Walking Across Europe is superb so get on your walking boots to see the region at its very best and really get away from it all.
One of the most important pieces of outdoor wear you’ll ever purchase for your walks is a good-quality pair of hiking boots. Here are the main tips of how to get the right walking boots.
First of all, you do not want to skimp when picking out footwear, as the wrong pair of shoes or walking boots can cause blisters, discomfort, sprains or even more serious injuries. As a general rule the price of a pair of walking boots will directly reflect the quality of the footwear, so you better save your money for a pair of good quality boots in order to have a great walking holiday.
Secondly, even though it sounds unbelievable, it’s important when you’re heading to buy your walking boots. Shop for walking boots in the afternoon! Why? During the day your feet expand as you walk on them and their volume increases due to increased blood flow. So, it’s not a first thing in the morning to do, when your feet are smallest.
Due to the fact that you must measure boots before buying them, don’t buy them online. You’ll spend more money for delivery costs, if you’ll need to exchange your purchase. Besides, you can exchange your boots or get full refund in a shop, but the main rule for that – wear them indoors. Try to wear your boots around your house at every opportunity in order to soften up the fabrics and mold the boots to the shape of your feet. Only after such ritual you can climb the mountains without any worries or discomfort.
Talking about comfort, buying your first pair of walking boots it is worth choosing comfort over durability. If you select a durable pair of boots when you have just taken up walking then you might give up very soon due to the discomfort!
Therefore, we advise you to get fabric boots rather than leather if you are a beginner in walking. Leather boots are more suitable for mountain climbing, whereas fabric footwear is perfect for plain terrain. Even tough, it’s not as tough or durable as leather, modern fabric footwear offers better comfort and breathability.
Another very important thing to know is that the fewer pieces of material used in boot construction, the less chances you will have of a boot being uncomfortable or more importantly leaking. If you have a one piece construction there are fewer seams for water to get in for example in comparison to say a three piece construction.
Pay attention to the shape of your walking footwear. As there are trekking shoes which look and feel very comfortable but there is no ankle support provided by boots. You’ll be satisfied by trekking shoes without the ankle support if you travel on a flat surface. But you’ll regret if you choose such boots for walking on uneven terrain as you risk of getting an ankle injury.
Ideally, you should have socks that are especially made for walking / trekking.
Don’t try your walking boots on with your normal day to day socks, get some designed hiking socks. Proper walking socks will all offer some cushioning and help prevent blisters. Proper socks and good boots are the main ingredients for happy feet.
You will not get the benefit of your boots if you are wearing them with the nylon football boot socks that have been rotting in your sock drawer since you left school.
The right clothing is essential to ensure you have an enjoyable walk. The layer system of clothing will provide you with comfort and protection from the outdoor elements. It means you can change your layers according to the conditions and your exertion level.
Base layer is the closest to the skin. Generally, it should be synthetic, though merino wool will do too. Base layers are designed to wick the moisture away from your skin and out to the next layer, or if the weather is good, out to the fresh air. Whereas, cotton clothing keeps the moisture and you’ll get cold very soon. So, wear only synthetic tee-shirts or long-sleeved thermal shirts as well as synthetic shorts or trousers (or two-in-one zip-off trousers)! This will help to keep you warm and comfortable as having wet clothing next to the skin will draw the heat away from you body very quickly. Another important criteria, if you’re out on a long distance and want to keep clean without carrying too much kit, is that base layers are quick and easy to wash and dry quickly.
Mid layers provide the essential warmth that you need when out in the hills walking. For mid layer warmth and comfort, choose a fleece or a synthetic material. Moreover, check if mid-layers come lined with a wind-blocking membrane. It will save you from the wind without the need to put your outer waterproof jacket on. However, waterproof and windproof fleeces tend to weight more than simple fleece. So, the choice comes after you: whether you prefer a protection from wind and water or cosiness and lightness.