Interested in reading Dave’s reply. As a heavier chap (18 stone) I’m really hard on most footwear and found that the cheaper end of the walking boot market can fall apart within the first hundred miles.
Of the past dozen or so pairs I’ve bought, I’ve only been truly happy with one – a pair of second-hand synthetic Salomon’s I got off ebay for £30 as a punt. They’ve lasted all of 2013 and so far into 2014, and covered around four hundred miles and still have grip, although they haven’t been waterproof for a long time. They also have great cushioning, something that I value a lot. Best boots I’ve ever had by some margin, and I’m not looking forwards to the day they do finally peg it.
I’ve tried a couple of other pairs of Salomon’s and they vary in comfort – the last pair I got (also ebay – a risky business buying untried!) were apparently a narrow fit, which damn near crippled me after even half a mile. I had to take them off and walk back across the moor in my socks!
I noticed Dave’s mention of Muck boots in his logs on my latest series and it made me look them up. Interesting, but it’s something I would definitely have to try out in a shop.
The winter we’ve had though – shocking – and I can’t remember the last time I came back from a decent walk with completely dry socks. When I worked in the woods, wearing boots through another wet winter, I actually developed the early stages of trenchfoot because the boots never dried out!