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Walking boots

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  • Walking boots

    My walking boots have started to fall apart so its time I looked at replacing them.

    Looks like I can spend from £45 to £250 probably more, for boots I canít tell apart!

    I had some from Mountain warehouse, they were breathable Gortex ankle boots, which once Iíd got into wearing I never liked!

    They were not waterproof
    The grip offered by the soles was atrocious - my airwair are better! Wet rocks at the seaside were a particular problem!
    They lacked ankle support (unsurprisingly)

    What recommendations does anyone have? Are the high street stores to be trusted? Which ones? Any brand recommendations?

    I do go for proper long all day walks, in terrains from shingle paths through rock pools to mountain boggy paths.

    Ideally one pair to suit anything, all year round!

    Many thanks

  • #2
    Re: Walking boots

    The best pair of boots I've bought were Hi-Tec ones. IIRC they cost around £50. However, I backpacked for 10 days through the Cairngorms in a pair of Aldi walking shoes costing £12 and they were very comfortable and durable, with plenty of life left in them at the end. I recommend that you check them out when Aldi next have them in.

    I don't set any store by water resistance, as water can still go in over the top. Also, treatments such as Nikwax gets scoured off after 100 yards of wet heather and the leather gets wetted out.

    I've got a couple of pairs of waterproof socks. They work OK, but I prefer just to walk boots dry if they get wet!



    • #3
      Re: Walking boots

      You could always ask Nancy Sinatra's opinion. She seemed to do pretty well with her boots



      • #4
        Re: Walking boots

        Another vote for HiTec.
        I bought a pair of Brashers shoes at twice the price of the HiTecs but the heel support made a right mess of my Achille's heel. Never again.


        • #5
          Re: Walking boots

          I'm really not sure that anyone can answer that as they don't have your feet at the end of their legs.

          Folks may be able to pass comment on durability etc, regarding a variety of boots that you have already tried on, found comfortable, and then shortlisted.
          As an example I read loads of reviews, but I know I have a particular issue with heel lift and a high instep.

          Budget was less important to me than comfort and durability. I tried on every suitable pair of boots at every major outdoor retailer in Sheffield, along with Matlock, Bakewell, Castleton, Hathersage, Buxton, etc.

          Eventually I settled on some made by Zamberlan for my normal 3 season walking use, and selected a retailer who genuinely understood the issues, including being able to stretch the leather lightly if I needed it.
          I bought some Raichle ones for winter use, but the Raichle lightweight ones didn't fit me, just like Zamberlan heavy ones were ill suited to my feet.

          Meindl Fabric boots seem to suit me well, though that could be because they're quicker to break in.

          I'd try and seek out a retailer that offers a comfort exchange warranty, particularly if you're spending loads of dosh; Go Outdoors used to, not sure if that's still the case.

          All three, that I mention above, are well regarded in terms of quality; I've found that in my own experience as well.
          Best Regards

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          • #6
            Re: Walking boots

            I've had a pair of Timberland boots for about 15 years and they have been great and were not unduly expensive. I've also got a pair of Mephisto walking boots that were expensive but are very comfortable and waterproof. Finding a stockist may be a problem but I think they will accept returns for web buys.

            My feet are odd, wide and with a very high instep. Mephisto shoes (French) are also excellent, one pair is over 20 years old, and their trainers in the 'Allrounder' range suit me well.

            The beauty of not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by periods of anxiety


            • #7
              Re: Walking boots

              Have a look at Altberg boots.

              Not cheap but worthwhile if you do a lot of walking. Their Tethera boots are available in 5 widths.
              I walk ~ 1000miles/year and most of my previous boots (Meindl & other continental makes) seldom lasted for more than 18months. My Altberg boots are now 3 years old and have just gone back to the factory for resoling - so the lifetime costs are lower.
              There is a stockist near you - Open Air in Cambridge.


