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Oodles of Advice: What are the best walking boots?

What are the best walking boots for you?

Don’t let unsuitable walking boots put a dampener on your adventures. From grip to ankle support, material to activity-focused, find out how to choose the best hiking boots for all the family.

How to choose walking boots

Choosing the right walking boots isn’t complex – but it does need some careful consideration. We’ve put together this guide so you know what to look for, including:
• Fitting your walking boots
• Choosing the right materials
• Matching your boots to your activity
• Walking boots or shoes
Features of Walking Boots
When choosing walking boots, it’s important to know the features of the boot and what to look for when shopping for the perfect pair:
• Outsole – often made of rubber or thermoplastic rubber, featuring the tread patterns of the boot. Choose shallow tread patterns for rockier paths or wide tread patterns for tackling boggy/muddy terrain
• Upper – everything above the midsole, often made from classic leather for hardwearing pursuits or synthetic materials
• Insole ¬– underneath the foot, the insole provides protection, support and cushioning for toes and arches
• Midsole – between the insole and outsole, the midsole is a shock absorber alongside providing protection underfoot
• Bumpers ¬– takes care of heels and toes from knocks and bumps on your hikes
• Lugs – the pattern and tread depth of your shoe, located on the outsole. Deep lugs mean greater traction.

Fitting Walking Boots

Top Tips For How To Fit Walking Boots:
• Wear a pair of walking socks – this will not only increase the comfort of the boot, but also show a better representation of how they’ll feel when you’re out and about.
• Remember insoles – if you need them, fitting these into your walking boots as you try them on is equally as important as wearing walking socks.
• Check the insole of the boot – before trying on your boot, take out the insole and line it up against your foot to see if your heel meets the very back. Make sure you allow enough room to move about.
• Test your boots – take them for a test walk, pushing your weight around your feet to see how secure your heel is, and how much pressure you can apply. Check the boot crease, see if they are comfortable and how your toes feel against the top of the boot.
• Breaking in your boots – make sure you buy your boots well in advance of a big walking trip coming up. This will allow time for the whole family to break in their walking boots, avoiding blisters and discomfort. Do this by taking your walking boots on short walks first before attempting more challenging hikes.
Top tip: Fitting walking boots for children? Make sure the little ones go through the exact same process when they’re choosing walking boots.

What to look for in walking boots

You can never rely on the weather to do as it’s told – especially if you’re hiking in Britain. Waterproof walking shoes are essential for walks in unpredictable weather.
• Hydropel water resistant technology – protect against damp and wet with Hydropel technology from Hawkshead – seam sealed with an internal membrane bootee liner. Keep toes warm and dry when the weather takes a turn.
• Boots need to breathe – let sweat vapour escape while locking your feet away from the damp – with waterproof walking boots, let soggy, uncomfortable feet be a thing of the past.
Top Tip: To ensure the rain doesn’t find its way in, use a gaiter. A gaiter is a waterproof cuff to straddle the top of your boot, fastening to your lower leg – this makes sure water doesn’t trickle down into your walking shoes while walking through damp terrain.
The right material
Traditional leather walking boots, or synthetic lightweight walking boots? With materials advancing over time, the differences between the two materials have become increasingly smaller – but there are still features to consider when choosing the best walking boots for you.
• Classic leather walking boots – these boots are generally thought of as heavier and stiffer, but long-lasting. Once broken in, they will mould to your feet over time, meaning you’ll have a comfortable boot that will see you through adventures. They are also thought of as the best hiking boots for chillier seasons with thick material keeping toes that extra bit warmer.
• Synthetic boots – seen as more lightweight, synthetic boots also require less breaking in, meaning you can get outdoors as fast as possible.
Are they right for your activity?
Whether you’re lowland rambling or hill walking, having good hiking boots is essential – but making sure they’re geared to your specific activity is vital too.
• For simple walks without the intensity of steep climbs, lightweight walking boots with flexible soles are your go-to.
• For hilly terrain or tackling steep slopes, you need to invest in a rigid boot. With ankle, calve and foot support, a tougher and stronger fit is the best hiking shoe for the job.
Top Tip: When choosing walking boots, remember to look at the grip. Tackling tough hills where terrain is muddy can be tricky without deep lugs supporting you with their grip. Generally, the deeper and wider the lug, the better grip the boots will have as they provide more traction and are less likely to clog up with mud.

Walking shoes or walking boots?

Wondering how to decide between walking boots or walking shoes? Here are some thing to consider:
• Weather – walking shoes often have more breathability than walking boots, making them a wise choice for milder days. Walking boots are more protective against damp underfoot and if the ground is slippery from previous rainfall.
• Support – walking boots add an extra level of support that walking shoes don’t – for ankle, heel, foot and general support on harder walks, walking boots are your port of call.
• Terrain – choose a walking shoe for pathways, roads and established surfaces, whereas a walking boot is more preferable to steeper terrain, grass, mud and general off-road surfaces.
Reliable walking boots – designed with you in mind
Discover the range at Hawkshead, set to guide you through boggy terrain to whatever outdoor activity you have in mind. With men’s walking boots, women’s walking boots and also walking boots for kids, kit out the whole family for their next adventure.
Now you have your walking boots sorted, why not look for some inspiration for your next trip? Find the best things to do in the Lake District.

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