Meindl Comfort Fit Boots and Trento GTX Review

Dec 9, 2018 | Hiking, Reviews

I’ve decided to make this review slightly different and sort of a “two in one”. I’m going to start off by talking about the Meindl Comfort Fit boots in general, what they are and why they are beneficial, and then I’ll give you a review of the exact Comfort Fit boots I have been using for the last few months.

Let’s get started!

A Bit About Meindl

Meindl was founded in Germany way back in 1683 (yes really) by a guy called Petrus Meindl. Apparently, he was the first shoemaker in his town of Kirchanschoring and that is where he started his legacy. The fact that you’re reading this post means you no doubt know they are now one of the largest producers of hiking boots and general footwear in the world.

Meindl specialises in boots for outdoors activities such as hiking and walking but they have also supplied the footwear for the British Military in Afghanistan and Iraq. There’s also a selection of other leathers such as bags and coats.

They are unique in that they pride themselves on each piece of footwear having an ‘identity’. This is described as the Meindl Identity. They then go on to say they are the first shoemakers in the world that offer total transparency through the whole production process.

Meindl trentos front view

The production process is broken down into five steps which are as follows:

  1. It all starts with the cows. The cows used by Meindl live happy and free lives grazing in the fields of Bavaria and Austria.
  2. The Meindl farmers work in accordance with biological principles and they ensure transport times and routes are kept to a minimum – this being more environmentally friendly.
  3. Then to the tannery. They use chrome-free leather lining and again claim to be very environmentally friendly.
  4. The production process in its factories located around Europe.
  5. And finally the end result. This is your finely crafted piece of footwear. They also give every piece of footwear a different ID number allowing you to find out a bit about the history of that specific shoe/boot and where the leather came from.

Clicking here and scrolling down allows you to enter your boot ID number and find out more about your model.

It’s worth taking a look on the Meindl Identity website (you can click English in the top right-hand corner) because they give you a lot more detailed information about the production process, where the shoes came from, stores close to you and a whole lot more.

Meindl Comfort Fit

Now this is the bit I’ve been wanting to get to. Meindl’s Comfort Fit set of boots has really changed my hiking experience in the last year or so. Allow me to break it down:

 

What Is Comfort Fit?


Comfort Fit is a range of footwear produced by Meindl. They sell both boots and shoes in this range so it’s not just for hikers but they can be purchased for casual day wear.

What is special about Comfort Fit is that they are made to be wide fitting. They have a much more spacious toe box than other shoes or boot. This spacious toe box comes accompanied with a locking heel and cork footbed providing great support for your arch.

You may well be asking “Okay but what’s so special about that?!”

First and foremost, they are extremely comfortable. Second, they are amazing if you have particularly wide feed…

 

How They Have Helped Me


They have been nothing short of a revelation. I was having visualisations of me never being able to hike again, doomed to the couch for forever more.

Okay, not quite, but I’m forever grateful to the Tiso cashier who recommended them to me.

My previous hiking boots were the relatively narrow Salewa Mid GTX Mountain Trainer. While they have a number of qualities, being wide-foot friendly wasn’t one of them so a change was needed.

After trying several pairs with lots of different brands, I was on my 3rd or 4th visit to Tiso when one of the assistants decided to measure my foot width.

Turns out they are almost off the scale….

My foot arch has almost completely collapsed so toes tend to splay a lot. This means the little toe was rubbing on every pair I tried on.

The guy said most in-store options are out of the question. That’s when he gave me his top recommendation: Meindl’s Comfort Fit Range.

Revelation.

Since buying my Trentos (see review below) I’ve not experienced any blisters and my hiking has been rejuvenated to its old joyous self. There’s nothing worse than hiking with a pair of boots that don’t properly fit. It’s a disaster waiting to happen and is why it’s absolutely worth the time and effort to find the right size and fit for you.

Top Tip: If you find your feet too wide for several of the normal shelf boots then get your feet measured, it can save you wasting more of your time.

I spent literally hours trying on different pairs in different shops so learnt the hard way!

 

How They Can Help You


How can investing in a pair of Comfort Fit boots or shoes be beneficial for you?

Building on what I said in the previous section; if you are wide footed, or just have very large feet in general, then they provide a great option and a potential solution to those blister-ridden walks.

The wide toe box provides your wide feet with ample space to move about in. Excessive movement is prevented by a locking heel in the footbed ensuring a snug fit at the back.

The specially designed cork footbed provides decent arch support keeping your foot in its natural shape. I still replace it with a Superfeet Green Insole because I feel they provide even better arch support.

