Great for: hiking, scrambling, rough terrain, long distance hiking, carrying heavy packs
Key Brands: Meindl, Mammut, Asolo, Berghaus, Salomon
Walking boots are a great all-rounder for any hiker. They offer great support for your feet, are sturdy and versatile and are built to handle any situation whether it’s walking along the coast to scrambling in wales.
The upper of a walking boot is built for support. With the upper you get brilliant high ankle protection, the upper is the first defence against the outside elements. Normally the upper is made from leather that has been treated but what’s become more and more popular is a leather and synthetic mix. Both materials offer great year-round protection. Most walking boots uppers are coated with a DWR (durable water resistance) layer to keep your feet dry.
As you saw from the video above, the liner of a walking boot is all about keep your feet dry in any weather. Gore-Tex membranes are the most common membrane on the market for walking boots as the Gore-Tex liner is 100% waterproof and life time guaranteed. The Gore-Tex membrane isn’t just about keep your feet dry in harsh weather, but during the warm months of the year the membrane also helps wick sweat away. This makes the walking boot ideal for all year round walking and hiking.
Most midsoles are anatomically curved to match the natural shape of your foot. The midsole is the key player when it comes to protection from impact and gives you underfoot support. Now depending on the brand you go for the midsole is made from lots of materials. The most common is EVA (Ethylene Vinyl acetate), which is lightweight and gives amazing cushioning. Other brands use PU which also offers a perfect level of flexibility and support. To get the best of both worlds most brands nowadays layer the EVA and PU together which gives a perfect balance.
The structure of the midsole defines how flexible the outsole will be. The more flexible the midsole means that you have more cushioning and foam layering within the midsole. A flexible midsole is perfect for trail walking and coast walking, if you have a stiffer midsole you could walk on rougher terrain and scramble with ease.
The outer sole of a walking boot is made from vulcanised rubber which gives an amazing grip. The most common outer sole is made by Vibram but there are other alternatives like Contagrip and Grip Ex which work just as well as Vibram.
When looking at the outer sole the first thing to look at the depth of the sole. The depth will tell you what the walking boot is designed for, if the depth is shallow then it’s perfect for dry rocky terrain but if the grip is deep then the boot is designed for a muddy terrain. Now of course you could use a walking boot with deep “tred” on a dry rocky surface but it might not work as perfectly as a boot with a shallower grip. Another thing to look out for is the design of the grip as well and make sure it fits in with the type of walking you do.
View our full range of Hiking boots >here<
Great for: lightweight hiking, coast walking, trail running, fell walking
Key brands: Salomon, The North Face, Mammut
Sometimes a walking boot can be seen as “overkill” especially if you are walking on flat or easy terrain. Walking shoes are normally worn in warm and dry climates and are perfect for day hikes when you are not carrying much in your pack.
Most walking shoes use synthetic fabrics for the upper. The main reason for this is to keep things nice and light weight and more breathable. The upper of a walking shoe still has a DWR coating to protect your feet from the elements but this isn’t always as good as a leather upper.
Waterproof Technology – eVent® fabrics from eVent® fabrics on Vimeo.
Most walking shoes have an eVent or Gore-Tex liner. Now in a walking boot the main reason for the liner is to keep your feet dry, of course this still applies in a walking shoe. But the key reason why you have a liner in a walking shoe is to add better wicking within the shoe.
The midsole of a walking shoe is built for comfort but mainly it’s about impact absorption. The midsole on a walking shoe tends to be very flexible which will feel great when walking on flat terrain. Of course these midsoles aren’t designed for walking on challenging terrain so before you step out think about where you are walking and what terrain you will be covering.
The outer sole for a walking shoe is pretty much the same as a walking boot. You will get a Vibram, Contagrip and Grip Ex sole, but the main difference is the depth of the sole itself. This works brilliantly with the flex of the midsole and means you can approach flat terrain with ease and comfort. It’s because of the outer sole that means walking shoes are superbly versatile.
To view our full range of walking shoes click >here<
Fitting Your footwear
To get the best out of your footwear here is a little checklist you should follow when trying on a new walking boot or shoe:
Make sure your toes aren’t touching the front of the boot
Check the width of the boot to make sure it’s comfortable
Once you have bought your boots wear them around the house in the afternoon
Only ever use one pair of socks with your boots never double up
Lastly always double check how you have laced your boot because this also is a massive part of getting the perfect fit for your walking boot or shoe:
Do you check for something else when trying on a new walking boot or shoe? We would love to hear it, just comment below
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