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We put the Hanwag Tatra GTX Narrow through its paces to test the construction and fit on the hill

hanwag tatra gtx narrow
Overall Score
Traditional good looks, bomb-proof build and a range of fit options
Provided footbed is wafer thin

Hanwag haven't tried to reinvent the wheel, they're simply very, very good at making wheels. Protection where it counts (a toe-bumper and Gore Tex lining), a beefy Vibram sole unit, and top-quality Nubuck leather combine to provide everything your feet need for demanding hikes - whether load carrying or not - on variable terrain. The real novelty is in having a choice of fit...

Most boot manufacturers will regale you with facts about how well their boots fit, and it's nonsense - your fit is almost entirely personal. Hanwag don't claim to tailor their boots to your feet, but they do make them much more likely to fit by offering the Tatra and others models in a variety of widths. They even cater for the ominous sounding 'Bunion' fit.

Regardless of how many bells and whistles come with your hiking boots, if they don't fit, they're fairly useless.

Browsing outdoor footwear is miserable for me, as I know 90 percent won't fit. Even Scarpa and La Sportiva boots are on the roomy side for me, so I tend to favour Salomon as particularly narrow. The chance to try some old-school leather hikers was exciting.

First impressions were that the fit wasn't as snug as Salomon, and already it was a concern. But in use on the hill there was no noticeable movement and after a week of use, no blisters. The heel is held without being squashed, and the wider toebox was quite a treat for someone who normally crams his toes in as tight as possible.

My first impression of the footbed however wasn't so good. Hanwag claims it is a 'memory insole' but at about 2mm thick, it didn't inspire confidence and I swapped it out immediately. Maybe I should have given it a chance, but as custom footbeds are so popular nowadays, it certainly isn't a deal breaker.

General performance is high on the Tatra - the construction seems beyond doubt, with great finishing detail, and the rockered Vibram sole encourages a natural-feeling stride. The lacing system - with clamping lace-hooks and mini ball-bearings for easy pull - must take some credit for holding the foot firmly in position.

In conclusion: Everything a classic hiking boot should be; comfortable, durable, well made, and most importantly, well fitting. Kudos to Hanwag for being one of very few manufacturers who can back up the normally questionable claim of offering everyone the perfect fit.

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