A proper walking boot fitting is one of the most important bits of prep for any adventure, and choosing the correct pair can really make or break your expedition. We would always recommend coming in-store and having one of our experts help you choose the correct ones. There are many different factors that can influence your final choice, and we are always ready to help with this. While it is always best to come into a store and have your boots fitted, here are some helpful pointers to consider when buying a pair of walking boots if that is not feasible.
Buying the correct size
Brand-to-brand, sizing can vary massively and this can prove a problem if you are buying your footwear online. We would always recommend trying your shoes on in person before purchasing them. You may not notice any discomfort when you initially try them on so you should attempt walking on an incline to imitate a hill walk. This can help to show any problems before leaving the store. Our experienced store staff will be able to advise on the best choice for you, and we also have the tools to best mimic incline walking.
How should they fit?
The rule of thumb when buying walking boots is that you should be able to fit a good finger width (1/2 inch) between the back of your leg and the shoe.
Your footwear should not slide at all and there should be a bit of wiggle room at the front of the shoe for your toes. You should also note that your feet will usually swell up later in the day, so this should be the time that you try on your footwear as it will be most representative of how your feet will feel while hiking.
Are there correct socks you should wear?
Absolutely, but first a key thing to note is that your usual pair of cotton socks just won’t do. You need to wear a breathable material that allows moisture to escape preventing friction between the shoe and the sock. Your socks won’t become soggy from perspiration and your feet can stay cool and blister free on your adventure. Shop our full range of hill walking socks here.
What kind of shoe do you need?
Obviously this will vary dependent on what you need the shoes for. This could be anything from walking the dog, to bagging Munros and you should always let the staff member fitting your walking boot know. If you are going to be walking long distances uphill, it is always useful to note that 100g on your foot can feel like 1 kilo on your back so buying lighter weight shoes would be a better choice to a heavier shoe. A breathable synthetic upper will help to keep feet dry but be sure to buy good quality footwear with good waterproofing technology, many brands use GORE-TEX or their own developed technologies for this. Leather uppers are very durable and provide natural waterproofing but are not as breathable as their synthetic counterparts.
Aftercare for a walking shoe
Aftercare is just as important as a walking boot fitting itself. If done properly they can last you on many an adventure and it is very simple to do. Upon return from an expedition, be sure to brush out all remaining dirt on the shoes. These small particles of dirt can wear down the materials in the upper, particularly in areas which undergo a lot of movement such as the toe box. It is also important to note that you should never wash your footwear in a washing machine as this can cause glues to become less adhesive and other damage. If you are cleaning your shoes please do so with a brush and some technical cleaning spray and let them dry naturally. Again, drying footwear in a tumble drier or on a radiator can cause glues to become less adhesive and cause irreparable damage.
If you have full grain leather boots, we would recommend that you reproof and condition these. This can simply be done by buying a conditioner and applying it to the shoe, ensuring to leave to completely dry before using again.