I’m quick enough to complain about stuff when I’m not happy with it, so I thought I should redress the balance by praising a company for something good that happened last week.

I bought a pair of Scarpa boots in January 2006, after my previous pair of Asolo boots got ripped and started letting in serious amounts of water. The new boots were Scarpa ZeroG 10’s and fitted really well. I’ve only ever had one blister with them, during the C2C in 2006 and they’ve generally been a good boot. However over the last few weeks they’ve started to come apart on me. Some of the stitching has come loose, allowing water to leak in and the big rubber rand (its like a rubber bumper that runs around the side of the boot) that I like so much has started to come away from the leather, bringing part of the leather with it. Also, parts of the sole are breaking away, which makes me wonder how long they’ll still be useable even if I’m prepared to live with them leaking the way they are.

They’ve served me well so far, but at the end of the day, they’ve still only done about 800 miles or so and I’ve only had one real walking season out of them. Now for a boot that costs £140, I’m not impressed. However, the problem is I’ve had them 16 months, so you begin to wonder what sort of support you’re going to get from the retailer (Ellis Brigham) or the manufacturer themselves.

I emailed Scarpa and got no response for over a week – I wasn’t impressed, but I had other stuff going on that week, so forgot about it. A few days later I got an email, apologising profusely for not getting back to me sooner, and could I send the boots to them so they could inspect them. I asked how long they would have them, as they were the only boots I had and didn’t want to be without them now that the good walking weather had arrived. They said they would normally only need them for a week or two, so I boxed them up and paid the £7 to send them recorded delivery to Scarpa. This was on the Monday. I didn’t expect to see them for a couple of weeks, so was very surprised to get a parcel on Thursday with a brand new pair of ZG10’s. What a great response.

After walking in trail shoes for the past three weeks though, they now seem heavy and clunky, so I think they’ll be in the boot of the car until Winter comes around, or until the weather demands boots and gaiters.

I’m now looking for some very lightweight, fabric boots for summer walking, something a little higher in the heel than the trail shoes, which let in too many stones for my liking. I’m not sure I can go back to big heavy boots for the summer.

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