There are lots of different things to think about and consider before heading out and parting with a load of cash and purchasing the wrong kind of footwear. In this post I will give you a series of things to think about before going out to the walking shop and asking questions, trying on and finally buying that pair of boots or shoes that are right for you.
- What is your budget? Realistically, how much do you want to spend on a pair of walking boots? I thought that maybe £20 sounded alright… poor, naive me… after scooting around the shops I came to realise £20 does not buy you a lot of walking/hiking shoe. The prices can vary wildly but look in the region of £60 and up. My boots were £60 in a sale.
- Consider when and where you will be walking. If you want to be walking in all weathers and most terrains you should be looking for something waterproof and durable enough to withstand prolonged damp and mud, not to mention all the cleaning off you may do! I chose a pair of boots that are suede and mesh (not too much suede..) that are breathable and waterproof as I know I will be getting them covered in mud from walking through woodland, in wet, rainy conditions and in some cases through boggy terrain. I need my boots to keep my feet dry but I also need them to clean off easily whilst being easy to care for.
- Shoe height. I don’t mean whether they are high heeled or wedge…that would be weird. I mean if they come up to your ankle, are “high tops” that come over your ankle bone or are knee high. I would have loved a pair of knee high boots like Ellie from Countryfile wears…alas – not in my price range. I settled on a pair of what I class as “high tops” (if they were trainers, they would be classed as that so why not?!) they cover my ankle bone and support it making it less easy for me to roll on my ankle (super important in slippy conditions!!!) If you are just wanting to walk over easy, flat terrain then I would go for ankle high, rocky, boggy, overgrown terrain would be high tops, and anything super extreme or overgrown then I would go for knee high (not expert opinion but my own…)
- How you walk. If you are light on your feet then you will want a light shoe, as anything heavy will feel alien to you and could cause you more problems than solutions. If you are like me and stomp around whatever the occasion then you will be ok whatever shoe weight you choose!
Now for the fun part…Heading to the Shops!!!
I would suggest going to several walking shoe places first before settling on one pair of shoes. Trust me, I tried on a pair of £180 shoes in one shop and a £85 pair in another and the difference was astounding. The £85 pair felt much more expensive and comfortable in comparison to the £180 pair.
Now you are in the shop, first things first, Ignore Prices… serious. That figure you quoted me in the first section, forget it for 2 mins, put it to the back of your mind. It’s there but is not important just yet.
In the shop rules
- Try on all the shoes, “high tops” and knee boots in your size. Get a feel for them and have a walk up and down the shop in a ton of different styles. note the makes of the ones that are comfortable and fit you best. You want something that doesn’t slip, feels secure and doesn’t rub or press on your feet or feel too tight.
- Ask questions, “are they waterproof?, “how easy are they to care for?” all these things will come to you if you have followed the pointers above! be interested.
- Look at the different types of tread, I didn’t realise how many kinds there were until I realised that they were all different depending on the conditions and terrain you were planning on walking in.
- Decide which shoe types you prefer.
- Look at the cost of the ones you like. Are they in your price range or out of it? By how much?
Do not purchase anything. Thank the assistant for their help and say you will return later. This is the mulling over time. Go to a cafe (there will be loads around, may I suggest an independent coffee-house rather than chain… this should be a memorable occasion…) or go to a bar (Not a chain one!!!! Go for something tucked away in a corner and order a craft beer or cider!) Now, sit and mull over the lovely shoes and boots you have tried on, specifically the ones that were your favorites, were they in or out of your price range? How often will you wear them? How long will they last? Can I justify spending that amount on them? how comfortable were they? If they were in your price range then you are nearly at the point of purchase, if they weren’t then sit and think about the others that were and which you would choose. Finished your drink? Lets go back to the store…
Are we at the store now? 🙂 Ok, try on your first, second and third choices but in reverse order leading up to the favorite. Run through your list of criteria in your head, if they don’t match then keep on searching, you do not hae to make a purchase straight away! If they are your perfect shoe and match every criteria you have thought about then go and purchase the shoes. At the same time buy 2x sets of spare laces and some kind of care product (spray waterproofer is always a good one!) if you are unsure about care products, ask the sales person, they have some really good recommendations along with how to apply and care for your shoes.
Once purchased, go home, put on and take them for a test drive/walk. I wouldn’t go too far in them, maybe head out for 15-30mins then increase in time until they have been broken in properly. You do not want to add blisters and other foot problems into the mix!
Now for yesterdays stats… did my walking boots take me past 10,000 steps?
They sure did!!!
I am aiming to walk 10,000 steps a day for the whole of september in order to raise money for Cancer Research, if you would like to sponsor me or donate, you can visit my Just Giving page where a few clicks will see your donation added to the cause.