              • #8
                Re: Walking boots

                I buy my boots from Open Air in Cambridge, knowledgeable staff and ramp to walk up and down.
                My brand of choice is Meindl, they have the largest toe box which I need because of some frostbite damaged toes.
                Saying that its pointless advising anyone what boots to buy, need to get what suits your foot.
                Go in, have your feet measured then try different makes on to see what feels comfortable.


                • #9
                  Re: Walking boots

                  I’ll go to Open Air and see what they come up with!

                  Thanks for all the input - it’s been really helpful!


                  • #10
                    Re: Walking boots

                    Other than some old "commando" boots (leather, army surplus) that are still going strong 40 years later I (and the family) have opted for boot from Cotswold Outdoors (Cotswold Camping).

                    I have flat feet with what my shoemaker (very traditional one person business; now retired; long story) calls a strong toe i.e. it has never been forced to point inwards by incorrectly fitting shoes. I find the Keen brand suit me as they have a large toe box. I have some US made boots and some EU made walking shoes. The US boots are slightly roomier than the EU shoes so the shoes are 1/2 size bigger! These are a combination of fabric and leather construction (gortex lining) which has slightly more give than just leather so less chance of rubbing. Cleaning is done with a brush and quick spray of repellant but when wet they do look a bit sad. On the other hand leather boots will polish up nicely and the water will shake off. The rest of the family seem very happy with HiTec. The Lidl walking boots are quite comfortable - most of us have a pair as a reserve. I have yet to wear these for an extended hike so can't comment further. As a seasonal (i.e. weekly!) offer they don't appear very often but strangely I there are some in this week so you have until the end of today to take a look.

                    The grip on my boots is good but I think vibram soles are meant to be the best.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Walking boots

                      After years of suffering with various types of 'cheap' boots, I finally invested in a decent pair, and more importantly, had them properly fitted to my broad feet. I travelled 150 miles in order to have this done, as for the life of me, I couldn't find a place to properly fit walking boots in central Scotland. (Ski boots, yes, walking boots, not so much. Go figure).

                      Anyway, I now have a pair of properly stretched and wide-fitting Altberg boots, and it's such a wonderful change! I think the real point is, go to and spend some time with a retailer who knows what they're doing, and can stretch boots where needed, not just some random outdoor shop selling boots 'over the counter'. It's an investment, but I'm now happy that these boots will probably outlast *me*!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Walking boots

                        I thought I would login especially to recommend Altberg boots, but I can see lots of folks have done that already. I've got a pair that I wear, almost every day, in all sorts of conditions, and they are great. My particular pair are high, my preference, the tops sit well past my ankle. It means I can walk through long wet grass or boggy ground, and my feet stay dry. I can also recommend the oil based boot polish the company makes, whether you have Altberg boots or not.


                        • #13
                          Re: Walking boots

                          (A lot of very expensive boots recommended here!)

                          What do other walkers do when fording a river with a heavy backpack? I take my socks off but keep my boots on and drain them out on the other side, and put my socks back on (but they soon get wet). Does anyone take their boots off and ford the river with bare feet, enduring the pain?



                          • #14
                            Re: Walking boots

                            Originally posted by Jim Ford View Post
                            (A lot of very expensive boots recommended here!)

                            What do other walkers do when fording a river with a heavy backpack? I take my socks off but keep my boots on and drain them out on the other side, and put my socks back on (but they soon get wet). Does anyone take their boots off and ford the river with bare feet, enduring the pain?

                            I have my bearers carry me across, doesn't everybody?


                            • #15
                              Re: Walking boots

                              I use a different route .

                              Back on topic, I have used Brasher boots since they were first launched. Originally they were made by K Shoes in Kendal but subsequent pairs were made in Spain and then, inevitably, China. Each revision got worse, and I see the brand is now owned by the same company that owns Berghaus. My present ones have split uppers but the Goretex membrane remains intact an they are still waterproof. However, I will be in the market for some new ones soon so this discussion is quite useful, thanks .