Haglöfs Grym Review

The Gryms were a dilemma for me when they came in for test: “boots“. Oh-oh.
Picking them up lessened the dread as they felt light, but only using them would tell me the full story. I’ve mentioned these a couple of times in the passing, but I’m now used to them, they’ve bedded in and I know where I am with them. Not where I expected to be.

I know Haglöfs have them down as a trekking boot, but Swedish trekking seems to translate into non-technical UK winter walking and the rough end of general mountain use. These are foot armour, but to think just that alone is a little misleading.
For a start they’re a lot more comfortable than they look, the upper has a flex not unlike thick leather, so the boot moves with you, and the memory-foam padded ankle cuff allows an unexpected amount of free ankle movement. The ankle and tongue are padded enough for the laces not to be felt on my foot, and any flex points were also pressure-free, that was a real worry for me after so long out of boots.
This balance continues with crampon use, enough padding and flex for me to wear strap-on Grivel AirTechs (with flex-bar), but a strong enough outer fabric and toe and heel construction for me to have a full day in crampons without any issues with pressure from straps or bruising.

The sole also hits a middle ground of sorts, stiff enough to be a winter/scrambling boot but with a nicely placed flex at the toe for the walk-in and out. This actually got better with use too, these did “break-in”. The Gryms have taken my foot shape as have the SOLE footbeds, and trail walking is now issue free, I’d never take them on a long trail, but a long walk-in to a peak is fine for me now. Out-of-the-box, this didn’t look likely and my feet were rebelling a few months back!
The Vibram outsole is a cracker, small square-edged blocks that bite into most stuff and have been giving reliable grip, only losing traction on some really steep wet stuff. It feels like a soft compound, but wear hasn’t been high, so again that “balance” thing seems to come in. Underfoot cushioning isn’t overly high, so you’re not completely divorced from the terrian which I like, so the clumpy appearance again doesn’t fit with what I found.

One interesting thing was that the Superfabric doesn’t hold moisture, so the boots don’t freeze so badly sitting in the tent porch, tying the frozen laces was like trying to knot two welding rods together, but the boot itself was a nice change from frosty leather. And talking of the laces, the lace fittings still run smooth without any cleaning since the Gryms arrived,
The other point about Superfabric, is that although there’s crease lines on it now as it’s worn to my shape, there’s no damage or scuffing, even from crampon use.
This brings to mind a pair of my old boots, Karrimor K2 Kevlars from the mid-90’s. They were more obviously winter-specific, but there is a lot of similarity to the concept, especially in the use of materials technology and the goal of strength at low weight. The Kevlar outer looks as good now as it did 15 years ago, after many years of hard use, I wonder if the Gryms are going to follow suit?

The fit is quite high volume, the SOLE footbed helps there, and my thicker winter socks too, so fit is fine for me. I did miss trail-shoe freedom at times, but I also found the security in some situations very welcome. I was pleased that I didn’t have to sacrifice flexibility to wear proper crampons, and that sums up what I feel about these boots, they’re standing in a kung-fu type pose in a patch of rocky versatility.
The Gryms badass appearance does relate well to the performance, but not to how I perceived them in use, you shouldn’t feel intimidated by the looks or the hi-tec pedigree.
Already light for what they are, once they’re worn-in a little, they’re unexpectedly comfortable and reliable, well-made mountain boots.
The best thing thing for me? They allowed me to stay lightweight and still climb winter hills like I was in “regular” gear. Magic.

Product Information

  • Weight: 1660g for my size 43 pair including Sole Footbeds
  • UK Price: £235
  • Fabric: Upper SuperFabric, Smartlite rand/ Liner Gore-Tex
  • Sole: Vibram Four Season
  • SOLE footbed included
  • Made in: Romania
  • Hi-ankle version also available

38 thoughts on “Haglöfs Grym Review

  1. I’m glad you started putting the price in your posts now, it lets me know what stuff to ignore completely.

    They do look quite nice though…

  2. I’m always sceptical, should I stop there or continue ;o) but, I’m at a total loss by Haglofs pricing this year.

  3. I love Haglofs stuff and look forward to seeing it in TKMax in the near future….

  4. I find boots are the trickiest item to extrapolate-out from box to real use, especially if shelling out that kind of money.

    Are those plastic eyelets for the laces? My boots have them too – I was sceptical at first but they’ve been hassle-free over winter/spring 2 seasons now. I find bindings fit nice and snug to the boot with these. I haven’t whacked or scuffed one as yet mind so still there’s a question about durability.

