Choosing the right footwear can be a tricky business, so Mountain Warehouse has compiled this handy mini-guide to the season ratings we apply to our walking shoes and hiking boots. Whether you're walking the dog in your local park or guiding a pack of huskies through the Arctic Circle, you can be sure that you're choosing the right footwear for the job with this informative guide.

A season rating is the estimation of how many weather seasons the boot would perform in, and is an indication of the extremity it could continue to function well in. Most boots in our range are 2-3 season hiking boots. This means that they will be suitable to wear in 2-3 seasons of the year - more or less all year round apart from in snow. A 2 season boot will generally be suitable for spring and summer conditions, with a terrain that is fairly firm and low level and not particularly steep. A 2 season boot will offer flexibility and breathability, but will not be suitable for circumstances where the terrain is rocky and weather is very cold, wet or snowy.

Examples of our 2-3 season hiking boots are; Esk hiking boot, Traveller hiking boot and the Explorer hiking boot. A good 3-season hiking boot is wearable all year-round but is not designed for very extreme conditions, for example, glacier walks or scaling Everest. Our Ascent hiking boot is a good all round hiking boot that will keep feet warm and dry in most circumstances, but should not be in extremely cold conditions.

A 3 season boot will generally be required on paths that are steeper and more difficult than those found in lower level walking trips and where you will be walking in most seasons and most weather conditions, except of course snow & ice. These boots can be made from leather, like our full grain leather Viper Boot, or fabric, like our Osprey Waterproof Hiking Boot, and will have a waterproof liner. The sole should provide effective support and the boot will be fully waterproof, as well as having an effective grip and tread to prevent slippage in rocky terrain. A great 3 season boot would be our Egret hiking boot, Viper hiking boot or Atlas hiking boot.

4 Season Boots A 4 season hiking boot is footwear that is technically suitable for all 4 seasons of the year, and can be used in the most testing of conditions.