Top Tip: For Comfort Fit, consider buying (or at least trying) half a size smaller than what you get with your normal shoes. I went with my normal size and, while they still fit fine, I could easily fit a smaller size and I occasionally feel like there’s a bit too much movement at the front.

 

What Types Are There?


The best place to find the complete selection is on Meindl’s own website. This link takes you to the Comfort Fit range and you can choose more filters to suit you and your preferences.

There are dozens to choose from and they range from casual footwear to solid hiking boots.

The prices tend to vary all over the place and they do fluctuate from time to time. The two pairs of boots below have either an EVA shock absorber or Meindl multi-grip on the outsole (or both) which I think are really essential for hiking rugged terrains. They are my chosen hiking boots from the Comfort Fit Range.

Other models look rugged at first glance but you’ll see the “Footbed” description just has “cork and fleece”; this isn’t ideal for mountain climbing and you really want to go for ones with shock absorbing outsoles. Below are links to some of the ones I think are best for serious hikers.

 

Meindl Antelao GTX

Click here for the women’s version.

 

 

Meindl Bernina 2

Click here for the women’s version.

Amazon would only let me include a link for the women’s’ pairs which is why there’s no image!

The third and best pair can be read about in the review below!

Meindl Trento GTX Review

The pair of boots I ended up getting from the Comfort Fit range was the Meindl Trento GTX. Here I’ll give you an in-depth review of them based entirely on my experience of the last several months. I average one long day hike up Scotland’s mountains every week or two so they have certainly covered several hundred miles up some of the country’s most arduous terrain.

Review Summary

Brand: Meindl (Comfort Fit Range)

Founder: Petrus Meindl in 1683

Best For: Those with wide feet who struggle to find comfortably fitting boots.

Price: Varies from source to source but between £190 – £230

Why they are awesome:

  • Wide toe box ensuring no toes chafing on the inside of the boots.
  • Nubuck leather upper ensuring rugged and strong material.
  • Great ankle and overall support.
  • Multi-Grip 3 Vibram outsole providing excellent shock absorption.
  • Cork footbed has arch support.
  • Lightweight at 1.3 kg per pair.

Appearance


In my opinion, they’ve got quite a neat look to them and I particularly like the mahogany colour. This is, of course, a matter of taste but I’d be surprised if you thought this was an ugly boot. There are plenty worse out there!

side on shot of meindl trento

I especially like the slick finish to the Vibram outsole, it gives the boots the real look of a rugged mountain blasting machine.

 

Fit & Comfort


Absolutely one of the perks and probably the main reason I went for the Trento boots. As described above, I was experiencing discomfort in every pair I tried and these proved to be the saviours. They provide ample space for toe wiggling but a snug heel fit ensures your foot stays locked in place.

Important: As I mentioned before, with the Comfort Fit range I’d definitely recommend trying out half a size smaller than your normal size.

The reason I say this is because I’ve experienced a few times on mountain descents that my foot has very slightly had a tendency to slide forward. I’d say there’s probably a quarter an inch too much space for my liking at the front of the boot. Of course, I remedied this with a different lacing technique and (sometimes) using sock liners, but to be safe I’d go for half a size smaller than normal.

I find the ankle support to be very comfortable and there’s plenty of cushioning keeping your ankles warm and well padded.

My first hike with these was Ben Macdui & Cairn Gorm Mountain in Scotland’s Cairngorm mountain range – by no means a short hike – and I was very pleasantly surprised by how little breaking in they required. They immediately moulded to my feet and felt like I’d been wearing them for weeks.

upper view of trentos

Protection & Breathability


The Nubuck and fabric upper give the boots a robust and extremely tough outer shell. I’ve hiked over some of Scotland’s rockiest terrain and they have more than stood up to the test. In fact, I’m surprised by how little the Nubuck gets marked or scratched by anything.

The almost inevitable Gore-Tex layer gives them that essential waterproofness and breathability. This combined with the Nubuck exterior has meant not a single droplet has passed through to my foot. I’ve taken them through numerous bogs and swamps where I’ve been up to the ankle in water and my feet always remain bone dry.

For the first few hikes, the water would just roll off the Nubuck in beads. The past couple of months it has started to soak into the material but this has by no means reduced its waterproofness. It was just a signal to start applying proofing spray (check) – something you should always do after excessive wear.

While Gore-Tex is highly breathable, it’s worth mentioning that when your boots do get wet, this breathability is rendered pretty much useless. I’ve found during the hot summer hikes (not common in Scotland) when the boots have got wet that my feet end up baking hot.

