Three years ago I hiked the Laugavegur trail in Iceland in a pair of Meindl Bhutan Womens MFS walking boots. The trail covered 78km through a striking and varied landscape of volcanic rocks, coned peaks and glacial valleys. And the weather that was thrown at us during the trip turned the relatively manageable hike into a challenging adventure that re-kindled my love for walking in the mountains and proved an excellent test for my new Meindl walking boots.
The process to find the right pair of boots however, was drawn out and laborious to say the least – I wish I had known what I do now about how to choose the right walking boots. But the lace burns on my fingers from trying on every hiking boot in existence, were worth the effort – I love my wonderful pair of Meindl Bhutan MFS walking boots, and will hopefully be trekking in them for years to come. One of the best walking boots for women out there.
Meindl Bhutan review – the trial
I bought my pair of Meindl walking boots less than a month before the Iceland trip and was very aware that I needed to get some miles in before I tackled the big trek. So I headed to the Brecon Beacons for a 17km weekend hike to wear them in. The Bhutan is a hard-soled, three season boot that is relatively stiff and designed for rough terrain long-distance trekking and backpacking. So I packed my blister kit and readied myself for a weekend of hobbling and grimacing my way around the Welsh hills. However, I was most relieved and very surprised at the total lack of ‘wear in’ time that was needed. Meindl claim ‘out of box comfort’ and that’s exactly what I got!
Meindl Bhutan review – the performance
During the Iceland trek, the weather conditions were so bad that the trail wardens closed the trail a few hours after we set off! My Meindl walking boots were certainly put to the test from the get-go: sideways rain – turning to sideways sleet and then snow, boggy valleys followed by steep and icy ascents, muddy tracks, loose gravelly descents and to top it off, some trudging through very deep snow. And did my feet stay dry? Totally bone dry for the whole 6-day trek. Aside from the stink of my feet, there was no need to pack spare socks!
The grip never let me down and gave me loads of confidence on both the steep ups and loose downs. There was a good deal of clambering over wet rock too and again, they didn’t disappoint.
The support that the boots provide meant that my weak ankles were in heaven. I felt totally at ease stomping around on anything, often paying little attention to what was underfoot. And with a heavy trekking backpack on my shoulders, getting good support was exactly what I needed.
Meindl Bhutan review – the specs
It’s no surprise that the Bhutan’s perform so well – their design is based on the legendary Meindl Burma Pro, which, at their time of release, was a game-changer for those wanting a stiff and solid boot without the break-in time. Meindl took the Burma Pro and all it’s inner comfort, re-designed the leather upper and added a new softer ankle cuff and speed lacing eyelets. The result is a stylish, durable and oh-so-comfortable walking boot that will certainly not disappoint. The Bhutans are made to Meindl’s usual high standards, with great attention to detail:
- The Waxed Nubuck leather upper is durable and waterproof and provides excellent protection for your feet.
- The breathable Gore-Tex membrane makes the boots even more waterproof, minimising moisture from the inside and the outside.
- The Vibram Outsole provides unparalleled grip on both wet and dry surfaces. The rubber soles are shock absorbent and durable, and offer an optimal balance of stability and flexibility.
- The Digafix lacing system draws the heel snuggly to the back of the boot without exerting pressure on the foot.
- The Meindl MFS (Memory Foam System) lining is unique to Meindl walking boots. The system uses a specially-developed combination of foams to pad the upper. Once warmed by body heat, the foam changes shape to exactly match the shape of the foot.
- There is a protective rubber rand that runs around the bottom of the boot, just above the sole. This provides added protection and durability.
Meindl Bhutan review – the fit
When laced up properly, the boots fit very snuggly with very little foot movement or heel lift. The MFS certainly helps with this, as does the lacing system which also allows for a custom tie-up to suit your preference. Meindl walking boots fit pretty true to their size, if anything they are very slightly on the large side, so make sure you try them with the socks you intend wearing them with.
Meindl Bhutan review – the verdict
When I first bought my boots, they were way above my budget, but I have not once wished I had spent less on a different pair. The pleasure and comfort that I have gained from their use is by far worth their value, and I don’t anticipate having to replace them for many many years.
They have taken me on short walks in the park, winter mountain hikes and numerous camping trips, and I often find myself planning hikes and treks just to have an excuse to wear them! I love how they look too and often wear them with jeans when I’m out and about during the winter.
I have now been wearing my Meindl Bhutan walking boots for almost three years with very few complaints. My one tiny gripe would be the lack of springiness in them. But then that’s not what they’re designed for!
An all round great and reliable hiking boot that will be sure to take you on a lifetime of hiking adventures. A big thumbs up from me!
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