These boots are made for walking

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I live in walking shoes in the winter, so I can go to the shop without ending up in a heap on the floor, and the rest of the year I wear whatever trainers I currently have. Footwear isn’t high on my list of priorities – if a pair of shoes fits and my feet are dry then I’m happy. I did my first “just how unfit am I?” walk in trainers, then switched to my walking shoes. That was a mistake. Without the wintery weather to make me tread carefully the were heavy, cumbersome, and made my feet really hot. It was clearly time to dip my toes into the wonderfully confusing world of walking/hiking boots

My current boots, taking a rest. I do a lot of resting

Rub-a-dub-dubbin

The last time I put on a pair of walking boots, back in the early nineties, the only choice was leather. Unwilling hours were spent with a tin of Dubbin trying to make them softer and more supple, to no avail because they never did feel comfortable – I remember them being heavy, awkward, and not great to walk in. Happily, things have changed a lot since then and you can buy boots and shoes in a variety of materials and styles for all kinds of activities and terrains and every foot shape and size

There’s some really useful info on boots and brands in Matthew Usherwood’s post here

My current boots, resting again

Goldilocks

I put boots in the same category as rucksacks – worth spending money on, because you only get one pair of feet and sore feet can ruin even the shortest walk. I was going to ask my feet to do something they definitely weren’t used to, and the least I could do was make sure they were comfortable doing it. I wanted Goldilocks boots; in terms of fit, comfort, and features, they had to be “just right”

We don’t have a decent outdoors shop here – curse my current inability to travel, but that’s a work in progress – so I went online and ordered several pairs of boots from some of the top brands in a variety of styles. One pair after another arrived, was tried, and then sent back for a refund, until I was starting to think there was something weirdly wrong with my feet. In desperation I ordered a pair that seemed, in comparison to some I’d tried, to be suspiciously cheap. They turned out to be my Goldilocks boots

I’m happily wearing a pair of Regatta boots at the moment. They’ve got me out and walking when trainers wouldn’t be enough, which is what matters, but the search for the elusive top quality Goldilocks boots continues. There’s always the chance that I’m overthinking this, assuming that expensive boots are what I need when, in reality, what I need is the right pair of boots for my feet. As I start walking further and for longer, I guess I’ll find out how good – or not – my current pair are. Watch this space

What I learnt about buying walking boots

  • Try on lots and lots of different makes, styles, and sizes while wearing the socks you’ll be walking in
  • Allow space for your feet to swell, and room for your toes – a size up is a good starting point
  • Have a good walk round indoors and check your feet don’t move in your boots – too much movement means blisters are almost inevitable
  • Comfort is a million times more important than appearance
  • Don’t discount cheaper boots to get you started
  • When you find your Goldilocks boots, buy them
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