Having been a wearer of Nike Air Jordan trainers and Caterpillar boots for many, many years, I have become accustomed to a certain level of comfort and style in my footwear.
I guess the only disappointing thing I have had to contend with in recent years is - footwear really doesn't last as long as it used to!! My first pair of metal toe capped Cat's lasted me 10 years and I wore them a lot. My first pair of Nike's lasted me a good 7/8 years too.
These days, all I expect to get out of a pair of Cats is 12/18 months (with daily use) and I have found them less reliant when the heavens open.
Having joined Outback's office team and having my first experience of interacting with customers mad about Meindl, I made the decision to try my first pair of walking shoes, so I could really experience what all the fuss was about.
On the basis that I do walk a lot and enjoy walking along the coastal paths, beaches and woods around Cornwall, it made sense to try something new and my work colleague Aaron was keen for me to try the Meindl's first, although I did like the styling of brands like Merrell and Lowa (Lowa appearing safe in style for Cat Lovers)
I tried both a boot and a couple of shoes, but the Meindl Philadelphia felt 'different' on my feet and as I walked around the shop, my feet felt supported in a way that had never been supported before. Aaron, enthusiastic as ever, talked me through how the shoe was designed to work with the natural arch of my foot, allowing a more natural movement in my feet and legs.
As a newbie, I took his word for that and although they were not comfortable immediately, Aaron assured me they would feel more comfortable within a week (they felt comfortable on my feet within 4 days)
What really pushed me over the edge was the fact the shoe was light, made from Gore-Tex (which I know is quality material) and waterproof - fully waterproof shoes!!
As of today, I have been wearing the shoes for 3 months and I wear them everyday, which includes:
- 1-2 mile walks every day
- Weekly woodland / coastal walks over rock, wet grass, wet woodland slopes, through wet mud and muddy puddles.
I wear them in all weathers and tested them during Storm Brian - completely exposed to torrential rain and am glad to report that they are truly waterproof!
The wear on the tread is barely visible, as I guess you would expect after 3 months, but other footwear I have purchased in recent years generally shows some wear and tear, especially if I am wearing them every day.
For now, I am very pleased with the purchase and will update this post again in the future, especially if anything of interest comes to light. For now, here a list of what I like most about the shoes, along with some issues that you might need to consider before purchasing yourself.
- Easy to clean for nubuck leather (please be aware that it's important to let the shoe dry naturally away from heat if they are excessively wet or muddy on the outside, before cleaning)
- Casual and versatile for daily use
- Appear very durable (so far)
- Fair wear guarantee which is based on usage of product, rather than when you purchased them
- They are not cheap to buy!
- The laces tend to loosen a little, on average, once a day
- You won't want to really immerse these shoes in the worst of conditions (like deep wet mud or running streams) just in case
- As Gore-Tex is breathable, you will need to wear these shoes with a winter / woolly sock in the winter, as your feet will feel the cold
- They are not 'bullet proof' and I am expecting to give them some TLC to prolong life / usage
- They won't go with a pin striped suit!
That's it for now and I hope you have found this review useful in your search for a new pair of walking shoes.
Remember, it's always advisable to try on walking shoes in-store for both fit and comfort - especially on high quality £100+ footwear.
Good luck on your research!