At one point, walking boots were something you bought in walking boot shops after taking technical advice and paying lots of money. And there are instances when that is still necessary, such as, if you want to wear your boots with crampons or go on a once-in-a-lifetime week-long trek.
However, and I’ll say this quietly so the outdoor gear dinosaurs don’t hear, I don’t think it’s necessary most of the time.
What I do think is necessary is a boot that’s comfy and supportive, plus grippy enough to help keep you upright no matter how lumpy or slippery the going is. That’s all.
What I look for:
Ankle support – so laces that go quite high up a stiff, yet padded, boot top.
Lack of weight – I’ve worn heavy boots for long enough to know I’d rather not.
Flexibility – They need to give a bit or my feet and legs get sore. Think about what moves when you walk, it isn’t that much different when you go up a hill.
Soft insole – Comfort requirement.
Hard outer soul – Comfort requirement. I don’t want to feel every stone. Plus they need to have lumpy enough grips to stop me skidding around (never a good look).
Inconspicuous looks – I want to put my boots on and wear them all day without shopkeepers etc yelling “take those boots off before you come in here madam”.
Driving – I need to be able to drive in my boots because I can’t be bothered with all that hopping around on one leg in rain-lashed laybys while you change nonsense.
Waterproofing – The must be waterproof enough to cope with shallow puddles and bogs, yet breathable enough so my feet don’t sweat and stink.
Durability – I want my boots to do all of these things for some time and many miles.
My new Hi-tec boots – with pink trim so that no one in my house nicks them – have only done two days in the great outdoors but so far do all of those things perfectly. I have worn them all day without any discomfort, driven, clambered over things and – of course – it has been wet. My feet are beautifully happy and dry. The boots still look (and smell) great.
I was sent a pair of boots to review.