which boots?

I am often asked “which walking boots should I buy?” Now, before you start reading I am not affiliated to any shop or product. They are entirely my own views here based on experience.

So here are my thoughts-:

  1. Buy the ones that fit you… don’t be sucked into the “ooh this one has been reduced by £50 or £100” or whatever… get ones that actually fit otherwise you will be in for a whole heap of issues later when you start using them.
    So when you go to the shop to try them on, take the socks that you are likely to walk in from home with you. If you usually wear two pairs of socks to walk in, take the two pairs with you to try on your boots.
  2. Just because the pair of Scarpa or Karrimor worked before when you bought your last pair 10 years ago, don’t assume that the same size 9s will fit the same way again. Manufacturers change their designs, add bits here and there, change the shape of the sole etc… your feet will still be the same size they were last year!
  3. Get the right boots for the right job. That means, if you are trekking in the UK you are not going to need the same type of boots that you might if you are going to climb Mt Blanc. So ask yourself “what am I walking on with these new boots?” is it going to be wet, dry, hot, cold… ?
  4. Consider the insole for your boot. Changing the insole to a custom design one will make all the difference and be much better than standing on the piece of cardboard that the boot manufacturer seems to provide these days. So if you spend £200 on a pair of boots I think it is outrageous to have a rubbish insole in the shoe- it’s you main point of contact with the boot and as you trudge down those steps for the last hour of the day, it’s quite possibly going to be the bit you remember most from your day out. Some manufacturers do provide good quality ones, but not all of them do.
  5. If you are going to buy a popular pair of mountain boots, put your name or initials on the outside of your boots- I have often been in mountain huts in the alps seeing a huge array of La-Sportiva Nepals all up in a line in the boot room… choosing the right pair when it is dark the next morning can be quite difficult and you don’t want to end up with someone else’s boots on as you leave the hut!
after about 10 years this pair need replacing and are on their way to the bin!

6. Go to a proper walking/ outdoors shop and try them on there- only go online if you actually know the size and pair you want. Then ask yourself the question… “if I have spent 1 hour of my time in this shop with an assistant trying on 15 or so pairs of boots to find the right ones, is it ethically correct to then go and buy them elsewhere online for a bit less?” We need high street shops to try our boots on, if we all shopped online they may disappear for ever.Finally I don’t think you can ever have too many pairs of boots. Somewhere between 5 and 10 is a good number to have in your store if you are going out often and on different terrain!

Good luck