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Walking Boots - What you should know
Whether you climb, walk or run, what you wear on your feet is crucial if they are to carry you through a day of activity. Get your footwear wrong and you open up up a world of pain that can stop you right in your tracks - literally!

5 things to consider when buying a new pair of boots:

1. Climate : You need to fit the boot to the intended climate. That means choosing lightweight and airy footwear for hot climates, midweight boots with good waterproofing for temperate climates and something with dependable warmth for colder alpine destinations. If there's going to be water around, make sure that your shoe is quick drying or go for an active sandal.

2. Women Specific : You should already have got the idea that fit is everything for a successful day on the mountain - that's why there are so many women-specific boots being produced these days. There are many brands covering many different styles and functions - there's no longer any need for you to wear a small men's boot!

3. Socks : Put on the wrong walking socks and even the best fitted boots will be compromised, leading to blisters irritated feet or even frostbite. Socks should wick moisture away from your feet, provide a good level of warmth (even when wet) and fit your feet well.

4. Foot Beds : At first glance, foot beds seem to be another expense you hadn't bargained for, but in reality, they will improve your comfort and increase your stamina. the different can be huge with boots fitting better, feet being better supported and stress taken out of overworked knee and hip joints.

5. Crampons and Compatibility : If you need crampons for alpine expediitons or winter walking, then please ensure they are matched to the compatibility of your walking boots. For a crampon to work successfully, it must be attached to a boot that has an equal or better rating. For this reason all suitable boots are given a rating (B1, B2 or B3), which corresponds to the rating of the crampon (see below).

  • Boot Ratings
    • B1 : Four season boots with a stiff midsole suitable for traversing fairly steep slopes.
    • B2 : Four-season mountaineering boots with a stiff flex.
    • B3 : Technical mountaineering boots with a fully rigid midsole and supportive upper.
  • Crampon Ratings
    • C1 : Designed for walking purposes only, attached with straps.
    • C2 : Suitable for general mountaineering and low-grade ice climbs.
    • C3 : For technical ice climbing, with modular front points - attached with a heel clip and toe bail.
Boot RatingCrampon Rating
B1C1
B2C1, C2
B3C1, C2, C3

A Walking Boot Deconstructed:

1. High Cut Ankle : A higher cut ankle offers more support when walking in rugged terrain and when carrying a relatively heavy backpack. It will also help to prevent stones and pebbles getting inside the boot. Boots with stiffer soles tend to feature higher cuts but will often compensate by having additional flex in the ankle area.

2. Leather Upper : The construction of a boot's upper will depend on its function. Expedition boots will feature full leather uppers for excellent durability and comfort, while hiking and approach footwear will tent to be a mixture of leather and mesh. This combination of fabrics offers and blend of support, durability and breathability, making it ideal for warmer climates and high activity.

3. Rubber Randing : Often used on the toe, heel and ankle area for extra protection. The rubber rand will not only protect the feet from stones and debris, but will also protect the leather of the boot in areas of very high abrasion..

4. The Sole Unit : The sole unit of any footwear is critical to its success. Weight, stiffness, grip pattern and shock absorption all need to be balanced to work in any given environment. Make sure you think about your needs before making a final choice.

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