I previously had a pair of Hanwag Banks II Narrow Lady GT, great boots, well-made and comfortable I climbed Conic Hill in them straight out the box and then Moel Hebog, unfortunately I have developed a problem with my Achilles. Anything that presses/touches my Achilles causes a lot of discomfort, so I’m wearing shoes these days.
Hanwag are nearly a century old, founded by Hans Wagner in 1921 made using tradition methods, and offer boots made using a range of traditional methods. They’re hand crafted and are either last constructed or double stitched. The upper is moulded and stretched over the last and attached to the insole to form a unit (this is known as lasted), the upper and insole is then cemented together under high pressure. Afterwards the midsole and outsole are added making the Cemented Construction process time consuming and complex. Hanwag footwear maybe a little more expensive but when you get to the point that your footwear fits like an old shoe, suddenly the sole goes, no worries you can get your Hanwag footwear resoled.
Hanwag make footwear in a variety of widths (Wide, Narrow and Straight Fit) and if you have a bunion’s or misshaped big toe, no problem, Hanwag have a shoe for that.
How did I find the Hanwag Makra Low GTX?
The first thing that I noticed was they looked small compared to my other shoes, now let me clarify the point I’ve made. I’m a size 8 Euro 42, I have narrow feet so my shoes often look like clowns’ shoes, in fact I wouldn’t look out of place on water being pulled along by a speed boat. The shoes are perfectly fitting, true to size 8, however the styling and the Optimized Ghilly lacing in the toe area, makes them look smaller. I welcome anything that makes me look less like Coco.
The Asphalt/Orink colour complement each other and are nice and feminine, these shoes are Category B using Hanwag’s guide. This means that they provide a decent grip and a solid sole construction for long hikes and easy treks. The shoe rand is what attracted me to the shoe, I like to scramble and with scrambling comes bumping of the toe box, this helps to prevent scuffs. Also, on hills you often find scree, it’s lovely stuff (it isn’t) which often ends up scuffing your footwear.
I wanted something lightweight and Waterproof with a Gore-Tex lining and at 720 grams these are both lightweight and Waterproof. The uppers are a mix of Suede and Cordura, the cuff area is soft around your ankle and extremely comfortable.
Straight out of the box I walked 10 miles the walk was from Leek Camping and Caravan Club site to the Roaches, using public footpaths. Some of the fields were boggy and muddy, I noticed that the tread didn’t fill with mud. Once the tread on the soles fill with mud, you lose traction and start to skate and slip on the mud. They also never let any water in, this is probably the most important thing to mention, dry feet are happy feet.
The sizing is true and allows for walking/hiking socks to be worn comfortably.
After nearly 5 miles will made it to the Roaches, first stop the tea rooms, for a spot of lunch and a some lubrication, the dogs also had a bite to eat and some water, it was a gloriously sunny day. We then walked up to the main entrance of the Roaches it was very busy, its quite beautiful and very popular with people that like to Boulder Climb.
I then tried the shoes out for grip and traction whilst climbing on the boulder area around the base of the Roaches before I found a shaded part and I climbed up the face of the Roaches to the top, follow by my camera man/husband. The dogs made it up before me, four legs bet two hands down. I felt confident in the shoes, they move well and drip well, they're also very comfortable.
We walked along the top of the Roches and made our way down, I spotted some litter so I put it in my bag, Carl found quite a lot he put it in a nearby bin. We decided on a different route back and off went, upon our return to the Campsite I had not one blister, pretty good for new shoes.
I wore the shoes for the weekend at the Bushcraft Show, which was sponsored by Hanwag. The next walking outing was in the Yorkshire Dales, we went waterfall hunting which always requires a grippy pair of shoes. I like to get near to the fall so the surfaces are often wet and you need to be confident of your footing. The Makra Low didn't fail the paths to the Valley of Desolation were very boggy and the climb up and down was like you'd except for somewhere that had rain for quite so time.
However the shoes didn't fail me, I managed to get some great photos from some brilliant angles and managed to stay up right. All good.
I recommend these shoes, I really love that the soles replaced, they look good and work well on many terrains. They're also comfortable, just what I need, especially because I cannot wear boots, I can trust them on a scramble at height and I can also wear them to hike in, which will be great for my hillwalking in Skye soon.