Walking Boots

The most important thing about boots is that they fit correctly.  The best way of finding the most suitable boots for you is to go to a recognised outdoor walking shop and talk to a trained advisor and try on various styles by different manufacturers.   Trainers will not do. 

When you purchase boots make sure you wear your chosen sock combination that you propose wearing with the boots.  Boots should be light and comfortable.  They need to give good ankle support and have flexible cleated rubber, Vibram type soles to help stop slipping. 

They should also have sewn-in tongues to help keep water out.  The sole should be thick enough, and the boot sufficiently well padded, to prevent stones being felt and to absorb the pounding which your feet will take. 

Traditional hill walking boots are made with one piece leather uppers.  These boots need breaking in slowly, and need waxing to waterproof.  Do not wear new boots on a venture before breaking them in by a number of short walks ( approx 5 x 4 mile walks should do the trick). 

Fabric boots make more use of synthetic materials and tend to be lighter, many use a breathable Gore-Tex lining.  It is recommended that this type of boot is also broken in by a number of short walks before being used for the first time on a venture. 

Borrowing boots which have been moulded to someone else's feet is borrowing trouble and will most probably lead to sore feet and blisters

With all types of boot it is important to look after them to help extend their life and give better performance.  So clean them as soon as you get home.  Remove the laces and inner soles, and scrub the upper and sole with a soft brush and plenty of warm water.  Wash the laces and inner soles separately and hang up to dry. 

Treat boots with a waterproofing treatment.  (Nikwax make a range of cleaning and waterproofers suitable for leather and fabric boots).  Pay special attention to reproofing the stitching on the uppers.  Leave boots to dry at room temperature.  To speed up the drying process, stuff newspaper into the toes to soak up some of the water.  Remove and replace the damp newspaper with dry when necessary.  Never leave your wet boots in front of a fire or radiator (or in hot sun) as this will dry them too quickly and may cause cracking of the leather and the peeling away of bonded soles due to excessive heat.