It’s pretty much commonly agreed that boots, or more accurately, footwear is the most important piece of equipment a walker should posses. Even the naked rambler had boots on! You can do without almost any other piece of equipment, but you will always want something on your feet.

Getting a good pair of boots is therefore very important and typically the ease of achieving a task is inversely proportional to its importance. Such has been my experience, at least, in finding a good pair of boots.

My first boots, back when I first started walking in 2004, were a pair of Lowa boots, bought mainly on the basis of their price and the fact that they seemed to fit okay in the outdoor superstore I was in at the time. No expert fitting advice from a bearded sales assistants with 20 years experience of backpacking and hiking for me! Oh no, I went to Decathlon and found the second cheapest set of size 11’s I could find.

Surprisingly they were okay – obviously I had no benchmark to compare them to – but I never got a blister from them, they didn’t leave my feet aching at the end of the day and I sort of expected them to last 10 years or so. As it was I managed to put a rip in the right boot, just back from the toe box on a walk one day and they started to let water in. They lasted me just over a year.

This was rather worrying, as at the time I had my Coast to Coast walk coming up in less than four months and needed to find something reliable and comfortable and break them in before I set out for St. Bees. As the choice of my first set of boots had been something of a lottery, I decided to listen to recommendations for this next pair. I looked in Trail and they had recently voted Scarpa’s ZeroG 10 boot their best buy award. I also decided to seek professional advice in their fitting, so I went to Ellis Brigham in Chester <read more…>

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4 thoughts on “Boots & Shoes”

  1. Use Altberg boots myself and am well impressed with them, the only slight criticism I have is that the vibram soles can be slipply on wet rock, used merrill walking shoes for many years, also with a vibram sole but with a much better grip, sadly the quality of merrill shoes has been going down in recent years hence the change to boots.

  2. Couldn’t agree more about needing decent boots. A pair of leather Berghaus boots lasted for more than 25 years until I decided to modernise with a pair of German Meindls. The best walking purchase I’ve made and – despite initial reservations about the Goretex – wouldn’t swap them for anything. Apparently the company makes boots for German paratroopers!

  3. I liked reading your boot reviews and have to agree with what you say about them.. My neices husband doesn’t bother with them however… ,,,
    I’m currently using Alt-Bergs and have found them to be trouble free..

    1. I’ve heard lots of good reviews on Altberg boots and a couple of friends have decided to switch to them on their next purchase. I think there’s a lot to be said for a well made traditional leather boot. My only concern is the weight, I don’t want to go back to big clunky boots again 🙂

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