  5. Now, I originally wrote this review a couple of days ago and I included a big spiel about the price, but after a wander around the boot bit of the Tiso GOE with Bobinson yesterday I’ve edited it.
    For why? Scarpa Manta’s at £220? I think that’s having a laugh, then we’ve got more Grym-comparible models in technology heading up to and over £300, and the most direct comparison is the Vasque M-Possible with Superfabric at £240.
    So my conclusion is that while the Grym is an undeniably expensive boot, it’s probably not expensive for what it is in context with what else is out there.
    That’s why I brought my old K2 boots up, they were £250 in 1996 (I got mine half price at the Accrington factory shop…).

    I know it’s frustrating when the good kit is expensive, but I can’t say anything other than the truth of what I find when I test stuff, and the Grym is a cracker.

  6. Gable, the eyelets are metal apart from the reb ones which have “something else” in there that’s very low-friction.

    The point about footwear being hard to get right is so true, I’ve wasted so much money in my life on mountain footwear.
    I think that same thing happens to many folk, and that’s part of the frustration with the pricing as can be such a gamble.

  7. Pete i had the old Karrimor K2’s as well but along with some other kit got em nicked from my car boot ages ago. Good kit and glad to see they are still going. That old factory shop (about 10 mins from me) had some tremendous bargains. The good old days eh, if only Haglofs open one :0). A lot of kit seems to have sneaked up quite a bit of late. A good job i don’t need owt at the moment, but you never know.

  8. See, my one boot for all seasons is a good idea after-all! Cheaper.
    Seriously though, prices have gone up. My wee Scarpa boots I got for £150 over a year ago are now sitting at somewhere between £170-£185!! My rucksack appears to have gone up to £80 too (according to the new Cotswolds book that dropped through my door a few weeks ago).
    It’s good that there’s a choice out there for all different wage packets and it’s good to read all the useful info on here before you buy.
    :o)

  9. Coops, I’ll get mine out of the loft for another retro post at some point!
    The factory shop was great, I had all sorts of stuff out of there over the years as well.

    Like you and Ange say, prices are up, but I think it’s across the board. I was looking at an OMM Villain at £115 as well yesterday, and I can’t even bring myself to remembner the Hilleberg prices…

    I think maybe one thing will come of the financial rollercoaster in relation to gear, we’ll make more informed purchses less pftem, less impulse-buying mistakes and that’ll make the manufcatureres fight for our pennies by design and possibly even price when production gets moved to India from China.

    Ange, that last point is a good one, it might not be that obvious, but I try to get some cheaper stuff to test as well as top-end, hence the Haglofs Foss versus the LIM Ozone and the Montane Meteor versus the Halo and things like the TNF mids which are more budget oriented.
    If I did like-for-like testing that stuff would be more obvious.

  10. Aye very true. When i first visited here i was like me in a sweetie shop! i want that , i want this, ooh i’ll have one of them too but in reality there’s only a few things i’ve actually purchased and that’s been my choice (funnily enough it’s been a few Haglofs bits & PHD – which turns out is probably a few of the more expensive pieces). But i do love reading about it all. I like to see who’ll be the first to get one and try it in the field – so to speak. It’s better to be informed before you buy too and then you can decide on fit and price on your own. I would have probably bought a few more sh*te bits than i already have if I didn’t read here.

    Btw I’m still on the look-out for a Haglofs Jute women’s shirt. Anyone know any stockists?

  11. The mentallist checked affair? The fabric they use is great, I’ll be using the shirt I’ve got again this summer.

    Get the purple…

  12. I was looking for the blue/red check one but only ‘bracken’ or ‘flash lilac'(!) in stock – booo! But wait… only one in my size in flash lilac… ach, oops… wait… ‘added to basket’… ‘your order is complete’. How did that happen!!

  13. I forgot to put the country of manufacture in the review, it’s now fixed. It’s Romania, so they’re European made.

  14. You make a good point about the price probably being competitive, but it’s still well beyond my means. Still, wait long enough and get them on sale for half that…

    It’s no wonder everyone is wearing trail shoes now, it’s cheaper…

    Footwear, is one of those tricky ones, get it wrong and it’s very expensive. Which can make buying online a gamble, but then how many local stockists actually have quality kit? Therein lies the rub…

  15. I agree with Vorlich. Boots and even shoes are like my glasses. I hate buying them because they are expensive and you are stuck with them for years when you take the plunge.

    Haglofs stuff always looks fantastic but beyond my budget really. I was just up in the Pentlands – fantastic conditions (http://tinyurl.com/y8fhbg3) – innov8 trail shoes, seal skinz socks and gaiters did great.

  16. That’s another thing I found when I was in the Tiso boot room. I’d really struggle to spend some money in there without it being risky, costly and a compromise.
    I’ve done it many times in the past and now with Holly here, rising bills, variable self-emplyment income etc it just isn’t an option.

    I’m reading Tom Weir;s Highland Dyas just now and he’s cutting about as a teenager in the 30’s in a collarless shirt and breeks with a wool blanket to sleep in under a rock.
    So do we need “stuff”? Other than a map and compass, probably not, it’s all just improvements in comfort by degrees. But Tom does tell tales of folk dying from being poorly equipped and clothed, not something you hear these days. So we are better off these days whatever we’re wearing, budget decides just how much so.

