Fairfax & Favor Imperial Explorer waterproof boots: review

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  • Fairfax & Favor Imperial Explorer waterproof boots


    • Fit:
    • Performance:
    • Style:
    • Value for money:


    • Super warm and comfortable
    • Totally waterproof
    • Flattering and well styled
    • Well constructed


    • Inner sole moves and folds

    Price as reviewed:


    Our reviewer adored these stylish but hardy boots

    A long weekend in Germany in February is a tough test for even the hardiest of boots.

    Foolishly, I packed no other shoes to take a tour round the country visiting studs and standing on freezing ground looking at stallions and youngstock and mares and more stallions. Wearing shoes or boots for the first time is frequently a painful experience; they rub here, they pinch there.

    Not these boots.


    Having already tried and been impressed with Fairfax & Favor’s heeled Regina boots (read the review here), I knew they’d be quality boots.

    We test a lot of yard boots at Horse & Hound but no others have caused quite the stir that these did when I opened the box.

    The smell of them was overwhelming; that inimitable smell of top quality leather brought my colleagues over to sniff the box and we all agreed: these boots smell fantastic.

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    I was pleasantly surprised by the look of them too; yard boots are often clunky affairs with wide calves which ruck up round the ankle and drop by a few inches, eventually resembling a crumpled sock sagging round the ankles.

    This pair are an attractive pale fawn brown (oak) with a slight peachy finish. A bit lighter than in the photos on the Fairfax & Favor website. They’re completely waterproof; there is a membrane inside which means water can’t penetrate through the zip, which is so often the weak point of this style of boot.

    The front part – all the way from the toe to the strip below the knee – is made of a single piece of leather, meaning a really smooth, elegant finish without bulky seams.

    The zip means that they can be shaped for a close fit around the ankle yet still easy to get on.

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    What these boots achieve is a really stylish shape but a super practical boot. The sole is chunky without being lumpy and my feet never got cold – as they have in previous years on these sort of trips. The tread is grippy and I can walk on icy ground without fear of slipping.

    You can also submerge your foot into puddles and not end up with a wet patch all along the zip.

    The foot shape is elegant and not in any way clumpy. This is a boot combining total practicality and functionality with excellent design and finish.

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    My only criticism is that the inner liner underneath the foot can slip about a bit, so you have to make sure it’s positioned correctly when you first put your foot in. It also folds up when you take the boots off, so I made sure I reached back in and flattened it out straight away so that it learned to stay flat.

    My stupidity in not bringing a second pair of shoes to Germany went unpunished and my feet and legs were pain-free and comfort-full for the duration.

    Yes, these boots are very expensive, but if you’re looking for the complete package, look no further.


    Yes, these boots are very expensive, but if you're looking for the complete package, look no further

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