The Vault Regulars

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Walsh Enforcer lightweight trail boot.

Alan, and a few other people asked if i (Sheila), was going to put a review of these Walsh boots on the blog. I've had a think about it and decided that it could only be beneficial  to readers as their seems to be a shortage of reviews specifically about outdoor gear for ladies.

 Well let me start by saying "I am not a boot fan". I much prefer trail shoes of the un-waterproof type and where required, i supplement them with waterproof socks. After all, if you get water inside a waterproof boot it stays there with no escape route apart from taking them off and draining them out.

 So why have i got a pair of boots. You may well ask.
Well it started in early December 2012 when we were getting our gear ready for Martins Christmas walk. I expected snow to cover the ground as it did last year and i was a little worried about cold feet all day.

 Alan was feeling rough with flu and was browsing the internet between moaning about shivering and feeling dreadful. He must have been listening to my apprehensions about cold feet because he said "have a look at these boots, i think they will suit you and for the price must be worth getting".
 The boots were Walsh Enforcers.

 Now i also don't like boots because when they are wet and mud covered they usually weigh a ton and i dislike the whole experience. I wasn't convinced it was the right way to go but Alan kept saying "Give them a go, Walsh make good shoes. They will be worth every penny". I said ok,ok, and ordered a pair.

 Walsh, i eventually clicked, was the same company as make the running shoes of note. I have seen lots of Norman Walsh  running shoes on the fells and therefore i was a bit surprised to see a boot and at such a cheap price, because i know what good shoes they make.

 So they arrived, i was impressed with how light weight they were. I actually said “wow" they are nice. Basically a high running shoe. The sole was the typical Walsh sole. I think they only do one type and it looks nothing like a Vibram.
 The web site actually says it's an all new Pyra grip sole but to me it looks exactly like every other pair of Walsh's i've seen. Not that there is anything wrong with it btw.

 They are now a month old and i have been out in some dire weather, mainly wet, boggy, light snow and some frozen tracks. I am still impressed. I don't fell run, so all my comments are just about walking in them although no doubt you can run in them.

 The boots are a size 5.5 and each boot weighs 395gr. That's measured on our own scales. I don't know what the official figure is.
 Two tone grey with a red trim upper, a waterproof and breathable membrane. I have been pleased with the results so far, they have kept my feet warm with only a lightweight sock and dry as a bone.

 I found the ankle collar quite firm at first and just a little uncomfortable on my right foot. I put this down to me not wearing boots for so long although why one foot was a little sore and the other one ok i don't know. Maybe i had the lace too tight.
 So with this in mind i made sure it wasn't too tight next time out. It didn't make any difference, my right ankle still felt a bit sore.

  A month in and around 60 miles done, there is no soreness, so i can only suggest that the problem was my soft ankle.
 I'm not 100% sure. It's not a problem now though.
 The tongue is comfy and bellows type, easy lacing,  and i like the rand protection. The toe protector is not huge but i wouldn’t expect it be on a lightweight boot. There is also a pull tab on the heel.

 The boot itself is quite flexible in the area of the ball of the foot but very little elsewhere and holds the foot extremely well. There is no heel lift.
 I think i have found a last that is made for me.
 The Pyra-Grip sole works particularly well when contouring, this works brilliantly on everything except smooth wet rock where i felt i had to be careful. There's no slipping on wet grass or muddy surfaces due to the shape and depth of the sole lugs. And walking on hard surfaces is not uncomfortable.

 The insole is basic but adequate and i don’t feel i need to change it for a better quality one as yet.

 After Martins Christmas walk these boots were caked in a limestone concretion. They looked like i had been working at a cement works. This was due to walking along the Tissington trail in very wet conditions. Alan got the job of cleaning them and he says he was amazed at just how easy they were to clean and how well they looked afterwards.

 So, i can no longer say i don’t like boots. I barely know i have these on my feet now.
 They only cost £34.99 from Sportsshoes .com.   Truly amazing value for money.
 I am so pleased Alan persuaded me to get them and i wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them.


-maria- said...

Sheila, thanks for the review! I think I'm one of those who've been asking for this :) I'm after a pair of lighter boots than my leather Meindl boots - they are good boots and I like them, but they are a bit heavy-duty for day walks in the neighbourhood when I walk on a mix of road/off-road. They are also too heavy to be dragged on summer holidays when backpacking is not the main thing but some day walks are in sight. These boots might be a good alternative, and the price is very tempting (especially as they charge nothing for the standard delivery, which is 10 - 14 days, to Finland!). I think most of the boots I've been looking at have a price tag of 120 €+, and these are under 50 €!

As to the sizing: is UK 5.5 your normal shoe size, or did you need to go up or down a size?