    Anyway, it’s the views, the scenery and the joy of being out there that lights that grin up, never the logos :o)

  17. I picked up a pair of Haglof boots off e-bay about a year and a half ago (for £15!) and have to agree that they are good boots. Very comfy and I’ve never had a blister from them yet.
    They also have the ‘square’ vibram sole but I have found that they let me down a bit on wet grass and smooth stone when I was in the Lakes, I had a couple of slips where others with a more ‘traditional’ grip held firm.

  18. That was a bargain right enough!

    It’s good when you get footwear that’s issue free from a wearing persepective, I’ll take a good fit over grip everytime. Salomon XA’s were long my favourite trail shoes and were gripless in many situations, but I never had a single issue with my feet in them.

    I agree with the wet grass thing, that’s where I found the weak spot and had a few skiing moments of the descent.

  19. If you think about gear now and compare it to what mountaineers/walkers of years back used are we all pampered wimps. The kit they used (still available today but not considered outdoorsy)was probably the best they could find then. With all the modern stuff, choices and technical fabrics we should never moan and could make do with far less gear and of different materials. But as my old Army mates used to say anyone can be uncomfy.

  20. Aye, it is an easy life, but quite a nice one :o)

    Talking of such things, I’ll need to update on that Ventile smock.

  21. A very good review, thank you.

    I’d imagine the build quality is such that they’d be the only pair you’ll need for a good few winters.

    All this talk of Karrimor and it’s shop has reminded me that I attended a ‘rave’ inside the factory itself, in, I think 1990 (could have been 91′, though :))

  22. A rave in the Karrimor factory? Flashing lights, pounding bass, everybody wearing purple… :o)

    I hope they do last, I’ll wear them out of choice for winter days from now on, some stuff gets reviewed and retired, but not these.

  23. I’m interested with the fact that they were a dilemma for you and that now they’ve bedded in you like them.

    I used to moan and complain about my winter boots but this year (specifically on the Snow Hole trip) I’ve changed my mind and decided to stop bitching about them. I’m sure the “bedding in” has had something to do with it though as thaey’ve only been worn a handfull of times previously but have been on a lot this year. I’m speaking of my Scarpa Manta’s . I’ve been jumping between the Manta’s and Keen’s all winter and my feet have been very happy.

    I really am looking forward to skipping over the hills in my red gutties again though

  24. I think they just looked like alpine foot stranglers when I saw them.
    The pain of years past, compeeds, athletic tape… It all came back.
    Like I say a lot, one of the great things about kit testing is being proved wrong as well as right.

    But once the snow goes, it’s back to mids and trail shoes, and much lighter overnight packs :o)

  25. Nah, you love your Manta’s all you like. No footwear facism here.

    Remember, I’ve got an update on a LaSportiva proper alpine boot coming up…

  26. I bought a pair of LaSportive Nepal’s in the sales and used them straight out of the box yesterday for a bit of Winter Climbing on Bidean. Magic! no blisters, hot spots, nothing. Only change I made was the addition of some Montrail Enduro insoles, as the one included were like After Eight’s. They look superbly well made as well.

  27. What a cracking day you had for it too!

    Glad you had happy feet, it’s the one thing that can cause the most misery if you get it wrong. Good job.

  28. Aye it was a beautiful day up there, no wind in the coire, and atmospheric tendrils of mist. A belter. Really enjoying my first winter climbing season. Picked a good year to start!

  29. You certainly did, although some of the avalanche debris I saw on the Ben and in Glen Coe in February was not for the faint hearted.

  30. This winter reminds of when I was still making designs on climbing many years back, great conditions right up ’til easter.
    The good old days are back :o)

  31. By the looks of them these look like they’ll take the Grivel New Matic crampons, but I couldn’t find out if these are B1 or B2 rated. Any idea?

  32. Haglofs haven’t rated them Alastair, so that probably puts them at an “official” B0 rating, but I’ve had bendier B2 rated boots so I’ve got no issues with crampons on them. You have to use fully strapped bindings, like the New Classic that Grivel use (on the Airtech Lite’s above) as there’s nowhere for a heel clip to go.
    Haglofs should adjust their description of the Grym, it’s great lightweight winter boot. Well, if it fits of course!

  33. Thanks for this great review, the Grym seem to be what I’ve been looking for.
    I was wondering, how waterproof are they? Can you stand in a puddle with water up to your ankles?
    Thanks again.

  34. Yeah, waterproof almost to the top of the boot. They’ve stayed waterproof as well, usually the Gore-Tex membrane will give up and let water in, but these boots have stayed reliable.
    There’s a high version as well if you wanted to guarantee dry feet!

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