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KE Kit Guide: Walking Boots

We asked our Operations Executive, Kerrie, to share her top tips for finding the perfect pair of boots for your next trekking holiday. Read on to unco... Read more
KE Kit Guide: Walking Boots

We asked our Operations Executive, Kerrie, to share her top tips for finding the perfect pair of boots for your next trekking holiday. Read on to uncover her expert advice...

 

Now, I know you’re excited, and you want to go out and buy all of the new things right away, but if there’s one item you need to take your time over, it is footwear. Repeat after me, “Do not buy brand new walking boots the week before you leave”. You want to be as comfortable as possible, you want to enjoy yourself and that will not happen if you get a blister on the first day's walk because your boots do not fit correctly!

Gone are the days of having to spend months breaking in new boots but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put them to good use before you travel. Get a bit of mud on them and get a few miles walked in them first. I am getting ahead of myself, first we need to find you the perfect pair... 

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What size should you go for?

Get yourself to a reputable outdoor retailer that will measure your feet. You probably haven’t had your feet measured since you had school shoes but it will be worth it. A good outdoor shop will measure not only the length but also the width of your feet and then give you 2 or 3 different boots to try that will suit your foot shape and the activity you will be doing. It’s also very important to try the boots on with the socks you will be wearing on the trip – so take them with you, or buy a few pairs along with your boots.If you forget, simply ask the sales assistant if you can try the boots on with walking socks suitable for the temperatures you’ll be experiencing (you don’t want thin summer weight socks if it’s going to be cold and vice versa!)

 

What type of boot should you go for?

All walking boots and shoes are designed with specific environments or activities in mind, from woodland walking to scaling 8000m peaks. Features such as ankle cuff height, the material used, or the stiffness of the sole will vary depending on what the intended use of the boot or shoe is.
If you are going to be walking on well-trodden paths, you could go for a lightweight walking boot, often called a mid-boot, or even a walking shoe. These types of boots are usually quite flexible and allows your feet to move a bit more naturally.
If the terrain is going to be uneven, rocky, steep, or a mix of everything, then a more rigid boot with good ankle support is preferable. Boots with a stiffer sole will give you a more stable platform with additional ankle support from a higher ankle cuff.
Of course personal preference will play a role, and for many people that walk on a variety of different terrains and different landscapes it’s usually best to err on the side of caution.

 

How do you know if the boot is right for you?

There are several ways to check the fit – push your feet to the front of the boot so your toes touch it and then you should be able to easily fit your finger between the back of the boot and your heel. If you can’t do this then the boots are too small. Alternatively, you could try removing the insole and placing your foot onto it. There should be a clear thumb's width between your toes and the end of insole. A good outdoor shop will have a ramp that you can test the boots on before you leave. Here you can check for any heel lift as you walk; you want to avoid this as it can lead to blisters.

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Remember!

Your feet will swell while you are walking so you need to make sure there is room to allow for that. In addition, as you walk downhill your feet will naturally slide forward in the boots and you don’t want your toes hitting the front. 

Once you have found a pair that fits, get outside, these boots were made for walking after all!

Boot buying Dos and Don’ts

  • DON’T buy online – unless you are buying the exact replacement for boots you have had before and you know fit you. Be aware that new versions of the same model can fit differently however!
  • DO visit an outdoor shop to have your feet measured.
  • DON’T wear cotton socks – they absorb moisture and soften your skin, increasing the risk of blisters.
  • DO spend time trying on different boots. Go back to the shop at the end of the day to try on your favourite pair – if you have been up and about for most of the day your feet will have swollen and this will be the perfect time to try the boots again.
  • DON’T buy boots off people’s recommendations without trying them on; what worked for them may not work for you. All feet are different!
  • DO wear them before your trip. Don’t buy them and keep them in the box until you get on the plane!

You can also read Kerrie's guide to finding the perfect rucksack for your adventure here.

If you have any further questions for Kerrie about your boots, bags or any other equipment, telephone our office on +44 (0) 17687 73966 or USA/Canada toll-free 1888 630 4415 and ask to speak to Kerrie or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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