Choosing walking boots is an important task that can have lasting repercussions for your comfort and your wallet. We explain why this isn’t an area for false economy for three simple reasons: safety, comfort and money.
So. You need a pair of walking boots. Perhaps you’re a seasoned walker and your favourite boots have simply fallen apart after years of happy use. Or maybe you’re a novice, off on a first walking holiday and vaguely aware that your trainers aren’t going to be up to the job. To the expert and novice alike, the choice of boots available on the market can be rather overwhelming. It’s tempting to go with what you know, buy what your mates have got, or just search out the cheapest possible deal in an attempt to make it a more manageable task.
But that would be a mistake.
Why? Here are some reasons why the time and money you spend on a really good quality pair of walking boots chosen to meet your individual needs and preferences are time and money well spent.
This is my top reason and my vehemence about it comes from personal experience. As a student and a complete novice to walking, hiking and climbing, I accompanied a friend on a two-week mountaineering expedition. I wore jeans and Doc Martens. I have nothing against either and wore them very happily in other contexts of my life, but trying to find my footing on narrow mountain paths, they were a liability.
Good quality walking boots provide a safer walking experience because they will support your feet and ankles properly, minimising the risk of injury. They will also be manufactured in such a way as to provide a balance between insulating your feet from the elements and making sure that you can still feel the terrain you’re walking on enough to be able to navigate it comfortably.
For example, Columbia uses “omni-grip” technology to provide the right grip for every environment. Available features include a winter tread to ensure solid footing on snow and ice; hiking traction to grip loose dirt and gravel, and water traction treatment to allow water to to run out from under the sole and ensure a safe grip on wet surfaces.
A beautiful mountain view. The exhilaration of a long day’s walk. The sense of discovering new terrain. All the magic of a walking or hiking expedition can be killed with one small word: Blisters. Of course, blisters aren’t the only potential source of discomfort. Wet feet, insufficiently supported arches, not enough toe room so that the circulation to the toes gets impeded as your feet swell… A good walking boot will be designed to meet all of these challenges so that you can enjoy the experience of walking without having to worry about the state of your feet.
For example, Berghaus pioneered the best waterproof fabric available, GORE-TEX. It’s light and breathable as well as being waterproof, effectively addressing the discomfort of damp feet.
High quality walking boots will wear better. They’ll last longer than their cheap counterparts. So a price tag that might seem extravagant at first glance is actually a sound investment when you consider how much longer a good pair of walking boots will last you.
If you have any tips of your own, we’d love to hear them. So add them to the comments below!