Adam our Bristol store assistant manager gives is view on these classic German boots.
As an ethical consumer and avid hiker, I am always on the lookout for well-made, durable, and sustainable boots. I have had synthetic boots in the past and my experience has been that they end up in landfill far more quickly than I would like.
I am a big fan of Hanwag and the effort they put in to produce the kind of footwear I admire, but the question is, are they all talk and no (hiking) trousers? I have been using the Hanwag Banks GTX hiking boots for several months now, and I have been putting them to the test around the Cotswolds and Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) along muddy bogged out paths, steep climbs with some light scrambling, and hard packed paths & roads.
One of the things I appreciate most about the Hanwag Banks is their fit and comfort. The boots are true to size, they have a roomy toe box and tapered heels. I have an average foot width, narrow heel, and find them extremely comfortable. If you are on the wider side, fear not, they would be a good fit for most people unless you have an excessively wide or narrow foot.
The boots have a thick polyurethane foam wedge in the midsole, which provides excellent shock absorption and a smoother roll-off. Another wonderful thing about the Banks is the support. The high ankle cuff provides good ankle support, even on uneven terrain whilst the textile makes it comfortable around the ankle. They also have a Vibram outsole that offers excellent grip in all types of terrain, including wet rocks, mud, and loose dirt.
They are also quite durable. Made from a combination of high-quality nubuck leather and Cordura fabric. The leather is sourced from a tannery in Germany that is committed to sustainable practices. The Cordura fabric is made from recycled materials, and it is exceptionally durable and water-resistant. The boots also have a Gore-Tex membrane that keeps your feet dry and comfortable in all weather conditions. The Gore-Tex membrane is breathable, so it allows your feet to sweat without getting wet. At no point did I get any water ingress whilst stomping through boggy paths and puddles.
Ethical Consumer Perspective
In addition to their excellent performance, I am also impressed with the ethical credentials Hanwag. They are committed to social and environmental responsibility. It sources its materials from sustainable suppliers, and it manufactures its products in fair working conditions within the EU.
Hanwag is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation, which works to improve working conditions in the garment industry. They also use recycled materials in many of their products, including the Banks GTX boots. The company is also committed to reducing its environmental impact. For example, they use renewable energy at its production facilities. As another example of how far they go, Fenix who owns Hanwag and Fjallraven, uses the offcuts from the leather used in Hanwag footwear for the Fjallraven logo patches on their garments to ensure nothing is wasted in the manufacturing process.
I believe it is important to support companies committed to social and environmental responsibility. By buying Hanwag products, I can feel good about my purchase knowing that the company is working to make a positive impact. The fact that the product is of such high quality just makes the decision that much easier.
Overall, I highly recommend the Hanwag Banks GTX hiking boots to any keen hiker who is looking for a well-made, comfortable, durable, and sustainable hiking boot. The boots are perfect for a variety of terrain, and they are sure to last for many years to come, provided they are well maintained. Of all the boots I have tried and tested, these are the closest to a ‘do it all’ boot for the average consumer.