Maybe I still sleep overnight before pressing the "ORDER NOW!" button, like you and Alan said, for that price they might be worth getting.

AlanR said...

Hi Maria, My normal shoe size is UK5. I chose UK5.5 so that i had the option of varying my sock thickness. I don't think you will be disappointed in them. I don't know if Walsh are known in Finland but they have been making running shoes in Bolton England for years and have a good reputation. And what a good price.

John J said...

Very interesting. I use Walsh PB fell-running shoes (used for hobbling in my case!) and they're tremendously well made and comfy.....and they grip like blazes.
I'll have a look at these boots. I love my Meindl Burmasm but a lighter boot would be good from time to time.....and a chap always needs more boots.

Dawn said...

They are nice boots at an impressive price. So much so I ordered a pair last year. However, I had to send them back. They tend to be a narrow fit and as a result of foot operations I now need a broader boot. Good footwear though.

AlanR said...

Hi Dawn,
Yes i can imagine that with your foot problems you must have some difficulty selecting a boot. Sounds like you are on the mend now and i wish you well with the TGO Challenge.

AlanR said...

Thanks JJ. Burma’s are quite a heavy boot, too heavy for me but these Walsh’s would be great for you as you could use them for both hiking and running. At the cost of these i think i would get 2 pairs and still be quids in.

Anonymous said...

Look good. Shame they don't have my size :(

AlanR said...

Thats a shame Robin, maybe they are available elsewhere?

-maria- said...

Thanks again, Sheila. Based on my quick internet search it seems many have gone half a size up with Walsh shoes/boots, so that's what I did, too (that is, I have just ordered a pair of these boots in size UK4.5!). If they are huge for me I can always hand them over to my son (whose shoe size is right now almost the same as mine - but unlike my feet, his feet are growing and by the summer they are likely to be bigger than mine).

Walsh are not known in Finland (well at least I didn't know them but I don't fell run - maybe the fellrunners among us know them?). But they seem to be well respected by the fellrunners in the UK - and I also have your word for it! ;)

The price is very good for a pair of decent boots. I hope they'll fit me as they certainly would fill in the gap between my trail runners and the heavy duty leather boots. They should be here by the end of the month, so I'll report you back then! Thanks again for this review!

AlanR said...

Hi Maria,
Wow, that will be great. Maybe start a new trend in Finland. The power of the blogger is alive and well. I do hope you like them.
We look forward to reading your opinion soon.

Phreerunner said...

Very interesting. That'll be the same 'concretion' that seized up our waterworks then, and the same 'JJ' that hobbles whatever his footwear?
Have a great 2013.

AlanR said...

Thanks Martin,
That will be the very same.
Oooh, seized up waterworks. Sounds painful.
I'm saying nothing about JJ's hobling.

2013 has not started too well so far. All the best to you and Sue too.
See you soon hopefully.

Anonymous said...

I really like my Enforcers, they are superlight and comfy with great grip.
I've been using them above the snowline during this, and last, winter in Scotland. They are great for snowy conditions and are really secure on everything except hard ice. Being light and minimalist I do need to wear two pairs of socks with them, so I went up a half size for winter. They work with flexible crampons and mini-spikes (Hillsound Trail). My Enforcers have not remained waterproof for long, however, but, hey thats what waterproof socks were invented for.

AlanR said...

Thanks for the comment. Always good to hear from a long term user. Grip wise, i am sure that they would cope with snow but not ice, without grips. I don't think i would use them in deep snow for long periods after all they are just a light weight boot.
I will let the readers know if/when the membrane gives way but if i get more than a year out of them, for this price i won't complain.

afootinthehills said...

Alan Rayner and Boots. Not words you often see together:-) They look quite natty though.

AlanR said...

Hi Gibson,
These are Sheila's boots and Sheila's post. Nothing to do with moi what soever. Although, i might do a boots post in a couple of months time.
These Walsh's are very nice especially if like Sheila you prefer trail shoes over std boots.

afootinthehills said...

Oops! It does say that right at the start. What a fool I feel.

AlanR said...

Speed reading! I do it too.
No worries. Have another bottle of 1849.

-maria- said...

Hi Sheila & Alan,

I just want to say I'm very glad I bought these boots. The size is perfect, and I haven't had any blisters or hot spots wearing them. I've been using them regularly since we got rid of the snow, so they have quite a few miles on them by now.

There may or may not be a review on my blog one day (the blog is again running behind...), but I just wanted to pop over and thank you.

AlanR said...

That’s great Maria. Thank you and i am glad you like them. I have also bought a pair of Carn Kaiteur’s which are just a bit heavier than the Walsh but not as heavy as the Meindl’s. They are a fantastic boot at a fantastic price too, whilst stocks last.

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