Fun fact: I lived in Vancouver my entire life and never owned a pair of hiking boots. Trail runners, yes. But it wasn’t until moving to England last year that I finally made the investment in a proper pair of boots. And who better to look to than the sporty and elegant Duchess of Cambridge for some outdoor shoe inspiration?
We walk and hike a lot, but the English countryside is not kind to runners/sneakers (or, as they’re called here, trainers). Trails of any kind get far too wet and muddy with the frequent rain. Even when trails and fields are dry, let’s not forget what various farm and forest animals contribute to making country estates so green… And while wellies are waterproof and sturdy, they aren’t supportive enough for long country walks and hikes in the Peak District, at a National Trust estate, or elsewhere. It turns out, walking/hiking boots are a must.
It was time to navigate UK countryside trails in comfort and practical style. So, about three weeks and several treks into being out of quarantine, I broke down and googled ‘Kate Middleton hiking boots’. I had to start somewhere and if I’m going to look to anyone for at least the aesthetic of what I’m looking for, it’s her.
Duchess-inspired hiking boots
There are so many blogs and magazine articles dedicated to the Duchess of Cambridge’s wardrobe choices, so this was a quick search. She has two go-to options: a suede pair from See by Chloe and the Berghaus Supalite II GTX. After further research, I ordered the latter from UK retailer Cotswold Outdoor.
At £400(!), the Chloes were way out of my budget and suede is not practical or easy to clean. But the Berghaus boots ticked all the boxes: friendlier price (£155*), gorgeous leather, waterproof, not too clunky or heavy, great colour, and a Vibram sole (if you know, you know).
*This is about $250 CAD. Yes, that’s still a lot of money — but I’ve never been one to buy “cheap” shoes. The #GetThrifty is that these boots will last me a long time. Cost per wear is always something I factor in with shoes, and a bonus about living over here is that the VAT tax is always included in prices. (No surprises!)
After about 15-20 wears, this is my review: These boots are super comfortable, fully waterproof, sturdy yet lightweight, and give (for me) good arch and ankle support. They’ve been a worthy investment. Though I genuinely thought I’d made a big purchase error the first time I wore them — I got the worst blisters on both my Achilles. Thankfully, it was a one-off, break-them-in situation, and a reminder to wear bandaids with new shoes, and a clear call to get better and thicker socks. Like these merino wool options.
You can take the girl out of the city…
It’s the city girl in me, but despite the purpose of the hiking boots, I was initially doing my best to keep them pristine while out and about. (Yes, I was a fairly fastidious child, and yes I know hiking isn’t a “clean” activity.) But that’s obviously hard to do when trekking across muddy terrain without tiptoeing along — which is ridiculous.
I got over it pretty quickly and just make sure to wipe them down with a damp cloth after every outing. My hiking boots are going to get a mud mask, no matter what. Like on our recent trek up to the gorgeous Three Shires Head waterfalls, pictured above. It had been raining the day before, and the hike up to this stunning viewpoint was full of mud and puddles.
But HRH wouldn’t care about a little mud, so why should I?