As a professional journalist and photographer, it is essential to have the right gear. I spend many weekends tramping around race tracks in all kinds of weather or setting up photoshoots for cars I am test driving, and this can be in city locations or in the forest or on mountains near to where I live in Wales.
If you have ever worked trackside at the races, you will know that behind the barriers where the photographers must walk, it is usually littered with sharp stones, bits of concrete from the construction of the wall, or any other unforgiving obstacles and impediments. So what has this got to do with boots I hear you ask? Well if you don’t have the right boots for the job, you can end up buying any number of replacement shoes or boots as they really have to be tough – and comfortable.
So when this year’s Le Mans 24-Hour race was looming on the horizon I began the search for a suitable pair of walking boots that were light, durable, waterproof and not too chunky as I would be driving home in them after the race or rally event. With the growth in leisure pursuits in recent years, the market too has exploded to offer a bewildering array of suitable (or unsuitable) products, some no more than puffed up trainers made to look the part, but others that really are solid performers in this market. The circuit at Le Mans is 13.5km long, and as we were going to be there the whole week, a lot of walking was on the cards. I need to add that after the great race we had planned to spend a week engaging in some more leisurely pursuits such as a bit of R&R in the Loire Valley, walking and cycling through the rolling, picturesque countryside.
By way of some background, I grew up in South Africa in a family who had built a sizeable business in shoes and although I didn’t go into the business, my understanding of having the right shoes for the right job has been engrained on my mind from a very young age. So when I was looking for my walking boots for Le Mans, they had to be right – very right!
When I contacted Brasher UK, they immediately understood the needs that both my wife and I had for a pair of ‘his and hers’ walking boots for our work. I selected a pair of Fellmaster GTX for their lightweight and hill walking ability, as the rough terrain encountered while out on some hiking was similar to what I would find around the outside of a race track or rally course. The leather uppers would ensure durability and cleaning them after a day out in the mud meant simply brushing them under running water. Being waterproof was one thing but they should also not make my feet hot as a photographer carries camera gear in a heavy backpack all day, and tired feet make the job that much harder. Not only were the Fellmasters up to the job, but they were also attractive looking to boot (pun intended)!
My wife chose a pair of Journeyer GTX for the same qualities but also for the slightly shorter boot form. Also required to cover long distances at Le Mans and later during hikes along the Loire Valley, the Journeyer offered superb comfort with memory foam in the collar and again lightweight sturdy leather uppers. She has used the Journeyer since, even in the warm summer weather, without feeling uncomfortably hot as our lifestyle in rural Wales often brings with it walks through forests, long grass, down country lanes or just in the generally unpredictable weather in our area.
Both the Fellmaster and Journeyer products satisfied our needs for both professional and leisure use. For the price, the Brasher boots have more than met our needs and I am sure will continue to offer excellent wear in the future.