Rubbing Boots

Q. I'm fairly new to walking and so hope my question won't seem really stupid!

I have a nice new pair of boots. They do rub, but I'm guessing this is just a case of breaking them in some more.

The main problem is that the cutaway bit at the back of the boot (not sure what it's called) is quite high up my ankle. It causes a pain that feels a lot like bruising.

I can only assume that it's supposed to be lower and I'm guessing this is because the boots are bigger than my usual shoe size, as many people's are.

So, my question is;

Would a special pair of footbeds raise my heel sufficiently to eliminate the bruising pain I have above my ankle?

Or am I completely wrong?

Laura, West Midlands


A. I've owned (and tried on boots) which have caused me this problem.

The high cuff on boots can dig in especially uphill/downhill, & times of high ankle mobility, or cause pain from pressure after a while.

It may be your shape is incompatible with this particular boot i.e. that the cuff is too high for you, or just the wrong shape.

Some styles have a cutout at the back of the cuff - this does not always preclude the problem.

You can try not lacing the top hook, or lace more loosely - use a lace lock or twist laces before lacing top hooks to prevent lower laces becoming slack.

An insert to raise your heel may or may not solve the problem.

It's unlikely that the reason is that your boots are a size larger than your ordinary shoe size, as this is very common. Your walking boots require more space in them than your everyday footwear.

Now you know about it pay particular attention to your next purchase - can you point your toes without discomfort. Always try on several pairs of boots and go to a specialist, who should take the time to find you the right boot

Sarah Hill, Hemingbrough

See Rubbing Boots for more answers.


A. I had the same problem some years ago and i would put a 2" wide strip of bubble wrap around my ankle - worked a treat, also cured the problem completely within 6 months. Try it!

Roger Bunn, Chester


A. Your boots simply need to break-in. You are not accustomed to the higher cuff. Try tying off the laces a little lower than the top loops of the cuff until the material softens and you become accustomed to the new footwear.

As an important note, your hiking/walking boots should generally not be sized larger than your normal shoes unless you are wearing thick socks, and even then by only half a size at most. Your feet should not be fitting loosely in them at all, otherwise it will cause rubbing and blisters and not provide the support your feet need in this type of footwear. These types of boots should fit snuggly around the foot, but with enough room to wiggle the toes freely and without pinching.

Jason Allen, South Bingham


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