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Thread: Hiking Boots

  1. #1
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    Default Hiking Boots

    The girlfriend and I are going to do a hike up Snowdon in October for charity and a mate was telling us to buy 2nd hand boots off ebay change the inner soles and do this as they have been broken in and no blisters to be had!

    Anyone got any experience and tips? I normally end up walking down steep mountains in my flipflops whilst on hol

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    Ex Vec-C Admin ed taylor's Avatar
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    I would recomend you try chris brasher walking boots. I bought a pair they did not need any breaking in. Perhaps visit a walking/mountainering shop and have aword with them. I am very inpressed with my brasher boots they are not heavey at all. But give firm and comfortable support to the ankles. On my first use of them. My fet were as "good as new" when I took them of. The rest of me was tired though. Give them smoe thought I think they are good.

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    Went up Snowdon in my working boots ( steel toe-capped ) and a good pair of hiking socks. It's not that hard a climb/walk going up the pyg or miners paths - It's that one over Crib Goch that scares the hell out of me.

    Better still, take the train up

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    snowdon is a doddle if you stick to the tourist routes (unless you walk via the knife edge crib goch - bring a spare pair of pants for that).
    if you intend to stick at hillwalking, and maybe do some of the munros sometime: -
    Meindl or Scarpa are two good makes. these are quite expensive but should last ages if looked after.
    Last edited by Hideous; 20th June 2010 at 21:24.

  5. #5
    spoons
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed taylor View Post
    I would recomend you try chris brasher walking boots.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hideous View Post
    Meindl or Scarpa are two good makes. these are quite expensive but should last ages if looked after.
    I was just going to recommend the above two makes... Brasher and Meindl

    I've got a pair of Meindl boots (fitted me better than Brasher, at the time)... had them for years and they are absolutely ace for walking in, so comfortable and supportive

    Also, you can just replace the soles when they wear out, so keeping the rest of the boot if you want.

    Meindl = 100% recommended

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    all good posts above and yep its route dependant- you woudl probably do it in your flip flops but to be safe .... a decent set of Merrell hiking trainers would suffice then there still trendy enough to wear afterwards and very very comfortable

    0-Large smile ......every time it's driven

  7. #7
    spoons
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    Quote Originally Posted by deztroyer View Post
    all good posts above and yep its route dependant- you woudl probably do it in your flip flops but to be safe .... a decent set of Merrell hiking trainers would suffice then there still trendy enough to wear afterwards and very very comfortable
    I used to have Merrell and they are very comfortable. The only reason I didnt recommend them is they dont last as long. So I found them to be a false economy in the long run.

    Whereas 'Brasher' and 'Mindl' cost twice or three times more, but last 5-10 times longer. Very comfortable and hard wearing boots (but they look like brown leather hiking boots) lol

    Once I settle into a good pair of boots, I dont want to give them up, so longevity was a high priority for me

    Just a thought..

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    Quote Originally Posted by spoons View Post
    I used to have Merrell and they are very comfortable. The only reason I didnt recommend them is they dont last as long. So I found them to be a false economy in the long run.

    Whereas 'Brasher' and 'Mindl' cost twice or three times more, but last 5-10 times longer. Very comfortable and hard wearing boots (but they look like brown leather hiking boots) lol

    Once I settle into a good pair of boots, I dont want to give them up, so longevity was a high priority for me

    Just a thought..
    agreed mate, it depends on the price and quality of the merchandise - i have 2 sets of merrells - one of em is 5 years old and i used them for orienteering and rock hopping in devon - they were £90 so i suppose this puts them at the middle escelon on the price scale - my other set were around £70 and even over £20 you can see the difference in quality

    0-Large smile ......every time it's driven

  9. #9
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    Right, a serious post from me for a change. I am a Scout Activity Instructor, specialising in caving, climbing and abseiling but have also held qualifications for hill walking and mountaineering. I have also spent a lot of time walking and so this advice is largely based on my personal experience.

