I have been a firm believer in decent boots for hill walking for many years, but have been wanting to try lighter footwear for a while as it is said that weight on your feet is equal to about twice or three times that weight on your back in terms of how tired it makes you. I have experimented previously using relatively cheap cross country running trainers but found that the lack of ankle support, linked with foot rotation in the trainer caused me quite a lot of foot pain over the course of a munro walk, which remained with me for around a month afterwards when I tried it. I was therefore wondering if the more supportive, solid build of the regatta walking shoe would be a good compromise.
I was given the opportunity to test out this pair by Hawkeshead to use during our summer Munro challenge.
The Regatta Holcombe walking shoe appears well built and solid, having a pretty good sole stiffness and chunky grip. The upper looks well-made and is made from waterproof and breathable leather type material. It all appears really solidly built for a relatively budget brand so I was really impressed at first appearances. On putting the shoes on they were straight away comfortable with no particular pressure points.
- Isotex waterproof footwear – seam sealed with internal membrane bootee liner
- PU nubuck and breathable mesh upper
- Hydropel water resistant technology
- Deep padded collar and tongue
- Rubberised toe and heel bumpers
- EVA comfort footbed
- Stabilising shank technology
- Lightweight rubber outsole featuring internal EVA shock pads
- RRP: £70 – currently on sale at £34.99
I sized up by half a size from my normal as I wanted to be sure I had enough room in them for walking socks. Over the last six weeks I have walked one Corbett and five Munros in these walking shoes, mostly in dry conditions and I have to say they have performed very well. I used them for Bauchaille Etive Beag, Cairnwell, Cairn Aosda and Carn a’Gheodha.
The provided decent protection from sharp rocks underfoot and round the sides and toe area, with only the sharpest being felt at all through the soles or when I inevitably kicked a rock (don’t we all sometimes!). The grip was great, dealing well with a mix of rock, loose scree and some boggy patches easily. I had very few times that I slipped and had a lot of confidence in the grip of these shoes, almost as good as my boots. My feet stayed totally dry even when crossing shallow streams and boggy patches, so clearly either I float or the waterproofing is pretty good on these.
These Regatta Holcombe shoes are ideal walking shoes that I would happily recommend for a vast portion of UK hills and valleys so long as you are aware of their reduced ankle support compared to boots. Having said that I would still choose my boots for very rough terrain like pathless bog bashing, very steep routes or large boulder field crossings as the extra support and height of waterproofing of boots is really helpful in very tough terrain.
Genuinely if you are doing a lot of walking over a relatively short space of time, then having different footwear is a godsend to allow your feet to recover from being in one particular boot or shoe for long periods. Being able to use these shoes on some of our easier walks really helped to reduce the aches and pains in my feet and ankles, and I didn’t experience a single blister over the course of the challenge.
Many thanks to Hawkshead for setting us up with this pair of Regatta walking shoes to test over our summer challenge.