The Karrimor KSB Trek-Lite II Teasmade

My foot in shoe form.

 

It’s quite obvious that my genes developed something significantly different to the average foot,  evolution endowing me with a pair of size 9’s that blister at the very thought of footwear.

Currently in search of the Holy Grail of trekking boots, I’ve recently been trying a pair of Karrimor KSB Trek-Lite II Event. Advertised as waterproof (no sniggering at the back please), I can summarize my experience of these boots by saying simply that they display all the water resistant properties of a tea bag.  

Karrimor KSB Trek-Lite II Event

Karrimor KSB Trek-Lite II Event

Now I can hear all you seasoned professionals out there wailing at me for having so much hope in the faded glory that was Karrimor. But in my defence I’m not label proud if something fits and doesn’t require a fork lift to move it, and I’ve found only four boot brands over the years that actually fit my odd feet. Cost has been no yardstick, those four being Meindl, Lowa, Hi-Tec and Karrrimor.

Indeed I backpacked LEJOG in 1985 in a pair of Hi-Tec Trail. And the most comfortable pair of boots I ever owned ? A pair of Karrimor KSB 3 back in the late 80’S.

I imagine boots manufacturers each having a foot last locked away in a vault somewhere around which every boot they develop is modelled. And in the case of Karrimor it’s probably one that was whittled meticulously out of a single piece of lignum vitae by an old cobbler in Mordor…perhaps using Marco Polo as the foot model. Who ever the model was, he was quite obviously a distant relative of mine because Karrimor boots just fit me like a glove and have never given me so much as a single blister.

My foot in shoe form.

My foot in shoe form.

So it’s with some sadness that I have to report that trying this pair of KSB’s was like being reunited with a dearly loved and long lost relative, only to find that they’ve squandered the family silver.

Now I’m not going to review these boots here, I lack the required technical skills and vocabulary. Safe to say that they have been used for the last four weekends on walks of about 15 miles each, and on every occasion they have not so much as wetted out as positively welcomed water in with open arms. I swear if I look and listen closely I can see beads of water rising up the boot and being mercilessly sucked in. Indeed on my last walk over Ickonshaw moor my feet became so sore from the soaking that I had to take solice in the Wuthering Heights Inn for a pint of Farmers Blonde.

They also have another potentially hazardous trait discovered while descending a cobbled lane whistling the Hovis advert. The sole appears to have been coated with something with all the stickyness of Teflon. My elbow taking the full brunt of a very undignified butt landing.

Designed by Karrimor, specified by Vibram, manufactured by Teflon !

Designed by Karrimor, specified by Vibram, manufactured by Teflon !

The final disappointment however was in my near failure to obtain a refund from either the on-line retailer or Karrimor, who both appeared to try and neatly sidestep the thorny issue of customer satisfaction.

Karrimor, who I can only presume have taken the lead from white goods manufacturers, actually require you to register your guarantee for it to be effective. Come on Sports Direct, this it a pair of boots not a Teasmade.

The on-line retailer eventually offered a full refund after I employed my best ‘I am astonished’ complaining voice, and advised that Advertising Standards may have an entirely different view of the term ‘Waterproof’.

I am certain that somewhere amongst the vast Karrimor array of footwear is one that is, perhaps quite accidentally, brilliant. And I am determined to find them to please my feet.  In the meantime a plea to Sports Direct. You have in your procession a once iconic brand of footwear that caress my feet like a gentle babbling brook; could you please let the designers go that last mile and ensure that they don’t wet my feet in the same fashion.

If not, any chance of buying that foot last ?

5 thoughts on “The Karrimor KSB Trek-Lite II Teasmade

  1. Post Script : One year one from slipping on a cobbled lane in these boots, and I’m still suffering with a damaged elbow. First a fracture and then a trapped ulna nerve.

  2. I started hiking in the 80s and I remember Karrimor as being the go to brand along with Berghaus. I had a Jaguar pack made in the UK (still have it but it needs to go as badly worn out.)

    The funny thing is though that the last three pairs of boots I have had have been Karrimor KSB 200s, a Berghaus pair and until recently KSB 300s. The Berghaus boots were not serious equipment and rapidly fell apart but both the KSBs were very well made and lasted well. The 200s though suffered from the teflon effect to the point they were dangerous. My view is that the density of vibram means it needs an aggressive set of lugs to work. The KSB 300s were excellent though. The most comfortable pair of boots I have owned.

    • I still may return to the KSB’S and try them again due to the fit and longevity. I’ve been using Salomon X Ultra Mids over the last year which are superbly comfortable, but the foot beds were wrecked after 300 miles and the uppers have warn through after only 500 miles. I know they’re a fabric boot, but over 30 years ago I got all 1350 miles of LEJOG out of a single pair of Hi tech Trail.

      • My current pair are Ecco Ulterras. They seem good so far on a couple of short walks but too early to really judge. I also have a pair of Inov8 runners which are comfortable but I have yet to build the confidence to use them with a pack. The trailrunner craze interests me though. When I was a teenager/early 20s I always used to think to myself as I was hiking – Why am I suffering with these ridiculous heavy boots? Why don’t I just wear trainers?

        That Trekkertent looks like the shelter I have been waiting for. They are not taking orders though. Hopefully a temporary situation.

      • The Trekkertent is great if you are OK with limited space, though of course you could opt for the 1.5 or 2.0 version and use it for one person if you want more room. I found it a great little tent, but in my established middle age I found having a front entrance didn’t quite bring back the nostalgic feeling I once had for the old sloping ridge style tents I used to use in my youth. I found it somewhat awkward to pack a rucksack on a rainy morning, or to wipe condensation from the inside of the fly while it was pitched. After using it for several trips across 18 months I sold it on to somebody who was looking for something small and compact. A great tent, but in the end not for me. The Tarptent Notch remains my go-to tent for most trips.

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