What to Look for in Walking Boots
A pair of walking boots not only has to work hard but they have to work over a long period of time and be comfortable and waterproof. A poor pair can not only ruin a day out, but could lead to physical problems. Consequently, it’s helpful to have a quality checklist when buying a pair.
Good walking boots should be light, but be careful as cheaper quality materials are often lighter, and this could fool the unwary.
The sole needs to be durable and give a good grip. Furthermore, it should cushion the heel against any impact when the body is in motion.
It’s advisable to have a durable material such as leather or a good synthetic. Leather not only repels water, but it’s also known for its flexibility and the way it provides support. However, go for a treated top-grain leather to be sure the boot is waterproof.
The lining is very important for the comfort of the foot. Cheap linings tend to rip and fray after a few outings, becoming uncomfortable and ceasing to do their job, which they were only partly doing anyway. A good lining has the ability to let the foot breathe and absorb moisture given off by the foot as well as protecting the foot from the seams and joints of the outer casings, thereby preventing rubbing, soreness and blisters.
By this we mean the glue or stitching that is used to keep the sole and the upper together. A poor quality walking boot uses cheap glue that’ll start to fall out or pull away after a few kilometres. Quality boots use a strong glue or stitching.
A good quality boot will have an insert that can either provide additional arch support or give extra cushioning to the heel. When the boot is wet, the insert can be removed to enable the boot to dry more quickly, preventing the growth of mould.
The boot should contain, at the very least, a rubber toe cap to protect both the toes and the leather of the boot. Top class boots will include a layer of plastic or metal beneath the leather.
Laces are subject to wear and tear, so look for boots with lace holes reinforced with plastic or metal to minimise this.
Serious walkers find themselves on all kinds of terrain and they don’t want their ankles rolling, so choose a pair of boots that lace above the ankles, thereby limiting their ability to bend and roll.