Gear guide: Walking boots

Holidaying at your static caravan or lodge is the perfect time to indulge in your favourite hobby or activity.

And in a recent poll, walking was the most popular holiday activity with more than a quarter of the votes and walking the dog came third.

Walking in the woods

Whether you’re a serious walker covering the mountains, hills and valleys, or just a regular dog walker you’re going to need a decent pair of walking boots that are designed to deal with the great British weather!

The old adage, you get what you pay for, rings true when it comes to walking boots, and if you’re prepared to spend a bit more then you should get years of wear out of them as well as support, comfort and that all important protection from the elements.

Top tips for buying walking boots

Speak to an expert or retailer that specialises in outdoor footwear

They are best placed to offer advice on what would be the best type of walking boot for your needs.

Go for fully waterproof rather than water-resistant

This will guarantee you’ll keep your feet dry. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway around a long walk with soggy feet!

Give your toes some room and make sure they’re the right fit

Make sure you’re wearing walking socks when trying on a pair of boots and that your toes aren’t pressing the front of the boot. Your foot should feel secure, with no heel-lift, but your toes should have some room for movement.

If you have particularly wide or narrow feet, then look for brands which have different designs to suit your feet. Similarly, if you have low arches then look for walking boots which provide extra support in this area. Also, remember that your feet will swell a little when walking so you’ll need a bit of wiggle room for those longer hikes.

Consider the weight of the walking boots

If you’re going to be doing some distance and tackling some tricky terrain, you’ll want a durable boot but nothing too heavy on the legs and your feet.

Decide if you want leather or fabric walking boots

Leather walking boots might be a bit bulkier and heavier than fabric walking boots, as well as take a bit of breaking in. But they look smarter, will mould to your feet over time and will stand the test of time. They’re often more durable and should last for miles and miles and miles but make sure you look after the leather and keep it well treated.

Carefully look at design features

Check things like where the boot is made – Europe is usually best for European wearers etc. Also, things like lacing styles and the cut or height of the boot on the ankle might impact which walking boot you buy.

Check the width

While the uppers of leather boots will soften a little with time, the midsole won’t. The upper should be holding your foot in place and the midsole should cradle your foot at the edges almost perfectly. If it feels too narrow or wide at the ball of the foot then consider a different option.

Consider your terrain

Where you walk has a huge bearing on what shoes are most suitable.

Anatom Q2 Classic mens hiking boot in woods

Try on walking boots on in the afternoon

A day in the hills causes your feet to expand slightly – particularly in hot weather, so trying on a pair of walking boots in the afternoon will give you a more realistic idea of how they’ll feel when out walking.

Wear your boots or shoes around the house before taking them on a walk

It’s crucial that you make sure your walking boots fit perfectly, so wearing them around the house first allows you to make sure you’ve made the right choice and gives you the opportunity to return them if they aren’t quite right.

Only wear one pair of socks

Wearing multiple pairs of socks will only heighten the risk of blisters as the material will rub against each other.

Here we take at four pairs of classic looking walking boots at a range of price points to suit your budget.

 

Star Player #1
Anatom Q2 Classic Men’s hiking boot

Anatom 2019 Q2 Classic walking boots

These Italian leather walking boots are not only very stylish to look at but were warm to wear, keeping our feet dry on wet and muddy ground, thanks to their Tri.aria membrane. The soft leather ankle cuffs and Hydrophobic lining makes the Anatom hiking boots extremely comfortable and yet light enough for a morning dog walk or a day on the moors or mountain. The grip from their chunky Vibram outsole, combined with Anatom’s Bioform Ultralite insole and heel cradle support system meant we could tackle many-a-terrain with confidence. Over muddy fields, rocky woodland outcrops and canal towpaths, our feet were always well supported and secure.

Well worth paying a few pounds more for a trusty walking boot that will keep your feet warm, dry and supported so you can stride out in comfort. We would expect these boots to last a good few years.

Key features:  Tria.aria waterproof and breathable membrane, locking eyelet lacing system, Anatom Bioform Ultralite footbed, nylon midsole, Vibram Grivola outsole.

Weighs: 1550g

Material: Italian 2.5mm full grain waterproof leather

Expect to pay: £145

Women’s alternative: Anatom Q2 Ultralight Hiking Boot

For more information visit: www.anatomfootwear.co.uk and for a chance to win a pair of Anatom Q2 Classic Men’s and Q2 Ultralight women’s hiking boot in our giveaway click here.

 

Star Player #2
Karrimor Skiddaw walking boot

Karrimor Skiddaw walking boot

If you’re trekking in the mountains or on the hills, you’ll want some sturdy walking boots. These reasonably priced boots from Karrimor are waterproof and breathable due to their Weathertite upper. Support for your ankle is provided with mid-cut cushioning and their Dynagrip sole unit looks sturdy enough to tackle a range of outdoor treks and adventures, with plenty of grip. A cushioned insole will help with comfort and these black, lace-up boots are available for women and children too.

Key features: Thick laces with metal eyelets, Phylon midsole, Dynagrip sole unit, aggressive grip pattern, reinforced heel and toe.

Material: Leather upper

Expect to pay: £99

For more information visit: www.karrimor.com

Star Player #3
Peter Storm Brecon walking boot

Peter Storm Brecon men's walking boot

Looking for a leather walking boot that won’t break the bank? This classic-looking boot has a durable full leather upper and boasts a waterproof bootie to keep your feet dry for miles and miles. The rubber outsole will provide good traction for town or trail and will look well at the park, on the hills or walking to the shops. The midsole is a moulded EVA to help with shock absorption and the lining is a breathable merry mesh textile. Available for men and women.

Key features: Waterproof, tough pigskin collar and tongue, rustproof brass lace hooks.

Material: Full leather upper

Expect to pay: £49.00

For more information visit: www.millets.co.uk

Over to you…

Got any tips on buying or looking after walking boots that you want to share with other readers. Feel free to add your comments in the box below.

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