French brand Millet’s first foray into the world of outdoor gear was in the 1930s when it began making rigid frame rucksacks. Today, it’s best known for its technical mountaineering equipment and clothing. For this review we have the Switch Low GTX, a lightweight hiking shoe with a synthetic upper and a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane to keep the water out.
As you would expect from a shoe of this price, the Switch Low uses top-quality components. As well as the Gore-Tex lining you get a brilliant Vibram Alpine LTK sole, performing well on rocks as well as on muddy trails.
The Switch Low offers a good compromise between comfort and support. The midsole provides good lateral stability to support the foot on uneven terrain, and the heel cup does a great job of keeping the foot in place. A rubber rand covers the toe cap, protecting the upper from bumps and scrapes, and there’s further abrasion resistant material around the heel. But while it’s sometimes easy to forget about comfort in favour of support, that’s not the case here. The shoe is comfortable straight out of the box and while there isn’t loads of padding around the ankle and cuff, the upper offers comfort in abundance.
The heel feels a bit chunkier on the Switch Lows than it does on the other shoes in this test, partially thanks to the thick, comfortable and supportive memory-shape insole, but also down to the overall thickness of the sole. This provides good comfort and shock absorption when walking, but the added height might be unbalancing if you’re going to be carrying a heavy load.
All in all the Switch Low GTX shoes are brilliant for times when you’re moving fast and light. If you’re carrying a heavy pack then they’re not going to offer as much stability as you might want, but that’s why you wear boots
In a line: Excellent, fully-featured, well made shoes
Value for money: 8