A walking boot that's been developed in collaboration with the mountain guides at the Alpine Ski School in Innsbruck should be a fairly serious affair considering these guys are on the hills day-in-day-out and demand a lot out of their footwear.
Initial impressions suggest that this is going to be a super stiff boot, maybe a little too stiff for anything other than mountaineering, but there's no point assessing outdoors gear on your desk so we got out on the trails to give them a thorough run down.
Fit in the Wilderness Texapore Mid is snug which suits me perfectly. It's narrow across the midfoot opening into a roomy toe box and unusually for pretty much any walking footwear it has a narrow heel cup which holds the foot firmly in place, not allowing even a hint of heel slip so you're highly unlikely to get blisters in that area.
For the first mile or so it feels like you're walking on planks but give the Wilderness Mid a chance and it soon loosens up, not just around the ankle but also along the sole to reveal a structurally sound but reasonably compliant walking platform. Hiking up slopes littered with loose rocks we were impressed by the lateral stability but not at the expense of foot feel, this makes navigating tricky mountainous terrain all that much easier. Despite being a mid, the ankle rises to a lofty height and contours well around the ankle area as well as doing a great job of holding everything in place. The two lace locking points at the top of the boot give you plenty of options for different lacing methods depending on your preference and just like the rest of the boot the tongue contours and locks the foot in tightly. There's light cushioning in the ankle and tongue - just enough for good comfort without leading to sloppiness and the footbed and mid sole have the same kind of precision feel.
We found grip levels from the Vibram Wolf Trek Prime sole to be very good across the test period. Being high summer we were lucky enough to be walking in dry weather throughout so we're talking about loose dusty material here rather than clumps of wet mud, but there's nothing to suggest that the Wilderness mid won't perform just as well across the winter months. The lugs are deep and have the kind of spacing that provides a good balance between grip and mud shedding. Climbing smooth rock faces is easy thanks to the front 'Rock Zone' - a closely packed semi-circle of super sticky rubber. There's a light traction zone across the mid-foot and the marketing material suggests that these boots can cope with the odd walk along the mighty iron ladders (Via Ferrata) which adds an element of versatility.
The sole unit feels quite lively, a relatively flat heel strike leads into a prominent roll off the forefoot and there's some spring in the step helping to reduce fatigue on long walks. Build quality seems excellent with durable features like a full wrap rubber rand that extends high up the toe and heel areas and thick suede and fabric upper construction. Overall this feels like a bombproof boot that's built to last.
We were surprised by the Wilderness Taxapore mid, having been underwhelmed by Jack Wolfskin walking boots in the past we weren't expecting much but were pleasantly surprised to find a highly capable, comfortable and durable walking and trekking boot that's been built for purpose. If you walk gentle paths or take the odd Sunday stroll then you would be better off with something lighter and softer all round but if you're looking for a serious 3-4 season walking boot then the Wilderness Texapore Mid provides a compelling argument.