    Firstly, if you're going walking in any kind of mountainous terrain, it is highly recommended to have proper boots with ankle support. Even if you're an experienced fell-runner, fell-running shoes or trainer-type shoes (even with Vibram soles) could leave you with a broken ankle half-way up a mountain, which really is not a good place to be.

    There are essentially two main types of boot - traditional leather or modern fabric, which can have varying levels of Gortex (or equivalent) to keep them waterproof. Whilst leather boots are strong, they are also heavy, need to be worn in, regularly coated in 'dubbin' to keep them waterproof and do not allow your feet to 'breathe'. Fabric boots of any kind will allow your feet to 'breathe', though Gortex will be more waterproof, are lighter and will need regularly coating with one of a multitide of products available to keep them fully waterproof. Personally I've not had leather boots for over 20 years.

    I would very wary of buying secondhand boots off eBay... Whilst it is true that you could put new insoles in, they would still require a few miles walking for the insoles to 'bed in' to your feet. Also the various manufactures sizes all vary slightly, so if you were going to do that route, I'd recommend trying on a new pair of the boots in a shop to check the size is right before purchasing them off the internet (don't just assume because you're 'a size 10' that's the size you should get). You also have to remember that, unless they are very new, the soles will have worn to the style of the previous owner's walking, which may be very different from your own and will take some time to wear to your own style, which may feel a little odd when walking. In the most extreme of cases, this could lead to you (even subconciously) changing your gait and causing injuries - pulled muscles or even joint damage. I had a very painful knee a few years back that was traced back to having overtightened one boot for 12 miles...

    As for brand, it's largely a personal thing, though some makes of boot fit some people better than others due to the width/height of their feet. When we bought a pair of boots for my wife, we spent about 2½ hours (in Cotswold Outdoor in Keswick) trying on about 20 pairs of boots until we found the 'right' pair. Time well spent, she's not had any blisters. Like everything, with some boots 'the name' will have a price weighting, without any increase in actually quality or features. Personally, I've had 3 pairs of Karrimor KSB 3s over the last 15 years and have never had any problem, once walking 26 miles on them straight out of the box, with no blisters.

    On that topic, blisters, the socks you wear will have a larger impact on whether you get any or not than the actual boot, though wearing someone else's or poorly fitting boots will obviously also affect this. Personally I recommend the 2-sock method (I use Bridgedale) - a thin liner sock (e.g. Coolmax) underneath a thicker outer sock (e.g. Comfort Summit), the thickness of which varies on the season. This means that any slipping of your foot in the boot is between sock layers, rather than your foot and the sock. If you still get blisters with this method then it will be because the boots are too small/badly fitting or you have under/over tightened them. Since moving to using two pairs of socks, I've not had a single blister, even when walking 46 miles in one go. Also, never wear cotton socks (or T-shirts or trousers!) when walking as they don't wick away moisture and will keep you feet (or torso/legs/groin) sweaty.

    Take your time to chose your boots (and socks!), keep them clean and waterproofed and they will last you a long time. You can then enjoy the walk rather than worrying about your feet.

    As for Snowdon, I'm guessing that as it's a charity thing the route is already planned. My personal favourite route is to start at the car park on the A498 in the Nant Gwynant valley, head north up to the waterfalls, then cut across to the west, then north up Clogwny Du to join the Snowdon ranger path up Bwlch Main and on up to the summit, coming back down the Watkin path and completing the circular part of the walk just after the Gladstone Rock. This is route GW117 on Go4aWalk.com (though I walk it in reverse). This is the route with the largest ascent, as one starts almost at sea level, goes through some interesting mining remains and has some cracking views (assuming you're not in cloud the whole time!).

    Whatever boots you decide to buy and whichever route you take, I hope you get good weather and have a great time. Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie View Post
    Right, a serious post from me for a change. I am a Scout Activity Instructor, specialising in caving, climbing and abseiling but have also held qualifications for hill walking and mountaineering. I have also spent a lot of time walking and so this advice is largely based on my personal experience.