Support & Flexibility


The ankle padding also provides a firm support which, when laced properly, keeps the foot locked in place and well protected. Actually, I can barely even feel the boot around my ankle.

The Multi-Grip 3 Vibram outsole gives them a sturdy footbed offering excellent shock absorbing properties. I find it takes a heavy impact for me to feel anything and this is especially useful on rocky and hard ground.

Something that has annoyed me about the boots is the length of the laces. They are extremely long and, even if I over-enthusiastically lace up my boots, they still end up dangling all over the place. Tucking them in is fine but that can be uncomfortable at times.

Through tough terrain, they have adequate stiffness to deal with rocky slopes and side-hill waking. They also keep their shape when descending steep slopes giving you a rigid hold on the ground. The toe flexes sufficiently while hiking up, giving you complete control.

both trentos together

Traction


Like the vast majority of Meindl boots, the traction is nothing short of excellent. The lugs are thick but spaced out enough so that dirt and stones don’t get stuck in the outsole.

I’ve taken the Trentos in all sorts of terrains and I’ve not come across any weakness in terms of grip and traction. They stick well onto slimy, wet rocks as well as loose and sandy terrain. I’ve had countless incidences where I’ve had to rely on the traction to get me down some steep hillsides and they haven’t failed me yet. The thick sole gives them plenty of time to wear down so I’ve got a feeling there are hundreds of miles left in these.

The ultimate test will be the snow/ice in the coming winter, I will update this post when I try them out. Saying that, it’s never a good idea to solely rely on a boot’s traction in icy conditions – crampons are always ideal.

meindl trento grips

Durability


Meindl are renowned for their robust and rigid hiking boots and the Trentos are no different. I’ve had them for over 6 months and 200 miles of hikes and, once cleaned, the boots honestly look untouched. I can’t believe how tough the Nubuck exterior is and how well it guards against marks and scratches.

As already mentioned, the boots are rigid enough for the steepest of descents but have just a soft enough flex for those tough hikes. There are two sets of metal eyelets meaning you have great control over the boot tightness – ideal for loosening off as your feet swell up (naturally) on a long hike.

One potential flaw on my pair is that one of the eyelets keeps bending upwards – this can get annoying if I want it especially tight. I’m not sure if this is the same for all pairs or just mine getting looser over time.

The boots’ dual density shock absorbing midsole is completely solid and well bound together. The stitching is very firm and so far nothing has come undone nor loose. Again, I can’t believe how new the boots still look. Granted I clean and proof them after every long hike but I normally find boots tend to crease and get a “wear and tear” look after a couple of hundred miles – not the Trentos.

view of trento material

Summary of Pros & Cons


Pros:

  • Ideal for those with wide feet.
  • Comfortable with a snug heel fit.
  • Solid Nubuck exterior offering great protection.
  • Robust design.
  • Reliable grip in all terrains.
  • They look great.
  • Sufficient flexibility and stiffness for varying terrains.

 

Cons:

  • Laces a bit too long for my liking.
  • Eyelets have a tendency to bend.
  • You may have to get half a size smaller than your normal size.
  • Not exactly a budget pair of boots (but you definitely get what you pay for!).

To Conclude


So there you have it.

I hope this guide and review has given you a better understanding of Meindl’s excellent Comfort Fit range. They have changed my hiking experience and made it a much more comfortable one.

Let’s be honest, if your boots aren’t comfortable then all other spec goes out the window. Comfort comes first as far as I’m concerned and these really do fit the bill.

The Meindl Trento GTX are the ones I went for and so far they have been worth every pound of the £200 I spent on them. I can see them being my boots of choice for the foreseeable future.

As always, thanks a lot for reading and please feel free to ask any questions/let me know what you think in the comments box below. 🙂
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2 Comments

  1. Hi – thanks for sharing this useful review. My boyfriend has wide feet and struggles to find boots that are both comfortable and hard wearing. These look as though they might fit the bill, although they are a bit pricey. Having said that, you get what you pay for, and he has ended up throwing away some cheaper boots that weren’t up to the job. We are heading up to the area around Hadrian’s Wall in the new year, so we will check these boots out beforehand. All the best, Diane

    Reply
    • Thanks very much for your comment!

      Comfort Fit is an excellent solution for anyone with wide feet – they changed my hiking experience and the best thing is that they still offer fantastic and robust hiking boots. And you are right, with this sort of thing especially you do get what you pay for. I’ve bought some cheap boots in the past as well but they never last that long.

      Reply

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