These boots will be out of their depth in the very harshest weather, but if you want a boot that offers a superb weight-to-performance ratio for winter days when the forecast isn’t dreadful, these will be your go-to choice.
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Haglöfs L.I.M FH GTX Mid: first impressions
The Haglöfs L.I.M FH GTX Mids are good for for fast-paced, active winter activities. At just 381g each, they’re incredibly lightweight for winter hiking boots and a joy to have on your feet. Yet despite barely nudging the dial on the scales, they’re well specced and ready for winter adventures.
• List price: $170 (US) / £160 (UK)
• Weight (per boot): 381g / 13.5oz
• Insulation: N/A
• Colors: Black / Nordic Blue
• Compatibility: Mid-level trails in milder winter conditions
There’s a Gore-Tex lining, reinforced fabric uppers, a thick foam midsole and padded ankles for extra support, but they’re not insulated, so if you’re standing around in sub-zero conditions your feet will soon start to chill. Active winter activities are what these boots excel at. They’re in their element on a brisk hike up a mountain or through a forest.
Excellent breathability and plenty of flex mean they remain comfortable after a long day on the trail. The sole’s 4mm lugs offer plenty of grip on wet or slippery surfaces but aren’t quite rugged enough to deal with the kind of deep mud Scotland’s mountains all too frequently offer in winter.
Haglöfs L.I.M FH GTX Mid: on the trails
Swedish company Haglöfs has been making high quality outdoor gear for more than a century. The L.I.M FH GTX Mid is a lightweight hiking boot that promises to outperform much heavier models.
My first excursion in these was a stretch of the Fife Coastal Path from Anstruther to Crail. The laces are looped in all the way up to the top – you don’t have to secure them around hooks before tying them - which makes putting them on a much speedier process. This meant the dog and I were out of the car and on the trail while my partner was still putting her Keens on. Of course, the only problem with this was that I was the one who had to bag up the dog poo…
Taking my first strides in the Haglöfs I was impressed by how little they weigh when compared to how robust they look and feel. I had to look down to assure myself I didn’t have a pair of trail running shoes on my feet.
The coastal path is usually easy walking but heavy rains meant there were some boggy sections. The soles have multidirectional treads designed to cope with a range of conditions and never once did they lose traction.
Emboldened, a few days later I headed to Highland Perthshire for a 12 mile loop up Deuchary Hill and around Loch Ordie. Even on a steep descent over the far side of the summit they clung firmly onto wet rock and loose gravel. Their low weight made me feel more nimble and gave me confidence when placing my feet on treacherous surfaces. On the waterlogged path beside the loch I waded through ankle-deep mud without anything untoward seeping in.
Darkness comes quickly in the Scottish winter and it was dusk when the dog and I made it back to the car. Normally it feels good to slip the hiking boots off and put on a pair of trainers. However, the Haglöfs were so light and breathable I didn’t feel the need to remove them and kept them on all the way home.
Jack McKeown is a Scottish journalist, hiker, skier, runner and beach volleyball player. Having walked many of Scotland’s long distance trails, last year saw him tackle his first ultramarathon. He lives in Dundee and in his spare time Jack and his golden retriever Bracken are often to be found exploring the mountains, forests, lochs and rivers of Highland Perthshire.