Unfortunately, what’s great for one person is not necessarily the best for another. We strongly recommend wearing proper hiking boots or shoes as they provide added ankle support. One thing is for sure if you buy a new pair of walking boots/shoes make sure you break them in before you come on holiday.
Here are some things to consider:
- Boots versus walking shoes – that’s largely an issue of personal preference. Walking shoes don’t provide anywhere near as much ankle support as boots though.
- The weight of the footwear is important. You only need something suitable for day hikes on tracks – not to climb Mt Everest in! There’s an old saying that 100 grams on your feet is equivalent to 500 on your back.
- The shoes should wrap round the foot with an even, snug hold over all parts of your foot. You should look for comfort across the balls of the feet. Your toes should not press together or touch the end of the boot – this is especially important for downhill walking. Your heel should not move inside the boot when you walk. And a laced up boot should not put pressure on the top of your foot or hurt your ankle.
- Leather has been the long time favourite with many walkers but these days is generally only used in heavier boots, which are mostly not necessary for day walks. Most light – medium weight boots are of good quality and have synthetic uppers. These are durable, but do not keep the water out. If you can pay some more, have a look at boots with a waterproof membrane such as Gore-Tex. The membrane is a very clever product built into the boot material so, though it can’t be seen, it lasts for the life of the boot. Dry feet will be more comfortable, smell less, and be less likely to blister if conditions get tough.
- The soles of the boots are extremely important. Look for soles that are thick enough to protect your feet against sharp rocks that might press into the sole, and with a chunky pattern that will provide better grip on slippery tracks. A Vibram sole is good quality – look for the yellow brand on the sole of the boots.
- Finally, we often see people who are wearing cheap, ill-fitting, loose, sloppy socks, which is an absolute recipe for disaster! Wear socks that fit firmly. Spend that bit extra and buy socks with shaped heels and good cushioning – your feet with thank you at the end of the day! Some people like to wear one pair of socks, others prefer two pair…..it is up to you. Once again, avoid loose socks that are too big.
At the end of the day, there are lots of different boots in the stores. Take your time, keep looking till you find a boot that fits like a glove.