    Firstly, if you're going walking in any kind of mountainous terrain, it is highly recommended to have proper boots with ankle support. Even if you're an experienced fell-runner, fell-running shoes or trainer-type shoes (even with Vibram soles) could leave you with a broken ankle half-way up a mountain, which really is not a good place to be.

    There are essentially two main types of boot - traditional leather or modern fabric, which can have varying levels of Gortex (or equivalent) to keep them waterproof. Whilst leather boots are strong, they are also heavy, need to be worn in, regularly coated in 'dubbin' to keep them waterproof and do not allow your feet to 'breathe'. Fabric boots of any kind will allow your feet to 'breathe', though Gortex will be more waterproof, are lighter and will need regularly coating with one of a multitide of products available to keep them fully waterproof. Personally I've not had leather boots for over 20 years.

    I would very wary of buying secondhand boots off eBay... Whilst it is true that you could put new insoles in, they would still require a few miles walking for the insoles to 'bed in' to your feet. Also the various manufactures sizes all vary slightly, so if you were going to do that route, I'd recommend trying on a new pair of the boots in a shop to check the size is right before purchasing them off the internet (don't just assume because you're 'a size 10' that's the size you should get). You also have to remember that, unless they are very new, the soles will have worn to the style of the previous owner's walking, which may be very different from your own and will take some time to wear to your own style, which may feel a little odd when walking. In the most extreme of cases, this could lead to you (even subconciously) changing your gait and causing injuries - pulled muscles or even joint damage. I had a very painful knee a few years back that was traced back to having overtightened one boot for 12 miles...

    As for brand, it's largely a personal thing, though some makes of boot fit some people better than others due to the width/height of their feet. When we bought a pair of boots for my wife, we spent about 2½ hours (in Cotswold Outdoor in Keswick) trying on about 20 pairs of boots until we found the 'right' pair. Time well spent, she's not had any blisters. Like everything, with some boots 'the name' will have a price weighting, without any increase in actually quality or features. Personally, I've had 3 pairs of Karrimor KSB 3s over the last 15 years and have never had any problem, once walking 26 miles on them straight out of the box, with no blisters.

    On that topic, blisters, the socks you wear will have a larger impact on whether you get any or not than the actual boot, though wearing someone else's or poorly fitting boots will obviously also affect this. Personally I recommend the 2-sock method (I use Bridgedale) - a thin liner sock (e.g. Coolmax) underneath a thicker outer sock (e.g. Comfort Summit), the thickness of which varies on the season. This means that any slipping of your foot in the boot is between sock layers, rather than your foot and the sock. If you still get blisters with this method then it will be because the boots are too small/badly fitting or you have under/over tightened them. Since moving to using two pairs of socks, I've not had a single blister, even when walking 46 miles in one go. Also, never wear cotton socks (or T-shirts or trousers!) when walking as they don't wick away moisture and will keep you feet (or torso/legs/groin) sweaty.

    Take your time to chose your boots (and socks!), keep them clean and waterproofed and they will last you a long time. You can then enjoy the walk rather than worrying about your feet.

    As for Snowdon, I'm guessing that as it's a charity thing the route is already planned. My personal favourite route is to start at the car park on the A498 in the Nant Gwynant valley, head north up to the waterfalls, then cut across to the west, then north up Clogwny Du to join the Snowdon ranger path up Bwlch Main and on up to the summit, coming back down the Watkin path and completing the circular part of the walk just after the Gladstone Rock. This is route GW117 on Go4aWalk.com (though I walk it in reverse). This is the route with the largest ascent, as one starts almost at sea level, goes through some interesting mining remains and has some cracking views (assuming you're not in cloud the whole time!).

    Whatever boots you decide to buy and whichever route you take, I hope you get good weather and have a great time. Good luck!
    Great write up mate, I own Karrimor and the wife merrill. She had for years no problem, she walks a lot. I agree that everything design and shoes are up to the individual taste and how it fits.

    Ollie, knows what he is talking about, as he does this for a living. You and the misses go and try a few on, to see how you get on with them.

    Good luck mate, look forward to the outcome.

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