Choosing & Looking after Footwear

Choosing and maintaining well high quality footwear is essential for any budding walker or hiker-with the right footwear, one’s feet can be kept dry, warm and comfortable in all but the most severe weather and terrain. Boots need to be tough, well-fitting and reliable-the risk of twisted or broken ankles goes up considerably when fell-walking or traversing rugged or mountainous terrain.

So, how to pick a boot that’ll do its job? The cut and height of a boot is important-typically, the higher the cut the more protection it will offer, although a higher cut may need to be broken in more.  What it’s constructed of is an important consideration, full grain leather will provide the most durability and assistance of boot materials although it isn’t particularly breathable.  Synthetics tend to be more breathable as well as more convenient and cheaper, although they won’t stand up to harsh conditions as well as the more traditional boot. Conditions might call for some specific extras as well, like support for crampons and waterproofing. (For example, through the use of Gore-Tex) Generally speaking ,modern boots are developed and made to deal with most conditions; just make sure you get yours from a good quality outdoor store that specialises in outdoors gear as some more fashion-orientated high street retailers may not stock properly durable and tough footwear for you.

Usually, the first thing to check once you’ve found a well-constructed boot is whether it fits you comfortably-what suits one individual very well may not suit you. It should fit the foot fairly snugly but not be too tight or cramped so as to induce blisters, and not so loose that they’ll rub against your heels whilst you’re moving.  When you’re trying boots out, one you think you’ve got a pair that’s comfortable spend several minutes walking around in it, paying attention to the fit, how smooth motion feels whilst walking in them, whether the sole is of an appropriate density to cushion the underside of your foot, and so on. Wearing correct socks is important as well; either a well-padded pair or a thin pair in conjunction with a thicker pair to provide cushioning.

Taking care of your boots is vital in order to ensure they keep doing their job-one of the most common maintenance tasks tends to be waterproofing, as the protective layering eventually wears down. Assuming that you have a waterproofing product appropriate to your boots, the process is quite simple-just clean them, preferably with a specialised product and good quality brush, then follow the instructions provided with the waterproofing product. Try to clean the boots on a regular basis, using a soft toothbrush and water to deal with the hard-to reach areas. Don’t forget to take the stones out of the soles, as well. If boots get wet, leaving them out in the sun may potentially do them more harm than good; the adhesive used to stick the sole to the boot may weaken otherwise. Lastly, laces-tying them up correctly will reduce the chances of damage, and help the boots to keep their shape as well.

There are plenty of good quality boots on the market; if you’re looking for a UK-based brand you can look into Regatta Walking boots Sales to find what you need.

About the author: Michael Vosen is an amateur freelance writer who writes on various aspects of the outdoors.


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