What To Expect From A Walking Boot Fitting At Open Air
Open Air’s footwear department has been providing professional men’s, women’s and children’s footwear fitting and advice for almost 30 years. Whilst the technology in outdoor footwear has evolved, the goal of happy customers leaving with comfortable walking boots has not.
Customers travel from around the country to visit us for great service with one of the widest selections of outdoor footwear in the country.
Here’s a sample experience of what to expect when you visit Open Air Cambridge for a professional boot fitting!
Getting the right fit for your walking boots is key
If you’ve ever visited Open Air’s Footwear store, you’ll hear staff talk at length about ‘fit’. This is because not all walking boots (or feet for that matter) are made equal. With offerings from some of the best outdoor footwear brands around (including Scarpa, Meindl, Hanwag, Altberg and Zamberlan), and an intimate knowledge of their individual shape and fit characteristics, we give ourselves the best chance of finding the best walking boot (or shoe!) for your needs. Due to the stiffer, more inflexible nature of the construction outdoor footwear, purchasing a walking boot or shoe requires a little more care and attention than that of a casual every-day shoe or trainer and it is for this reason that we will always recommend having a professional fitting to ensure the correct fit is achieved for maximum comfort out in the hills.
Once acclimated to the smell of leather and rubber, combined with and the relaxing sounds of Radio Swiss Classic (manager’s favourite), you’ll be directed to a seat where staff will begin measuring your feet. This is the most important aspect of the process as they’re making a mental note of not just the length of your foot, but the width, depth and the overall shape of your foot. Other factors being taken into account here are any ailments present (bunions, collapsed arches, injuries etc). It’s worth noting we will have to touch your feet – if you’re uncomfortable with this, please let us know in advance. We typically make two measurements per foot; one seated as well as one standing to establish the foot’s spread whilst weighted.
Armed with this information, as well as your requirements be it walking boots for dog walking to mountain boots for summiting the munros of Scotland, our staff can make a selection from our extensive range that match the shape of your feet. Customers with wide feet will appreciate that we have one of the largest selections of Meindl’s purpose-built wide fitting ‘Comfort Fit’ walking boots and walking shoes!
There is every chance that you’ll measure a totally different size to what you think you were when you first walked in. And this is fine! Feet grow, widen, arches collapse (particularly after pregnancy) over time, and with many adults having not been measured for footwear since buying school shoes as children, it’s no wonder that the result is often a surprise! One might be used to having their toes butt up against the end of their trainers or casual shoes (even without realising it) but in outdoor footwear, we want to ensure you have a fingers width from the end of your toe to the end of the boot. The last thing we want is for sore toes or bruised toenails. No matter what, your toes should never touch the end of the boot.
Test your walking boots
Once laced-up, you’ll then be encouraged to walk around our shop to gauge comfort and fit. Our store is complete with a small incline that you can walk up and stomp down to highlight any heel slip or whether your toes are touching the end of the boots. It’s important to not rush this process and communicate the fit and feel to the staff member on hand. The staff member will then be able to make the appropriate adjustments and / or offer different styles to try. If the fit is close, but not perfect, we’re also able to fit volume reducers and supportive inner soles like those made by Superfeet .
Pro Tip: whilst we have some try-on socks for you to use, we recommend bringing the socks you’d normally wear when you come in for a fitting. This will allow us to get the most accurate fit possible, particularly if you typically wear liners. If you’re a new-commer and this is your first time buying outdoor footwear, or you’re simply after a fresh new pair for your next adventure, we’d be more than happy to take you through our “wall of socks” discuss the benefits of technical socks.
Whilst our fitting service is second-to-none, you’re unlikely to get a true feel for your footwear from just the short time you’re with us in store which is why we offer a 2 week try-on period for you to take your new boots home and wear around the house. If you’re unhappy with the fit in that time you’re more than welcome to bring your boots back to us for an exchange or refund so long as the boots are in an ‘as sold’ condition.
As soon as they go outside however, they’re yours!
If you have any further questions about what to expect during a fit, please don’t hesitate to contact us! You can drop us an email, call us or use the LiveChat.