These feet are made for walking

At the South West Outdoor Festival (23 to 25 September), Cotswold Outdoor will be talking you through how to find the right walking boots and look after your feet. Here's some hints and tips to get you started.

During the festival Cotswold Outdoor will be conducting free sessions demonstrating how to get the very best out of your feet by treating them properly and finding the correct protection for them – boots that perfectly suit your unique requirements.

To give you head-start, here are a few questions you might like to ask yourself:

Where are you going?

Are you sticking to well-trodden and predictable paths? If so, you can go for a lightweight boot or shoe with a reasonable amount of flexibility.

But if you intend to move over uneven, broken or very steep ground then you will need a more rigid boot with good ankle support. You get the idea; the further you’re likely to stray from even, flat land, the more sturdy your boots need to be.

Have you got the correct fit?

Fitting isn’t just about the size of your feet, it’s also about the shape. This takes in many factors including the width of your heel and the flexibility of your toes.

It is always worth being accurately measured by an expert who cans talk through your needs to help you find the boot that is best for you.

Are they waterproof?

Nobody wants soggy, uncomfortable feet. As the majority of modern boots are lined with a waterproof membrane, the simple answer will usually be yes.

But you don’t just want to stop the wet from getting in; you need to let it out too. In other words, if you don’t want sweaty feet you need your boots to breathe.

Get the right kit from Cotswold Outdoor, our recommended outdoor partner
Cotswold Outdoor walking tips
Get the right kit from Cotswold Outdoor, our recommended outdoor partner

Leather or synthetic?

Traditionally leather boots were more durable and easier to care for, whereas synthetic boots were lighter and required less ‘breaking in’.

But thanks to advances in materials, the differences are less pronounced. What this means is that the amount of choice has never been better.

How about the socks?

While you’re getting fitted, check out the socks too. The correct socks - with the right padding, insulation, wicking, and elasticity – makes a big difference to the feel of the boots and different socks suit different applications.

Experts can also advise on footwear biomechanics, gait analysis, pronation, barefoot theory, stretches and warm ups; but, don’t forget, the two most important things to consider are the terrain you will be travelling over and the fit of the overall boot - if you get these two things right then the rest will easily fall into place.