Footwear for walking and hiking
"Walking Boots should be like a good friend.
Supportive without being irritating"
In an ideal world, you would have different footwear to suit all the different terrains and conditions that you might encounter when hiking in the UK.
However, this could prove too expensive for most people. Therefore, your boots will have to perform in a range of circumstances. Inevitably, this involves some trade-off between hiking boots designed for winter, high level walking and footwear for less challenging, summer, low level walking.As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
When choosing a pair of boots ensure that:
- they are water proof
- the sole has a good tread and is made of a material that offers good adhesive properties - like rubber. PVC should be avoided.
- the sides of the boot are high enough to support your ankle.
- the toe and heel has additional strengthening to give extra protection.
- the insole and upper lining is padded to give firm but comfortable support to the whole foot.
- they have a scree cuff (a padded section that surrounds the top of the ankle) and padded tongue to prevent small stones, debris and water from getting into the boot.
- the boots have 'D' rings and/or hooks rather than eyelets (much easier to adjust with cold fingers). A 'locking' hook aids lacing.
Get your hiking boots from a specialist shop - and take your time over choosing and fitting. Either wear your own hiking socks or borrow some from the shop when trying boots.
Fitting should be snug but not overly tight (if boots are too tight, your feet are liable to get cold).
You should be able to wiggle your toes without your toes touching the front of the boot. To test this, try putting a finger down the back of the boot. This should push your toes forward so that they just touch the front of the boot.
General hill walking does not require a particularly stiff sole unless you are intending to attach crampons. However too much flexibility will not provide adequate protection to the feet.
Tell the shop's boot expert what kind of walking you are intending to do and they should be able to advise.
For more information about hiking boots and to obtain a downloadable hiking boots Gear Guide pdf, click here Gear Guides > Walking Boots