Walking boots are arguably the most important consideration when walking or hiking. The right walking boots and walking socks can mean the difference between an enjoyable walk and an uncomfortable, even dangerous one.
When selecting footwear it is important to consider location – the most suitable footwear is dependent on the terrain and environment you plan to be walking/hiking in.
If you’re going to be walking for a longer distance on uneven ground a walking boot is recommended over a shoe. The higher construction provides support and protection which is beneficial when walking on uneven ground where it can be very easy to twist your ankle. It is also more comfortable than a shoe around the lower leg which will help performance on longer distance walks, whilst also keeping more warmth in for use in colder temperatures.
If you are walking on more even ground then you may prefer a walking shoe. Walking shoes can be less obtrusive on the ankle and are lighter weight than a boot which allows for extra mobility and flexibility in the foot. They will not provide the same levels of support and protection that boots can offer however for a shorter distance walk in warmer weather walking shoes may be more suited.
Walking boots can be made with suede, leather or synthetic fabrics such as mesh and softshell. Overall fabric boots tend to be more lightweight than traditional leather uppers whilst leather boots can be more durable and long-lasting.
In our Mountain Warehouse footwear range we offer both types but also offer boots that have panels of fabric and leather which allows the boot to have the benefits of both materials.
For many, the choice is often down to personal preference but here are some pointers on the benefits of these upper materials:
Leather Walking Boots
|Tougher material so will cope in more abrasive areas||Heavier|
|Fully covered so will protect from elements well||Often more expensive|
|Long lasting if cared for properly||Takes time to wear in|
|Easy to clean||Less breathable than non-leather|
Fabric Walking Boots
|Lightweight||Doesn’t give as much protection against the elements|
|Breathable||Not as good in abrasive areas as leather footwear|
|Can be cheaper than leather||Can be harder to clean|
|Less breaking in required||May need reproofing more regularly|
Mountain Warehouse Walking Boots Range
Virtually all outsoles on walking boots or shoes will be made of rubber or thermoplastic rubber (TPR). Outsoles are designed to be super durable with sufficient traction and stability to ensure that the outsole is fit for use and will be long-lasting and comfortable for the wearer.
Vibram® is one of the most recognised brands of high performance outsoles on walking boots. Vibram soles are made from exclusive rubber compounds that have been thoroughly researched and designed with the end use solely in mind. They are renowned for providing exceptional grip and optimal stability thanks to the tread patterns that have been designed to enhance performance. The brand is constantly innovating and researching new outsoles and compounds to create even higher performing outsoles.
The upper refers to everything on the outside of the shoe, above the midsole. The upper can be made from a variety of materials but the most common would be leather/suede or fabric, usually mesh or softshell.
The insole is the inside part of the shoe and will sit underneath the foot, it’s also referred to as the footbed.
Insoles are often removable and can be replaced to improve comfort and fit. Take a look at a range of different insoles in our footwear accessories.
The midsole is a layer of material between the insole and outsole. It provides support and is important for shock absorption, whilst also protecting the wearer from sharp objects under foot with the addition of the outsole. Midsoles tend to be made from phylon or EVA.
The purpose of heel and toe bumpers is to protect your toes and heels from knocks, which is particularly important on rocky terrains. Heel and toe bumpers also protect the boot from damage so they last longer. They tend to be made from a textured synthetic material or scratch rubber, scratch rubber being more durable and effective but also more expensive.
The tongue is on the upper and it is important that it is padded enough to protect the top of the foot from the pressure of the laces. Padding on the tongue and collar around the ankle provides comfort and support as well as providing impact cushioning for tackling tough terrains.
There are generally two types of cut for a walking boot- mid and high. There is no such thing as a low cut walking boot, this would be a walking shoe.
Mid cut boots, opposed to shoes, protect your ankles and offer support, ideal for shorter day walks. Higher cut boots offer more ankle support on rougher terrains but do not allow the same flexibility as a mid-cut boot.
Now you know how to choose the best walking boots, why not use the links below to check out the Mountain Warehouse range.