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Lyle Brotherton:
I keep my kit in some purpose build cupboards in my workshop. They have good air-circulation and shelves with different spacings, boards for kit, hanging areas and a boot rack. Some time ago an MR colleague of mine called to collect me en route to a shout we were both attending. I thought that he was impressed with my setup until he remarked ‘It is like an Imelda Marcos’s mountain boots wardrobe!’ – A shameful collection or more than 20 pairs

Any soldier will tell his commanding officer that his rifle is his most important piece of kit, yet in reality it is his boots!

Over the years I have bought most of the latest new feature boots and some of these innovations, for example Vibram soles, have been revolutionary, others, such as Gortex outer fabric, a waste of money.

Some boots have performed in exactly the way they were designed to do, my Scarpa Cumbre boots climbing down into a crevasse in the Vatnajökull glacier, Iceland on a SAR mission and the same manufacturers incredibly expensive, yet essential, Phantom series for arctic environments have served their purpose well.

But the make and style for which I have the most affection are Meindl leather boots. The first pair I bought whilst out in Austria some 10 years ago, the all leather Burma and what a 3 seasons boot it has proved to be. I have worn them so much that they have been resoled twice and had numerous new insoles (the gel-type from Lidls) but a few weeks ago the welt finally cracked and the proofing was lost.

My good friend Stephen Cranston, fellow mountaineer and one time Scottish rugby international, told me that his was really impressed with Meindl’s new Vakuum boot. Similar to the Burma, but with memory foam that completely surrounds the entire foot and a higher ankle support.

I broke them in around the house, as always, then my trip to St Mary’s Loch and across the top with my son Bill was their first serious outing. Since then they have been used almost daily, everything from alighting from helicopters onto scree to descending steep grassy slopes and WOW, what a boot! I would go so far as to say the best 3 season (think they are advertised as 4 season but I personally would not use them this way) walking boot I have owned.

A memorial serve is being held for the Burmas next Sunday ;)

Hi Lyle, Meindl Vakuum -- is that the (more or less new) Meindl model which is advertized as type A/B? Are the soles sufficiently "rigid" for mountain-walking?

I have worn two pairs of Meindl Wales (type B), and I am very satisfied with them. When they need to be resoled, I send them off to a specialized repair shop in the Netherlands. They do the repairs on behalf of Meindl, Lowa, and a few other well-known brands. As such, they have the original tools and use only original materials from the manufacturer. See:

Pictures display fine on my PC. I first saw the Vakuums on CH5's The Gadget Show, with the great Brian Blessed and they received a very good review. I have not tried the Meindl brand before and my Mammuts are due for replacement. Will try on a pair in my local Cotswolds.

PS Meindl advertise them as 3 seasons, not 4:)

Lyle Brotherton:
Yes you are right Cal, 3 seasons :)

Yes Boogyman the soles are rigid enough for mountain walking and scrambling, the exact description for the boot is 'Meindl Vakuum GTX Walking Boot'

How much did you pay for them and where did you buy them Lyle?


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