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How to Choose Walking Boots


Walking Boots Guide

Comfortable walking boots are an important part of your outdoor experience and we want you to get the right boot for you and your feet !

The main trouble with buying boots is that everyone's feet are different, and all the manufacturers' lasts (The wood or fibre glass "foot" around which the boot is "lasted" or constructed) differ too. That is where the many years of collective experience of our boot fitting staff makes a difference. When you come in we will measure your feet, discuss your requirements and suggest models to try.

The Guide that we have assembled below tries to emulate the process that we go through with each customer in store to help you to make a more informed decision about the boots that you are going to order. It is a good idea to have a quick look through it even if you are going to meet us in the shop.


Getting the Size Right

Choosing Correct Shape

Trying at Home

Exchanges and Returns

First Step - Requirements

Questions: Is that boot/shoe suitable for purpose?

A Sunday stroll along our local river, the Cam, requires very different footwear to a Cuillin Ridge traverse on the Isle of Skye. Think about the occasions you are going to use the boot for. What are your main walking areas and how difficult and long your walks are. Under each model we have a short section called "Suitable for" where we try to give you a rough idea what the boot is capable of.

Generally speaking stiffer footwear with more torsional rigidity (How the boot reacts to twisting when you hold it by the heel and toebox) are better for rough terrain. Other things to look for are: sole units with deep lugs and sturdy uppers. Don't be worried that they might feel heavier than what you are used too. Everyone wants a lightweight boot, but the lightest boots do not always offer good comfort or longevity. Hence, leather is still the best choice for serious or frequent walkers.

Also at this stage ask yourself whether you require your footwear to be waterproof. Although the vast majority of boots are, with shoes people quite often prefer the increase of breathability offered by non-waterproof models.

Second Step - Getting the right size

Questions: What size am I? Were my feet properly measured ? Have I worn that make/model in the past?

All models on our website are listed either in UK or Euro size and conversion charts are included.

Sizing of casual and street footwear does not correspond well to the sizing of walking shoes and boots.

If you have been properly measured in the past (when wearing appropriate walking socks), choosing the right size is made a little easier, but your "boot size" is just a measure of the length of your foot and possibly the width; whether something fits is dependent on many other aspects of the shape and biomechanics of your feet. Consult our "Fit Notes" under the selected boot and choose accordingly. If we advise that a certain model is sized small, do add the indicated amount to your size. You can choose the size and check availability from a dropdown box under each product.

If you have worn a particular brand or model of walking boot in the past and are happy with how it performed, many manufacturers are fairly consistent with their sizing. The best way to proceed in this case is to give us a call, because we may well have sold the same or similar model as your old boots at some stage, and will have an idea how they compare to the current model.

If you have never had a walking shoe or boot in the past your chances of getting it right first time are slim! But for these cases the instructions below apply:

1. Grab a clean sheet of paper
2. Put on some appropriate socks. if you are sizing for a boot they should be thicker walking socks.
3. Place the sheet of paper by the wall.
4. Stand with your heel against the wall, put equal weight on both feet, and make a mark on a piece of paper where the longest point on you foot is.
5. Measure that length in cm and this is equivalent to what called a Mondo Point Size. Repeat for your other foot.
6. Consult the chart to the right to work out a very approximate UK size.

Third Step - Choosing the correct shape

Questions: Are my feet wide/narrow ?

Boots and shoes come in wide variety of shapes. In the fit notes we provide indications whether they may be suitable for wider or narrower feet.

If you don't have a strong inclination whether your feet are wide or narrow then don't worry they are probably fairly regular!

Some indicators that your feet are wide:
1. Pressure on sides on the forefoot when wearing shoes.
2. Stretching of old shoes. Typically they will be stretched out in the front with clear marks were your ball joint has rubbed against the outer.
3. Sore feet, blisters between toes.

Some indicators of narrow feet:
1. Difficulty getting a shoe that grips your heel well. If it does, typically it doesn't leave enough space to wiggle your toes. Most shoes will feel generous inside.
2. Deformation of old shoes. Typically to get a shoe to hold your feet you have had to lace them quite tight. This has caused the lace eyelets to move inward with very little space between them. You may also notice spare fabric bulging upward at the front of a shoe when you lace them tight.

Fourth Step - Trying at home

Please try the ordered footwear indoors and preferably on a carpet. We cannot accept any boots for exchange/refund if they have been worn outside, even for only a short  while.

It is best to try your boots in the evening when your feet have spread a bit from the day's walking. With boots it is important to try them with a good quality walking sock.

After you have put your foot inside, push your heel to the back of the shoe/boot and lace it firmly, so it grips your foot well, but doesn't cause discomfort on the top of the foot. After a while you should feel like the boot or a shoe is part of  your foot. You should have plenty of wiggle room for your toes and there should be no contact with the front of the boot.

Fifth Step - Exchanges and returns

If you did not get it right first time, we offer a comprehensive no hassle exchange policy. Simply post the footwear back to us with a note of what you would like us to do. A small postage charge may be payable for an exchange depending on the weight of the item and the location of the delivery.

For refunds however, our postage charge will be deducted from your total refund. For items supplied “Post Free” we may deduct £5 from the refund as a contribution towards the carriage (some boots are heavy and expensive to send!).

The above exchange policy is for UK customers. EU customers will be charged carriage at the prevailing rate. Outside the EU the carriage cost of returning boots for a size swap can get expensive and is discouraged.

Our full exchange policy can be found here.