When Roger Bannister ran the first-ever sub-four-minute mile, it was with the help of pace-maker Chris Brasher, who later made his name as an Olympic gold medallist in the 3,000 metre steeplechase.
Many years later, the man who played such a crucial part in athletic history changed running shoes for outdoor footwear, and became an unlikely champion for walkers and hikers everywhere.
Brasher’s poorly-fitting boots on a walk through Wales had caused such dreadful blisters he decided he could do a better job himself. He bandaged up his feet, continued his trek in an old pair of trainers, and vowed on the spot to come up with a design for his own perfect walking boot in the future.
Enter the classic Brasher Hillmaster, where the cushioned comfort of ordinary trainers came together for the first time with the technical specifications of purpose-made walking footwear.
One of the Great British Boot Makers
Since their founder’s early prototype in the 1970s, Brasher have been hailed as one of the greatest British boot makers of all time, renowned for bringing comfort to generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Their range of footwear is specifically aimed at those tackling the trails, footpaths, hills, and mountains.
Along with the current, updated edition of the much-respected Brasher Hillwalker GTX, new styles available for 2012 include the Fellmaster – built to cope with the most demanding terrain – the Traveller GTX, and the Patroller GTX Boot which conversely is actually a low-cut walking shoe.
Their original Brasher Hillmaster GTX is still the best-selling walking boot in Britain.
- For those too young to remember Chris Brasher as an athlete extraordinaire, he is also known as one of those responsible for bringing the marathon to the streets of London. He co-founded the event in the 1980s – and to date a total of 882,946 runners have completed the course.
- Chris Brasher CBE was a respected journalist and sports editor of The Observer newspaper, a broadcasting reporter for the BBC’s Tonight programme, and one of the pioneers of orienteering in Britain.
He laid claim to the first public mention of the fledgling sport in a piece for The Observer in 1957, in which he wrote:
“I have just taken part, for the first time, in one of the best sports in the world.
It is hard to know what to call it. The Norwegians call it ‘orientation’…”
He died in 2003.
Brasher – pronounced Braisher – walking and hiking footwear can be found at Gear-Zone, where Nicki Williams works as copywriter.