Step after step, your feet are the front line during your journey. If cared for they can take you a long way, but without good support and impact absorption you’ll be hobbling all too soon.
A good pair of boots that fits properly will be comfortable as soon as you put them on – if there’s excess movement or discomfort anywhere, you need a different size or model. So there’s no need for the ‘breaking in’ period of yesteryear. That said, it sometimes takes a little time for your feet to get used to new boots enough for you to stop noticing them, especially if they’re your first pair. But possibly more importantly, the right pair for you will also be comfortable at the end of your walk, when your feet could be much wider and fatter if it’s a long one. That’s why it’s so important to test your boots indoors as much as is practical once you get them home, so that any problems can be ironed out before you find out about them the painful way.
Walking boots are the best thing to wear on terrain that’s uneven since (when laced properly) the higher top gives extra support that can prevent a turned ankle or worse. They also offer more protection from undergrowth or wet grass than a shoe does and in rain, water running off your waterproof trousers is less likely to end up in your socks. Boots are often a more attractive option in winter too, since they’ll keep your feet warmer and grip better on snowy ground.
Since there’s a wide range of terrain that could be called uneven, there’s a wide range of men’s walking boots to match. Gravel tracks and grassy paths might call for a lightweight, flexible style for faster movement, whilst scrambling up the sides of mountains is usually much easier with stiffer soles and tougher uppers. There really is a boot to suit any trip and we have the expertise to guide you to the right pair for you.
Incidentally, this category is called men’s walking boots because the boots are designed to fit what might be described as a ‘male foot’ – fairly wide throughout and shallow at the front, as opposed to more narrow and deep with a relatively large toe region like the average ‘female foot’. They are also available in larger sizes than women’s-specific designs, though some are made in all sizes. There is also however significant variation in both size and shape between brands; for example the Italian manufacturers generally produce fairly narrow boots. When buying, start with half a size larger than your everyday shoes and adjust from there.
Despite all the variation, you’ll be lucky to find a pair of boots that fits perfectly without any adjustment. All boots are modelled on averages and who has an average foot? Not to mention the fact that almost everyone has two slightly different-sized feet. But our professional bootfitters know plenty of ways to tweak the fit to suit and we also offer a range of accessories to improve the fit while supporting your feet.
Once you’ve selected your boots, remember to pick up the care products you need to keep them in good condition. Proofer, conditioner and replacement laces are all to be found in the accessories section, along with cleaning brushes and repair items. In short, everything you need to get the longest life possible out of your boots.
It may take some time to find the right pair of boots – whether you’re visiting the shop or buying online there’s plenty of trying on to be done, then it’s a good idea to wear them indoors for a while once you’ve chosen. But we believe it’s worth the effort to find a pair that will keep you comfortable on the move and last you as long as possible. At the end of the day, when your feet are supporting your entire expedition, it makes sense to make sure they have the support they need.