.
An area of concern we regularly experience in the stores from customers is how to care for their boots. We find most customers are happy with waxing a traditional brown leather boot but can be put off by a nubuck or synthetic option because they believe it’s harder to care for. It’s worth noting as I did with the review of my Rab Kangri Jacket that all outdoor gear, no matter how expensive needs care and maintenance. In relation to the Mammut Trovat, there are only two things that need to happen to keep your boot in good, waterproof condition. Firstly, cleaning them. Dartmoor soil, where I live, is very acidic and can trash a boot if left dirty for extended periods of time, so a quick walk through a stream or puddle at the end of a walk or a hose and brush at home will do the trick. Secondly, reproofing. Once clean and damp, a simple spray of a Grangers Footwear Repel or Nikwax Nubuck and Suede reproofer every 5-10 uses does a great job of not only reapplying a DWR (durable water repellent) coating back onto the boot but also has a conditioner in it which keeps the nubuck leather supple.
Pros and Cons
- Great weight to robustness balance
- Good every day and trekking level of stiffness
- Versatile fit
- Great looking
- Low fabric on the heel (could be my use)
- Slippery at first (improved with use)
In summary, the Mammut Trovat Tour High GTX Boots are a classic leather hiking boot with a modern aesthetic twist, suitable for everything the British weather can throw at them. These could be your next boots.