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Click here to see our walk from Crickhowell up to the Ffawyddog and then return via the canal..love this walk
Hints & Tips
We are often asked, ‘which is the best walking boot’? Our answer…the one which fits your foot! We’re not been flippant with this reply either, there are many factors which determine which is best for you.
What you wear on your feet can make or break your adventure, even if it’s just a local walk! We’d put footwear as the number one priority for any adventure along with good waterproofs, this is why we prefer to sell footwear face to face so we can ask questions, look at your feet and ensure you have the correct boot or shoe for your feet…after all, we are all different!
We thought we’d put together a guide on what to look for when buying footwear, questions you need to ask yourself and tips to look at to determine whether a boot is a good fit or not.
The first question to ask yourself, is what are you using them for….and don’t just say walking mr wise guy!! Footwear comes in a variety of heights and flexibility, waterproof or not, so you need to decide where you are walking, high rugged terrain or low level paths. Will you need something very supportive, or something slightly soft and forgiving. Some footwear has a stiff sole unit with not a lot of flex in it, great for rugged and rocky paths where you can just walk over them and others are softer, the surface of the path can be easily felt underfoot with these. Models are often available in a low, shoe version, a mid version and a full boot. What you decide on depends again on where you will mostly be using them and how much ankle support you want. Most people opt for waterproof lined footwear, great for our weather but they will be warmer than non waterproof footwear. Essentially you are putting your foot in a very posh plastic bag!! If you are travelling somewhere warm (whenever that will be!!) you may consider a non waterproof option.
What size should you buy? Generally speaking, for walking boots or shoes, you can use your regular shoe size as a guide, but expect to up a half size or even a full size for a boot. Remember you will be wearing thicker socks and your feel will get warmer so will expand and this needs to be adjusted for. It’s always best wear the walking socks you would normally wear whilst out when trying boots on. There is nothing worse than walking down hill in footwear which is too small and you end up with bruised toe nails, or losing them completely…! There are two ways we use to check size. Remove the insole from the boot, lay it on the floor and stand on it (when you stand, the foot spreads), with your heel right in the cup of the insole. You should be able to fit a finger width ways across the top of the toes. If you can’t get this finger width, then the footwear is too small. The other method is to pop the footwear on the foot, shift the foot right to the front of the boot, (without the laces been tied) then stand and see if a finger can reach down behind your heel. If you can’t, again the boot is too small, if you can get more than one finger down, then the boot is too big!!
Once the correct size has been determined, now it’s time to lace them up..and don’t think that is straight forward either!! Ensure the heel of your foot is comfortably in the heel cup of the boot, knock your ankle back into the boot gently, then lace firmly up from the toes. The fingertips should just fit under the laces, not the whole finger. The idea is to hold the foot nicely in place. Remember the boot is designed and built to be supportive and it will only do this if your foot is in the right place. Once the lacing is done, you should be able to tell if there is plenty of room around the toes, that the top of the toe box isn’t pressing down onto your toes, or there is too much flex or crease in the top of the boot when you walk. If there is too little room, you may need a boot with a deeper volume in the toe area, if there is too much flex, then the converse if true. If left, it will cause the leather or fabric to wear prematurely causing cracks and reduce the life of the boot.
Julie Bell and her faithful companion Lottie, from Simply Strolling tested it out whilst she was in Snowdownia for a couple of days last year…
Review of MSR Trail Shot
I was lucky enough to be bought a voucher for Crickhowell Adventure for Christmas which I’d earmarked for an MSR Trail Shot.
This summer it has really come into its own when I’m wild camping. As I have a dog I have to carry extra kit anyway so any weight reduction is a boon. I am usually okay with drinking from high up streams but this summer has been so dry that even the rivers are more like trickles, water temps are rising and I just want the reassurance of knowing that I’m not going to get a dicky tum … or worse….. from being out and drinking from water sources. Add to that the fact you can see larvae etc in some of the smaller streams I don’t see the point in chancing it!
That’s where the MSR Trail Shot comes in. You can either drink straight from the water source through the mouth piece using the hand pump or “pump” the water into whatever you are carrying your water in. I hate the taste of chlorine tablets so this is a happy middle ground for me and as I’ve been caught short with water in the baking temperatures this summer this has been fantastic just to have in my pack. The pic is me coming down after camping in the Carneddau in July. Why did I take it under Tryfan then? Cose it looks cooler than just taking a pic in a place that could be anywhere, and we were about 1.5km away from the car still, in need of a drink and somewhere to cool off our feet, and paws.
Julie and Lottie