Buying Walking Boots

At this time of year, you may be thinking of replacing your walking boots. It is important to get it right as they are a substantial investment and if you get it wrong, you will experience the misery of walking all day in the wrong footwear. The boots you choose must be comfortable, supportive and suitable for the activity.

  • Consider which type of boot will best suit your activity. There are basically 3 types of boot. Those for lightweight walking on easy terrain, backpacking on medium terrain and mountaineering. The tougher the terrain, the heavier, less flexible, but more supportive and more durable they will be.
  • No matter how good the boot is, if the fit is bad the boots will not do the task they were designed for.
  • Try on boots in the afternoon when your feet are warmer and have swollen.
  • Wear the socks you would normally wear for walking.
  •  Ensure the fit is snug around the ankle but leaves ample room for you to move your toes and curl them. You should be able to get your finger down the back of the heel.
  • A boot which is too small will cause blisters and make the feet feel colder. A boot which is too big can be adjusted by wearing a thicker sock or insole.
  • Try on both boots and walk around in the shop as one foot is often larger than the other.
  • Try to walk on an incline, such as stairs or a boot ramp. Make sure your foot does not slide when going down an incline.
  • The way you lace a boot can affect the fit. Look for features such as ‘D’ rings and hooks which help you fasten them with cold hands.
  • Break-in new boots by starting with short walks.
  • Socks are often over-looked but are very important. Invest in a good pair suitable for the activity you choose and make sure they fit well. Wear fast-drying socks or natural fibres to reduce the chance of blisters.
  •  On long trips take a spare pair of socks and if your feet get wet, change into a dry pair as soon as possible.
  • After care – boots do not tolerate direct heat. If they get wet, it is better to take out the insoles to dry and stuff your boots with newspaper.

Look after your boots and feet and they will look after you.