Tested: Kathmandu Tiber ngx hiking boots
It’s a chilly, early spring morning in Kosciuszko National Park and my feet are buried in snow beside the Thredbo River.
It had dumped the night before (well, by Aussie standards) and today’s stunning sunrise sky is punctuated by pink remnant clouds. The river is filling with spring melt – rushing over low boulders and around browned-off reeds – and its low roar is the only sound I can hear in the otherwise silent snowy wonderland. I’ve been standing in the white stuff for a good five minutes now, taking it all in, and you’d think my feet would have turned to ice by now, or at the very least, felt a tinge of the Jack Frosts. But no.
I’d picked up my Tiber Women’s ngx Leather Hiking Boots a couple of weeks before my trip to the Snowys and had broken them in on the rock and dirt trails around Sydney – think Great North Walk and the Blue Mountains – but according to my reckoning, to really test their mettle I needed more challenging conditions. Spring alpine trekking, with its mix of snow, sludge and slippery surfaces, seemed about right.
Stepping out of the snowdrift I head south along a single track lined with gnarled snow gums, their ghostly white branches seeming all the more stark thanks to the colour-drenched sky. I’m so busy taking in their beauty that I take no notice of my feet and step straight into a slushy ice puddle, up to my ankle. It’s a good thang then that these boots are 2.4mm thick full-grain leather high-tops – not a lick of moisture seeps into the shoe. If it did, however, the boot liner features ngx technology, which uses a layered construction; bonding a water-repellent shell fabric to a waterproof, breathable barrier. In warm weather it would wick any foot perspiration away (also a good thang).
Having rolled my ankle badly a month earlier I was thankful too for the full-height lacing hooks that mean I can strap my foot in with enough tension to hold it tight. The moulded tongue design helps keep it all in place too.
A few hundred metres later the track has me rock-hopping across the river – stretching from fitball-sized boulder to boulder, all covered in a slippery coating of ice. I’m careful of course, but the boot’s thick tread (Vibram soles) and wide contact area with the ground help me make easy work of it, while further on the flexible midsoles allow my foot to meld with the uneven terrain (a fallen tree, strewn branches and rocky track).
Throughout all of this the boot never fails. With its waterproof exterior and comfortably cushioned interior, it’s a sweet and stable ride.
RRP $340 www.kathmandu.com.au