Put simply the Proof Eco refers to the brand's own flourocarbon-free, bluesign approved, membrane that's ubiquitous across the Haglofs Proof Eco range of products. Not satisfied with just an eco membrane, however, the upper comes from an audited tannery and the suede leather is treated with flourocarbon-free water-repellent coating.
What Haglofs say:
Welcome to modern hiking. This is a supportive and tough trekking shoe with a wide forefoot fit for extra comfort. Upper protection and AHAR+ rubber on outsole adds to the durability. It's completely fluorocarbon free, down to the waterproof PROOF™ ECO. A mid-cut silhouette adds stability and protection.
- Waterproof with fluorocarbon free PROOF™ ECO membrane
- GEL™ rearfoot cushioning offers excellent shock absorption for the ideal stride
- Moulded EVA midsole gives good cushioning and comfort
- Premium eco-friendly leather from a tannery audited by the Leather Working Group
- Fluorocarbon free DWR-treated surfaces help repel water & dirt
- Engineered patterned outsole provides high traction and stability
- AHAR™ Plus (ASICS® High Abrasion Resistance Rubber) on the outsole heel adds durability
- Suede reinforced toe and heel give increased protection and durability
- Tongue gusset prevents water and sand from entering the shoe
- Waterproof flex test: 100 000 steps
Haglofs Skuta Mid Proof Eco boots on test:
Sustainability is the future, and to be fair the outdoors industry is a leader in the overall clothing industry, but at the end of the day a boot has to perform. It doesn't matter what the sustainability credentials are if it falls apart or simply fails to do the job it's designed for. With this in mind we tested the Proof Eco in the same way as we would with any less eco-righteous offering.
As with any footwear, fit is the most important factor and the Skuta has fairly wide fit that's similar to Merrel, which fortunately meant a good fit. At a touch over 960gm for a pair of UK 8.5s the Skuta are on the light side of average for a 3 season boot but not ground-breakingly light. The other instant impression is that the angle of cut from the top of the tongue to the top of the heel is very pronounced.
On fitting, however, the cut angle turned out to be perfect with the ankle well supported and the front well protected. The two-zone lacing works extremely well and with a flexible sued upper it's hard to recall a better fitting, more comfortable, out of the box boot. It's actually reminiscent of Haglofs' renowned clothing fit, hugging the feet but not in an intrusive way - more like a pair of socks.
The sole is AHAR+ rubber, which to all but the gear geek will be meaningless. What it translates to in practise is a highly durable rubber with a very distinctive tread pattern featuring a mix of medium and deep lugs. In terms of grip we'd say it's not a boot for deep mud or the peat groughs of Kinder Scout but put the trail up Grindsbrook in front of the Skuta and it's in its element. Grip on wet rock is average but mix in loose gravel or chippings and it's a revalation. The combination of reasonably light weight and close fit give the skuta more precision in its placement and very stable feel despite being quite flexible.
The close fit and weight are complimented by the GEL rearfoot cushioning and a fit that holds the heel securely, with no lateral movement or slipping. As a result the overall feel is more of an approach shoe than a boot, but with the bonus of ankle support and protection higher up the foot to prevent grit or water getting in. The combination of the GEL cushioning and the EVA middsole give good cushioning straight out of the box, which is vital, as swapping out the insole for Superfeet (other brands are available) wouldn't be simple; the factory insole fits almost seamlessly inside the boot.
At the front of the Skuta the high abrasion resistant sole is perhaps a little smaller than it could be, particularly with a layer of suede above and around rather than a more substantial rand, but perhaps that's being a bit over-critical. Given the close fit of the boot and the resulting precision of foot placement available to date the rubber front protection has proved easily suffiecient.
Overall we like the Skuta for its fit and comfort straight from the box and it goes without saying, the build quality. They typify the modern materials that can give durability you wouldn't expect from the weight and appearance. At £120 they're very competitively priced for what is essentially a high end brand. Throw in the eco credentials and the Skuta becomes more attractive; and it's a real pleasure to see that this level of sustainability is achievable without any loss in performance or durability.
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