If you’re looking for a versatile boot that can be worn to the pub, in the office and for low-level trail hikes, such as in parks or forestry areas, the Garrisons are a good choice.
- Eco credentials
- Good grip
- Too fashionable
- Limited larger sizes
Timberland Garrison Trail Hiker: first impressions
The Timberland Garrison Trail Hiker is a lightweight hiking boot suitable for a mix of city streets and low-level country trails. It strikes a precarious balance between ‘fashion’ and ‘practical’.
The brand has worked hard to include many eco-friendly details, such as Timber-Dry, which is a waterproof membrane made with 50% PET (recycled plastic bottles); REBOTL fabric made with at least 50% recycled plastic; and TimberGrip made with 50% bio-based content, including 3% resins derived from paper pulp waste and 47% natural rubber. (See also: the best eco-friendly outdoor brands.)
Where there are leather details on the mostly fabric boot, these are created with at least 50% leather tanned in a facility rated ‘silver’ or higher by a third–party environmental audit by the Leather Working Group.
The boots feature a plain base color, such as black or dark green, with brighter and lighter colored details, such as pink laces and soles or a blue base and turquoise trims. As such, they look at lot funkier (more fashionable/High Street) – than usual hiking boots.
Further features include a fully gusseted tongue; protective toe bumper and heel piece made from climbing rubber; and compression molded EVA foam midsole for cushioning.
• RRP: £135 (UK)
• Gender specificity: Female (male version available for £145)
• Sizes: UK3.5 to 8
• Weight (per boot): 369g / 13oz
• Materials: Fabric and leather upper; rubber soles (all with eco credentials)
• Colors: Black / Dark Green / Blue
Timberland Garrison Trail Hiker: on the trail
Timberland is not a brand I would usually consider when it comes to the best women’s hiking boots. I associate them with more of a fashion boot – although, admittedly, still a mostly practical fashion boot. In addition, when the boots arrived I thought they looked a little too fancy and fussy to be good for muddy walking.
But when I put them on, laced them up and set out for a walk, I found that they felt really comfortable. Unfortunately, the largest female size is a UK8 and I would prefer a UK8.5 but they were fine with thinner socks and the general cushioning in the sole, insole and uppers mean the boots are slipper-comfy. I have a narrow foot and the toe-box is quite wide but it didn’t affect the fit for me when hiking on easy-going trails.
The list of eco credentials is also good to read. It’s important to check what brands are telling you about their green features to make sure they stand up and these are fully verified. Timberland do appear to be taking the environmental impact of clothing and footwear seriously although it’s important to balance this with the thought that we should all be buying less and making do with more of what we have if we want to reduce the impact of manufacture.
While the boots look like fashion footwear, they are a lot more practical when out and about on tarmac and trails. They are easy to walk in and the waterproof liner kept my feet dry, even when deliberately walking through puddles, streams and mud. It is not a Gore-Tex liner but Timberland’s own technology so I am not sure what the durability of the waterproofing will be.
The ankle and tongue area are padded and this adds to the overall sense of luxurious comfort. I felt like there is a bit too much padding here but I don’t suppose it really matters. The boots also kept my feet warm.
The grip is good on tarmac, trails and even wet rocks. The boots a very easy to like and my only concern was that I would make them look dirty. This is not normally something I worry about!
I think the looks will be a bit like Marmite – you’ll either love them or hate them. I ended up giving my pair a quick wash after my hike, to clean them up. I should really do this for all my boots but I have not felt so compelled to do so before, so I guess that’s a good sign that I like them. And if you’re thinking, “I don’t want to pay that much for something I’m going to be worried scuffing!” check out the best cheap hiking boots for women for alternatives.
Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.
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