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Category: Walking gear

Walking gear that one might want to consider for walking in various environments.

Buying walking boots

Buying walking boots

If you plan on walking for pleasure, it is a good idea to invest in some good quality walking boots. Good boots are vital for protecting your feet and ankles whilst you are out walking. Wearing the wrong type of footwear on a long walk can put your feet and joints at risk.

Although there are hundreds of specialist outdoor shops in Britain where you can ask for advice about new boots, it is a good idea to consider some of the following things before you buy.

What do you need your boots for?

There are actually a number of different types of walking boots available to purchase, which tend to be made with specific environments in mind. When you are choosing your new footwear, you must start by considering where and when you plan on doing most of your walking. Lightweight trainer type shoes with a higher degree of flexibility are ideal if you plan on walking a lot in low-lying areas or on well-trodden footpaths. The flexibility of the shoes will help your foot to move naturally and will help to enhance comfort levels.

On the other hand, if you are planning on walking on uneven ground, over rocks or away from established footpaths then you are advised to choose a more rigid style of boot. Good ankle support is essential if you plan on walking over any uneven or unsteady ground. Rigid boots with stiff soles help to prevent your foot from being forced into harmful positions by the terrain that you are walking over.

Alternatively, if you plan on doing winter walking, you may need to buy boots which you are able to wear crampons with. Many summer style boots are not designed to be worn with crampons or other winter safety devices, and are therefore unsuitable for wearing in snowy weather.

It is also possible to buy walking sandals if you plan on going walking in very warm climes. These sandals are designed to keep your feet cool whilst also giving you an appropriate level of foot support.


In days gone by, all walking boots were previously made of stiff leather; however synthetic materials are now used more often. Synthetic boots are normally lighter, more flexible and require less breaking in than leather boots do.

On the other hand, well-made leather boots are more durable and are easier to care for than synthetic options. The material that you choose for your walking boots is likely to come down to personal preference. Some vegetarians prefer synthetic materials over leather ones, because leather is an animal product.

Getting the right fit

It is important that you take the time to find boots that offer the right fit. The boot seller may want to measure the size and shape of your feet, as well as assessing the arch of your foot. Some boot manufacturers are known for making wider fitting shoes, whereas other manufacturers are known for producing a narrower fit of boot. An experienced salesperson will be able to point the best brands for your fit out to you straight away.

Buying walking boots
Buying walking boots

Once you try on a boot, you should do some basic tests to check the fit. Whilst the boot is still unlaced, shuffle your foot right to the front of the boot. You should be able to fit your finger snugly into the back of the boot. If you need to force your finger in, then it is likely that the boot is too short for you. On the other hand, if your finger moves around freely, then the boots are too large for you.

Once the boots are laced up, you should feel even pressure across the top of the shoe. The boot should feel firm without feeling restrictive. Try standing up to see whether the feel of the boot changes at all. Your foot naturally changes shape when you are standing, so the boot may suddenly become restrictive. Feet tend to elongate in this position, so make sure that your toes still have enough room.

Walk around the shop in the boots. Most boot shops will have a testing ramp which will allow you to check out how the boots feel when you are going up and down hills. This will help you to assess whether there are any restrictive points in the boots when they are worn in lots of different scenarios.

You should also check the flex points of the shoes. These points are areas where you will need a lot of flexibility because of the movement of your foot. The flex point is over the ball of your foot. If the boot does not fit right, there may be discomfort around the flex points when you move your feet.

Once you have bought your boots, you may need to spend a while breaking them in by going on lots of shorter walks or wearing them around the house.

Essential kit for walking in Britain

Essential kit for walking in Britain

Countless numbers of people in Britain enjoy walking as a hobby or pastime. Walking gives participants the chance to see some of the most amazing natural landscapes in the country whilst also improving their own health and wellbeing. In order to enjoy walking safely, it is essential that you always have the correct equipment. Here is a brief rundown of the essential items that you will need if you want to enjoy walking in Britain .

Walking clothes

The clothes that you wear can make a huge difference to the experience that you have whilst walking. Wear the right clothes and they will help to protect you as you walk, but wear the wrong clothes and they can actually hinder your progress.

You should choose a breathable baselayer to wear on the top half of your body. Technical materials are better than standard cotton products, because they will help to wick the sweat away from your body whilst you walk. This will help to control your body temperature and will help you to avoid irritation.

Hardwearing but quick-drying trousers are recommended for your bottom half. Avoid walking in denim jeans because they take too long to dry out and they are likely to irritate your skin once you have walked in them for a long period.

You should cover the baselayer with an insulating midlayer, which will help to keep you warm if the temperature starts to fall. Even if the weather looks sunny and the temperatures seem high, you should always travel with a midlayer, because the weather can change suddenly and temperatures are normally lower at higher altitudes. The wind can also help to lower the air temperature so a windproof layer will help to keep your body at an appropriate temperature.

Take a waterproof outer layer with you, including a jacket and waterproof trousers. These will help to keep you dry if you are caught out in a downpour. Protecting your inner layers from the rain will help to keep you warm enough and will reduce the potential irritation which can occur when walking in wet clothing.

If you are walking in Spring, Autumn or Winter you should also travel with a hat and gloves in case the temperature drops suddenly. These will help to protect your extremities from the cold. Choose gloves rather than mittens, as they will allow you to maintain your dexterity.


Choosing the right footwear is incredibly important, as the wrong footwear can cause serious damage to your feet. As well as causing blisters and blackened toenails, badly fitting walking boots can actually cause permanent problems including trapped nerves. What is more, you are more likely to fall, slip or trip if you are wearing ill-fitting footwear.

Many leading walking shops in Britain offer free fitting services to help walkers to find the most appropriate boots for their needs. These services will normally consider the foot size and width, the arch of the foot and the intended purpose of the boots. Shops normally include a mixed terrain ramp so that walkers can test out how the boots might feel in different circumstances. Walkers normally find that shops recommend a shoe size that is at least half a size larger than the buyer’s normal fashion shoe size.

Comfortable walking socks are also essential. The socks should be made of a quick-drying breathable fabric which will help to draw sweat away from the feet. It is best to avoid normal cotton socks because they tend to hold any sweat close to the feet and they are likely to encourage problems such as Athletes’ Foot. When possible, buy seamless socks because the seam can become irritating over time and may encourage blister growth.

Other essentials

You should carry your kit in a properly fitted daysack or rucksack. Adjustable sacks are best, so that you can adjust the straps for maximum comfort, especially if you are carrying a heavy load. Always pack your sack so that the heavier items are at the bottom. This will help you to avoid the heavier items crushing the items which are more delicate.

You should always take a mobile phone with you, even if you are expecting to be out of signal range. This will help you to summon assistance as quickly as possible if needed. However, you should not rely on your phone (or any other device) for a GPS reading.

Walkers are also advised to travel with a light first aid kit in case there are any minor injuries, including cuts, bruises, grazes and sprains. The content of the kit can help you to prevent minor injuries from becoming more serious.

You should also carry a torch with you whenever you set off in a rural location, even if you expect to be back before dark. A torch will offer extra light if you are caught out unexpectedly in darkening conditions.