With so many types of walking boots available, and with many different features, it’s essential to make an informed decision before investing. Owning the correct boots for your adventures ensures you have optimal support and are comfortable for many years.
It’s not just about owning the proper boots, though; they also have to fit perfectly.
Walking boots are made for a specific type of environment. The main aspects of such boots include sole stiffness, and walking height depends on factors such as the terrain.
If, for instance, you plan to go for the well-trodden and paved trail paths, then you can go for a compact boot. That said, in less harsh terrains, be flexible with your options, because this can help improve the ability of your foot to move around.
That said, if you plan to be moving over steep grounds or uneven surfaces, then you will need a boot with a rigid sole structure. The stiffness of the soles provides you with a stable platform to stand and a higher cut, which offers added ankle support.
Obviously, walking involves different types of terrain, and most people will be somewhere in the middle of this scale, so any issue should be on the side of caution to reduce the likelihood of danger.
Tips to Consider
Are the Shoes Waterproof
Most boots feature a lined with a waterproof membrane, which offers optimal water resistance. Thus, you can easily cross streams without socking your socks or compromising the material of the shoe. That said, if you don’t want soggy feet, you also have to give the boots a few hours to aerate.
Another excellent technique for keeping your boots dry would be to use a gaiter. It’s a waterproof cuff, which you place over the top of your boot, and you can also fasten it around your leg. The gaiter helps stop water from running down to your boot as you move through different terrains with snow, wet grass, or rain.
Leather or Synthetic
Thanks to the countless improvements in shoe material, the variations between synthetic and leather boots are surprisingly small. Initially, it was to say that leather boots were much easier to maintain and durable when compared to synthetic boots. That said, today, these variations are less common, so the most critical factor to consider would be the fit of the boot. If the boots fit correctly, then this would be the first crucial factor to consider.
Whether you want trekking boots or walking shoes, both types are available in various choices of material. The leather boots tend to be best because they are sturdy, durable, and heavy. More so, leather is also natural, and breathable, but can lead to excessive foot sweating when used in warm weather. To avoid issues such as blisters, you may have to break down the leather boots in short walks, before you start using them for long distances. The boots made using fabric tend to be soft and might not require any “breaking in.” These types tend to be light, and are therefore suitable for long walks.
Do They Fit?
The right fit is essential when you want to get suitable walking boots for your needs. Boot fitting should not only be about the size of the feet but the shape as well. Thus, consider factors such as the width of the heel and the flexibility of the toes. To ensure the shoes provide a perfect fit, then consider this boot fitting guide to help you make an informed decision. Remember that the muscles and bones in your feet enlarge as the day progresses. Thus, you are best going for a fit in the evening, when the components in your feet are the largest.
With so many factors to consider, its best to go for a boot fitting process, before you get a specific boot. The process will involve measuring your feet and recording any useful measurements.
When getting the shoe fitted, ensure that you check aspects such as the socks. The socks have to have the right padding, elasticity, wicking, and insulation. All these are components that make a big difference in the feel of the boots.
The Anatomy of the Boots
You also have to consider the specifics of how the boots is made, because these determine aspects of functionality such as comfort. Here is an overview of some of the few critical aspects of a good boot. They include:
A rubber sole provides added grip. Get a sole with deep lugs that can penetrate the ground, thus preventing any slipping. Also, go for a sole which is both durable and comfortable at the same time, without adding any weight to the shoe.
The midsole is found inside the boot and offers a sufficient amount of flex. Made using different composites, the stiffener has to be rigid if you plan on standing on small or rocky edges. Furthermore, the material can be much more flexible if you plan to use it for walking. When investing in boots, try bending them with your hands, to evaluate the material.
A food bed or insole is also an essential component because they cushion your feet when you stand on surfaces. A suitable insole should be removable, especially for people who have issues with arches. Such people can go for customized footbeds or insoles.
Inside the Boot
Soft leather or wicking fabric, which offers comfort in the boot, and also protects the membrane from abrasion and dirt.
The tongue, which as attached to the rest of the upper using bellows, and this helps stop debris and water from penetrating the shoe. When getting a shoe, ensure the tongue is well-aligned, and that it has no pressure points or folds.
The cuff or collar, which are aspects that go around the ankle. The cuff should have some padding on the interior, but the rigidity usually depends on the type of boot. It should also be easy to clean and maintain during boot maintenance.
The technical boots should have a firm and high cuff, whereas the leisurely types can have flexible material all round.
Components such as the heel counter and toe box are deep within the shoe, just in the same way as the midsole. Placed between the outer and the lining, they provide they offer shape and structure to the entire section of the shoe. Usually, the shape and size of the shoe differ between styles, brands, and more. Thus, ensure you try out various options.
The rand is a rubber enforcement component, which sits around the edge of the boot. The role of this component is to protect the shoe against damage and protect the stitching on the shoe. That said, not all boots have this component, as its usually left for the stiffer and technical boots.
Get Your Feet Measured
Aside from identifying the walking, you will be doing, the other vital factor to consider is to measure your feet. It’s not only about the length, but also the shape and structure of the foot. Ensure that you take vital factors such as the width of the heel, arch height, and toe flexibility when investing in the shoes.
Only when you can keep track of these factors will you be able to combine them, and make a consistent decision. If you have a pair of boots at home, which you believe may not provide the correct fit, then consider going for a new pair after making measurements.
Generally, you want to look for shoes that:
- Have a stiff back – hold the heel in one hand, and the shove above the heel in your other hand. The shoe should be rigid, and not be able to move from side to side, around the heel.
- Use some power – you will need some strength for this test because you will have to twist the boot material.
- Offer arch support – if the shoe does not provide arch support, then get an additional arch support component. The common ones include Superfeet and Powerset. Also, ensure the arch support fits in the shoe, without you having to bend your toes, or having any discomfort.
- Waterproof material – you never know when you may end up in situations with rain or heavy water; thus, waterproofing is crucial.
Being able to get the right kind of boots for your needs can be a highly beneficial investment. Usually, good boots are not affordable, and you may have to do lots of research before getting a good one for your needs. Thus, it would help if you started with a guide on how to choose the best pair of boots for your needs. This way, you have access to useful information, you can use to make a savvy choice when it comes to boot selection.
The ideal boot is comfortable, durable, and stylish as well. Equally important as the selection process, would be to learn how to take good care of your boots for longevity.