Gear, Shoes Versus Boots, Food and Drink

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We are loving seeing so many of you out again in our ‘real’ groups as we follow the Government roadmap out of lockdown. The weather has been variable to say the least, but as the old saying goes there is no such thing as bad weather if you have the right clothing.  So, this month we thought we would have a quick run through of how to be prepared for walking in all weathers, by sharing the wisdom we have gained during our years of walking.  Let’s start by looking at footwear:

Walking Boots V Walking Shoes:

The main difference between walking boots and shoes is the collar around the ankle.  This collar is great at providing a barrier to the wet and can be helpful in keeping out the mud, stones and small twigs from your boots thus preventing you feeling uncomfortable.  The raised collar offers support when walking along rocky or uneven terrain and makes walking more comfortable particularly over long steep ascents (that said, the best way to ensure resilience to ankle injuries is to focus on balance, strengthening and stretching your ankles).  The cons to walking boots are that they tend to feel heavier to wear, are less flexible and can put more strain on the joint for longer distances. Whilst boots are labelled as waterproof, they do need maintenance to preserve this function.

Walking shoes are less restrictive than boots, they are designed to be a cross between a trainer and walking boots.  If you are walking more on trails, farmland, hills and even some mountains or using poles and need the flexibility for the rolling gait, then walking shoes or a trail shoe may provide a more comfortable and lighter option and help you keep up with a faster paced walk. Certain designs of shoes are suitable for different disciplines.  They are also more comfortable than boots in the hot weather as most are made of breathable materials.  If you are walking for long distances and you don’t need the extra support and protection of walking boots, you’ll likely want to choose walking shoes due to them being more lightweight and comfortable over longer distances.

When buying footwear for walking, remember the key points are: 1) feels comfortable right away, 2) sole have a good grip, 3) have a deep sole padding 4) are breathable, 5) will quickly dry and finally 6) fit the type of walk you are going on. Brands we can recommend are those such as Grubs (click on link, enquire for the discount code) Berghaus, Meindl, Merrell, Salomon (good for narrow feet) Scarpa, Grisport, Innov8 shoes – these offer big grip soles and are light and flexible.

Poorly fitted and laced walking footwear are the main reasons for blisters. Your feet should be snug and not shift around as you walk. Choose footwear that works with your feet.

When your shoes or boots are worn out you can recycle them into plant pots.

Clothing:

Good quality outdoor clothing is really important, and layering is key. Clothing should be lightweight and include waterproof socks if your shoes are not trustworthy; waterproof trousers, wind tops, base layers, all of which can be packed into your rucksack.  Sam loves Smart Wool socks for all seasons, they are her favourites but she will often be seen in the Sealskin waterproof socks in wet weather. For low level walks always be well prepared, especially if you plan to be out all day. We also love our Flanci Activewear(click on link)leggings and Skorts for women, with the side pocket for your phone.

Food and Drink:

And…we cannot forget to mention in this article how important it is to also ensure that you have adequate food and water in your rucksack as the best clothing in the world won’t be enough to ensure the safety and enjoyment of your walk.  Fuel is everything, so it is wise to have plenty of snacks and water to keep you hydrated.

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