|Footwear in the great outdoors.|
Before you begin your walk, it’s important to complete your tick list of equipment and essentials. A lightweight waterproof, breathable walking socks, base layers / mid layers and outer layers, walking sticks and walking gloves, a lightweight and comfortable-to-carry rucksack, hat or headgear, food and ample water, or a first aid kit; these are all vital elements of a hiker’s inventory. And we certainly can’t forget – one of the most important pieces of outdoor gear – the right walking boots.
When fell walking or hill walking, the perfect walking boots should be durable and hardwearing, and most vitally, comfortable for all-day wear. Protecting your feet is extremely important for any outdoor sport as painful injuries such as inflammation of the Plantar Fasciae or Achilles Tendinopathy can occur at any time.
Read on to see a quick guide on buying footwear for the hills.
Summer and Winter Boots
For many all year round walkers, it’s not uncommon to own several pairs of boots to accommodate the seasons. Winter boots are designed with extra rigidness on the outer shell making them comfortable with the addition of crampons. Summer boots are likely to have a more lightweight feel, giving you weightless comfort as you walk. Be sure to look for boots which have moisture-wicking properties and breathability to help keep your feet free from sweat when the weather gets warm.
For a guide on choosing summer boots, click here. Or for advice on selecting winter boots, click here.
Waterproof or Water Resistant
Many people make the incorrect assumption that ‘water resistant’ means that it will keep you dry in wet weather. But water resistance and waterproof are two very different things. Water resistant footwear is suitable for damp conditions including snow or light rainfall. But anything more than just drizzle and you will need to make sure you get a 100% waterproof boot.
Different Types of Leather
When shopping for a walking boot, it’s important to understand the differences between full grain leather, Nubuck leather, reversed full grain leather, and split leather. For instance, full grain leather is more water resistant than Nubuck leather yet Nubuck leather is visually more appealing and has a high-shine look to it.
Choosing the Right Brand of Shoe
There are a vast range of different outdoor wear brands available today. Some of the best names in outdoor and walking footwear include Regatta, North Face, Scarpa, Berghaus (view Berghaus at E Outdoor’s website), Altberg, Meindl, Mammut, Zamberlan, Salomon, Brasher, Hi-Tec and Karrimor. If you’re unsure about walking boot brands, visit Which Magazine for some top tips on choosing the right footwear brand for you.