Tag Archives: Hiking

The Best Hiking Boots for All Terrain?

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A long time ago I wrote about choosing the best hiking boots – and now I’m going to admit whether or not all my tips worked.

Following my own sage advice (and…you know… the highly skilled adviser at Ellis Brigham) I chose the Salomon GTX 4D-2 boot in size 7.5 (I normally take a 6) and here’s how I’ve gotten on with them in the past few months.

The Salomon GTX 4 2 are high-cut boots which promise to be waterproof, offer great ankle support and have a superior stay-cool technology.  A gusseted tongue boasts that grit will not enter the boots during walks, which is an important promise to keep, in my opinion. Ever had a stone in your shoe?

I was annoyed at first, because I don’t like having big feet, so buying almost 2 sizes bigger than I normally take was somewhat of a tough pill to swallow. I let it slide, though – they might save my life (or at least my feet) in the outdoors, I can forgive them for being snug.

Trying them on, I was impressed to find them light but sturdy, with a nice chunky sole that I expect will protect me from all kinds of rubble. I like the slate grey and greenish tones, they “go with everything” which is obviously the most important thing when hiking…

Now lets talk about how they performed.

 First Wear – Peel Tower, Ramsbottom
The first wear is the most indicative of whether your boots will work for you. We got up super early and walked the 6 mile loop from Ramsbottom through Peel Tower and Pilgrims Cross, in a sticky 20 degree heat. I wore leggings like an idiot, and spent the first 30 minutes overheating profusely. But my feet stayed cool.

The hike is mixed terrain – some dirt paths, some hills and rough pasture, some road. I didn’t notice a difference in comfort for any of the areas, and the boots remained comfortable, supportive and, most importantly cool throughout.

My only niggle was during a particularly steep downhill section, where the “high-cut profile” began to rub my lower shin on either side of the tongue. It wasn’t excruciating, and could potentially be solved by thicker socks, but I quietly hope that they will soften in time (and curse myself for skimping on socks).

Overall, though, after walk 1 I’m pleased. I didn’t have to stop once to remove small stones from my boots, which is a godsend. Somehow, though, my toes are still dirty when I get home.
It’s a mystery I don’t feel compelled to solve.

 Kitty

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Choosing Hiking Boots | A Beginners’ Guide

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Recently I bought my first real pair of proper hiking boots – following weeks of researching, speaking to hikers and climbers and finally having a lengthy conversation with an ex-Himalayan Mountain Rescue guide and getting some boots professionally fitted.

I thought I’d share some of my newfound expertise as it can be rather a daunting purchase to make – they’re so expensive! If you’re a hiker, climber or walker please feel free to chip in with advice in the comments!

My first tip would be to go get your boots from a reputable retailer with well informed, experienced staff. They’ll be able to help you with the right fit, give you advice on materials and steer you in the right direction for what you’ll be using your boots for.
Obviously visiting a high street retailer isn’t in everyone’s budget, and with such great online deals available the temptation to blind buy can be very strong… so here are a few other pointers for buying that could help…

Your Size may not be Your Size. I bought boots 1 full size bigger than my regular, but I tried on other brands that were comfy in a huge range from 1 size smaller right the way up to 1.5sizes bigger. When buying online, many brands will give you the insole measurement in length. To guess the right fit, you want the insole to be about 1 finger width longer than where your big toe sits. This gives your foot enough space to wiggle and stops your toe bumping on the end of the shoe during descents, which would become super painful.

Proper Socks are Just as Important. I tried my first pair of boots (and the ones I bought in the end) on with regular ole thick boot socks and they were not very comfortable. I then tried them with proper hiking socks that had appropriate padding, and they were a dream. Buying proper socks is a must and you’ll thank yourself for it when you’re at the top of your hike with no blisters.

Material & Design is important. It really depends on the type of hiking you’ll be doing. Will you need crampons, will there be scrambling or tough terrain? Do you need/prefer ankle support? You don’t want super tough ice hiking boots for a walk in the Lake District, and you don’t want bog standard walking shoes for climbing Kilimanjaro.

Price is a factor. I’m not saying the most expensive boot will definitely be the best one, but £30 Sports Direct shoes simply won’t cut it for proper hikes. A good pair of boots should last years when looked after correctly – do your sums, if you’d replace a pair of £50 Karrimor walkers twice a year, buy some better quality ones that’ll last longer.

Ordered Online? Wear them Excessively at Home. Returns policies are great – and you can return most things unused under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – so make sure you love your boots and they fit you right before you take them outside. Wear them indoors, hike the stairs slowly and quickly, repeatedly, carrying things. Make yourself a ramp and walk up and down it. Rock your feet back and forth in them and take note of how they feel.

Look for the big 3. All trekking shoes for any environment should be, at minimum, waterproof, breathable and with a sturdy grip. Don’t settle for anything less.

Finally I want to share what I’ve discovered to be the most important questions to ask when buying hiking boots. If the answer to these is “yes” then the boots get a big fat “No!”

Does my toe touch the tip of the shoe when standing/walking on flat?

Does my toe touch the tip of the shoe when descending?

Does the shoe allow my foot to move side-to-side inside?

Does my heel lift inside the shoe when I walk on flat or ascend?

Are they excessively heavy?

Do they pinch my foot at the top or sides?

Hopefully these tips will help you choose some great walking shoes that fit properly and help you enjoy hours of comfortable trekking!

If you have any tips to add, please feel free to chip in.

Kitty

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Travel Wishlist | Hiking Spots

Travel and dreaming of travel is a big part of my life – imagining where I might go is as fulfilling for me as actually going. I know I’m not the only one who gorges on wanderlust, so hopefully you can appreciate this post.

Here are some places I’m aching to visit – near and far in distance and time.

Have you been to these glorious spots? Tell me everything!

Baden Baden.jpgBaden Baden, South-West Germany.
The plan? Spend a day or two wandering wide-eyed around the beautiful Bavarian streets. Hitch a train to the Black Forest and hike a few days between campsites, eating the local things, practicing my (very bad) German.

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Everest Basecamp, Nepal.
The plan? Head to Kathmandu via Kolkata (Hi India, see you soon!) Board the impossibly tiny plane for the nail-biting flight to Lukla, throw on our boots and find out whether we can conquer the Himalayas. Ethically. See here.

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Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.
The Plan? Have some delicious Welsh food, hit the trails of Snowdon, walk all weekend and then move on to Ben Nevis. Not on the same day…

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Lough Hyne, County Cork, Ireland.
The plan? More hiking, but also this is one of the nearest places you can observe Bioluminescence, so naturally I have to go and see it. It doesn’t hurt that Cork is one of the loveliest places I’ve ever visited.

I’m conscious these are very hike-related travel wishes – thats just what I’m lovin’ at the moment.
Been to any of these places? Share some tips!!

Kitty

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