Choosing boots for outdoor activities like hiking, mountaineering, backpacking or camping, is not an easy decision.
The wrong ones can be a nuisance, leading to blisters or even worse, injuries. And this can ruin your trip that you were planning for weeks.
However, this becomes less of a problem with time, experience and of course reading our articles helps ;). At least we hope so!
We have written many articles on boots lately and today we will continue with another comparison between two German brands that make great boots, Hanwag and Meindl.
And with traditional German diligence and impeccable manufacturing processes, these two companies offer quality, performance and innovation.
So, let’s see which of them would be the better choice for your next pair of boots!
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A Short History of the Brand
With nearly a century of experience, Hanwag has always provided high-quality boots and has been focused on creating products that are sturdy and functional.
Based in Vierkirchen, near Munich, the company was founded in 1921 by Hans Wagner who started creating made-to-measure footwear and doing shoe repairs, while perfecting the double-stitching technique that Hanwag uses to this day.
In 1970, Hanwag presented the Haute Route, their first alpine touring skiing boots. Later they targeted bigger markets, those of trekking and paragliding.
Today, Hanwag still holds on to its core values and provides timeless designs, reliability, durability and innovation, with an eye on environmental responsibility.
The brand offers footwear for nearly all outdoor activities: hiking, camping, trekking, travel, mountaineering, etc.
They started producing in Europe and still continue to do so: all of Hanwag’s boots and shoes are made in Europe, in Germany, Hungary, Croatia, and Romania.
Materials and Manufacture
The material can make or break the boot. Some of the most important features you should look for are the structural strength and functionality.
Hanwag uses materials that are both breathable and robust.
Leather is one of the best materials to mould perfectly to the shape of your foot, resulting in a good fit.
Hanwag uses Chrome-free leather in some products, which is hypoallergenic and more “friendly” to the skin, resulting in a good choice for people with allergies.
Continuing with Bio Ceramic which is a thermo-regulating and odor-limiting lining fabric, while Eco-Shell is a waterproof, breathable membrane for winter footwear, 100% free from fluorocarbons which are harmful to the environment.
G-Loft® is another insulation material, a non-woven synthetic fibre that is lightweight, breathable, and similar to natural down.
Other technologies that bear mentioning are the Vibram® soles, and the Double Stitched technique that we mentioned above and that Hanwag has been using for over 90 years.
Now let’s take a look at two of Hanwag’s popular products, as we usually do in these comparisons. We will do the same later with Meindl.
Hanwag Men’s Tashi Boot
The Tashi boots are one of the best designs of Hanwag. They are made of yak leather, using the double-stitching technique.
They come as a one-piece construction with reduced seams, and with an outsole made of sturdy EVA rubber.
The boot offers good ankle support and safety, and we think it is a good option for any adventure fanatic.
Hanwag Alaska Lady GTX Boots
The Alaska Lady GTX boots are a very good option to use for trekking. They offer good stability, ankle support and comfort.
They come with Gore-Tex lining which makes them breathable and waterproof, and Vibram outsoles.
Just like Tashi, Alaska has reduced seams and a one-piece construction.
The prices of Hanwag range from $200 to $450-$500, which is quite expensive for many people. But in this case, we think you get what you pay for.
If you are an experienced hiker or a mountain adventurer who is looking for durability and functionality, we would consider paying a bit more for a brand that will offer those features.
Are Hanwag’s Boots and Shoes Worth the Price?
Hanwag boots are of premium quality and can survive different weather conditions while providing comfort and warmth. They are double-stitched, padded and use the best materials and technologies.
In our opinion, Hanwag’s boots are definitely worth the price, also considering that they will last for a long time.
A Short History of the Brand
Meindl is a very old name in the footwear industry, because it is mentioned in a document of 1683 where it is written that Petrus Meindl began making shoes in a small village in Germany, called Kirchanschöring.
It wasn’t until 1928 that, many generations later, Lukas Meindl formally founded the Meindl company as we know it today.
The excellent traditions of craftsmanship have always been alive throughout the generations of the Meindl’s family.
The company grew bigger and better thanks to Hannes and Alfons, the sons of Lukas Meindl, that later joined the family business.
Today, each pair of boots makes the most of the knowledge and tradition that this company has acquired over the years.
With the finest leather and highest quality materials used, Meindl stands out for the durability, fit and versatility of its products.
As they say on their website, they are one of the few footwear brands that still produce in Germany.
Don’t miss: Lowa vs Salomon Hiking Shoes: A Comparison
Materials and Manufacture
Meindl uses several technologies to ensure every boot is functional and versatile, and doesn’t compromise on quality and durability.
Their most commonly used fabrics are properly sourced leather and Gore-Tex.
Gore-Tex is a breathable, waterproof membrane that is widely used in outdoor gear as we have already seen in many of our articles. It works by preventing water from getting in but letting water vapor out.
For insulation and warmth they use PrimaLoft®, while for the outsoles they use Vibram® to make responsive boots that perform well on unpredictable terrain.
In addition, Meindl shoes are equipped with technologies that ensure comfort, safety, and a perfect fit. Some of these technologies which bear mentioning are the Air Revolution® technology for the tongue, and the Alpine Sole.
Let’s see two popular products by Meindl.
Meindl Bhutan MFS Boots
The Bhutan MFS is a comfortable boot that comes with the Memory Foam System (MFS). This means that the upper foam changes its shape to match the shape of the foot.
The main materials and technologies are: Gore-Tex for lining, Nubuck leather which is waxed, and Vibram for the outsoles.
Meindl Women’s Burma Pro MFS Boots
Just like the first pair by Meindl, the Burma Pro for women comes with the MFS system which makes the boot adaptable to the foot.
It is made of Sil-Nubuck leather, waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex membrane, and with a “Meindl Multigriff® by Vibram®” sole.
The Burma Pro boots offer good ankle support and are a great option for long hikes.
On average, Meindl’s pricing is slightly more affordable than Hanwag’s.
It ranges from around $150 to $350, with many good designs being on the lower side. We think this is a very reasonable price for a pair of boots by a high-end brand.
Are Meindl’s Boots and Shoes Worth the Price?
The short answer is yes, they are. They are quality boots, long-lasting and very functional.
We believe they are a good investment if you are an outdoor enthusiast who goes hiking and camping several times a year.
3. Which Brand is Better?
We have to say it, it’s never easy to pick a winner in these comparisons. That’s because, in most of our articles, we tend to put against each other high-quality brands with similar characteristics who compete very closely in the outdoor gear market.
In this case we absolutely love both brands, but we have to pick one, that’s why we are here!
Hanwag has higher prices but they offer a wider range of designs and footwear for many different activities.
On the other hand, Meindl has slightly lower prices, and offers a more limited collection.
So, this time we would choose Hanwag. Despite their high prices, we feel their shoes are more reliable (our opinion) and we like their style and designs more.
But, for activities such as hiking, camping or backpacking, there really isn’t a big difference between the two brands, apart from the price. So, choose the design you like most and you are ready for the outdoors.
Only, in specific cases where maybe you have particular needs, or are looking for a particular design that adapts well to your foot shape, you may have to do additional research and try a few models until you find the right one.
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That’s all for today’s comparison! What about you? Which brand would you choose?
Let us know in the comments below.