Selecting the right pair of walking boots can seem daunting, as there’s so much choice. From getting the correct fit to the best materials, this guide will help you choose which walking boots will suit you best.
Walking boots are made for a specific environment, the characteristics of the boot – such as the stiffness of the sole or the height of the ankle – designed to match the terrain and the conditions they’ll be facing. So think about where you’ll be going. If you’re tracing well-trodden unchallenging ground, opt for a lightweight boot with flexibility, as your foot will be able to move naturally, which is more comfortable on long treks.
On the other hand, if you’re negotiating uneven, or very steep ground you want a rigid boot with good ankle support. Stiffer soles give you a more stable platform, a higher cut boot acting like scaffolding, supporting your ankles.
Of course, you don’t know exactly where you’ll be walking, and most walkers will be exploring somewhere between these two extremes. But the further you’re likely to wander from even, flat land, the sturdier and more supportive your boots should be.
As with all shoes, it’s vital to get the correct fit. Fitting however isn’t just about the length of your feet but the shape, from the width of your heel all the way to the flexibility of your toes.
Take advantage of a free instore boot fitting service, where you will be accurately measured by a trained member of staff, who will be able to guide you to the boot you need.
However, the main things to remember are the terrain you’ll be traversing and that the boot fits.
Worried about wet feet? A lot of people are – and there aren’t many things more unpleasant than waterlogged feet. In fact, most modern boots are lined with a waterproof membrane, which will reduce this.
However, to avoid damp feet, you need to let moisture out as well as in, so ideally are looking for breathable fabrics.This is where GORE-TEX comes into its own, as one of the most effective breathable fabrics.
You can also use a gaiter, which is a waterproof cuff that fits over the top of your boot and fastens around the lower leg, to prevent water (and also small stones) getting into your boots.
Finally, should you go for leather or synthetic boots? In the world of the smart shoe, leather’s the only game in town obviously, but with recent advantages in technology, synthetics have become excellent materials for walking boots, being lighter than leather and taking less time to break in.
So there you have it – everything you need to know when choosing a walking boot.