Hi-Tec Buyers Guide to Walking Boots

We’re sure you don’t need reminding, but as a walker your feet are probably the most important part of your body. They need regular TLC – no, not weekly foot rubs from your loved ones (although if there’s someone in your life who’s willing to do so then go ahead and indulge!) but rather some specialist, supportive and comfortable footwear, especially designed for walking. This guide has been designed to help you select the very best shoes for your feet, so print it out, have a read and hit the shops! Armed with all the following information you should be able to select a walking boot which lasts for a fantastic three seasons. So you can get out and enjoy the great outdoors!

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Hi-Tec Buyers Guide to Walking Boots

FEATURES TO LOOK OUT FOR IN YOUR WALKING BOOTS

  • Waterproofing

    There are mainly two ways to make a boot waterproof; one involves using a special membrane and the other uses what’s known as ‘seam-sealing’. Both methods are functional and both have their advantages: branded membranes such as Gore-Tex or eVent tend to be guaranteed and have longer durability while boots that make use of seam-sealing are generally more breathable and a bit cheaper.

  • Leather & Mesh Uppers

    Leather is still one of the best materials for waterproofing, durability, and comfort, while mesh panels increase the breathability of a boot- making them much more comfortable for the few glorious months when the sun is out. There are three types of leather to look out for and what’s best for you comes down to personal taste: nubuck leather has a velvety look and feel, full-grain leather looks a bit more shiny and smooth, and finally, suede leather is somewhat rugged looking.

  • Lacing Systems

    The dream walking boots will have solid, durable and lightweight lacing hardware. This is likely to come from non-rusting metal or specialist plastics, but either way will allow you to make adjustments throughout your journey. Your feet tend to swell and get larger towards the end of a walk, so with some easy adjusting hardware, you can customize the fit. Look out for Hi-Tec’s ‘QuikZip Technology’, which uses a technical zipper to make getting in-and-out of the boot a doddle!

  • Support Shank

    Imagine that your foot is a bridge: the pillars are your heel and your forefoot and so the arch needs some support to avoid collapse- of course, your foot isn’t going to collapse like a bridge might without support, but you’ll certainly find walking long distances uncomfortable. It’s the shank of your boot which plays a supporting role. Most are made from metal, although look out for boots featuring thermo-plastic shanks, which are just as durable but much lighter!

  • Comfort Fit

    While this is purely in the eye of the beholder… err… wearer, nothing beats the wear test. Once you find a boot or two that you like, we suggest wearing them in-store. Lace them up tight and bring along a medium weight sock so that the fit will be more realistic. Look for removable insoles, which further allow for a better fit and lining materials that wick moisture away from the foot.

TOP TIPS

  • Take the Two-Handed Test! Hold the heel and the toe of your boot and push them together- it should flex a little in the forefoot area but never bend in the middle. It if does, it has a shabby shank and will provide no support for your feet!
  • Always give your boots a good cleaning and waterproofing application before wearing them. This will keep the pores of the leather blockage-free and prevent the leather from drying out, which eventually leads to cracking. Just make sure your shoe-care products are compatible with your specific type

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BEST BUYS - FROM BUDGET TO LUXURY

TOP TIPS

  • Take the Two-Handed Test! Hold the heel and the toe of your boot and push them together- it should flex a little in the forefoot area but never bend in the middle. It if does, it has a shabby shank and will provide no support for your feet!
  • Always give your boots a good cleaning and waterproofing application before wearing them. This will keep the pores of the leather blockage-free and prevent the leather from drying out, which eventually leads to cracking. Just make sure your shoe-care products are compatible with your specific type

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Checklist

  • WATERPROOFING - Will your boots keep out the water?
  • GRIP - Do you boots have a sole that provides stability and grip?
  • UPPERS - Have you consider whether Nubuck leather, full grain leather, suede or mesh is most suitable for you?
  • LACING - Do the boots have solid, durable and lightweight lacing hardware
  • COMFORT - Do the boots fit well and is there room for your feet to swell?

TOP TIPS

  • Take the Two-Handed Test! Hold the heel and the toe of your boot and push them together- it should flex a little in the forefoot area but never bend in the middle. It if does, it has a shabby shank and will provide no support for your feet!
  • Always give your boots a good cleaning and waterproofing application before wearing them. This will keep the pores of the leather blockage-free and prevent the leather from drying out, which eventually leads to cracking. Just make sure your shoe-care products are compatible with your specific type

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Stockists

  • Bewdley Outdoors
  • Cotswold Outdoor
  • Fitness Footwear
  • Footprint
  • Fox's Outdoor
  • Globetrekker
  • JJB Sports
  • Lakeland Great Outdoors
  • Mike Davies Leisure
  • Millets
  • Oswald Bailey
  • TOG24
  • Yeomans Outdoor
  • ....visit our stockist page and use the store finder to locate your closest Hi-Tec stockist

TOP TIPS

  • Take the Two-Handed Test! Hold the heel and the toe of your boot and push them together- it should flex a little in the forefoot area but never bend in the middle. It if does, it has a shabby shank and will provide no support for your feet!
  • Always give your boots a good cleaning and waterproofing application before wearing them. This will keep the pores of the leather blockage-free and prevent the leather from drying out, which eventually leads to cracking. Just make sure your shoe-care products are compatible with your specific type

SEE ALL OUTDOOR

Footwear