Reply To: BOOTS!

Avatar photodartymoor

It’s very interesting that many walkers expect to get wet feet when walking on Dartmoor. I’ve read it time and time again in the logs and so many of our guests here come back with sodden footwear and wet feet and dartymoor admits to the same 😥 !

Now now, that’s not what I said!

I don’t expect wet feet, but I accept them as a hazard of the job. And really, when you’re not going to be wet all day, every day, it doesn’t matter. Yes, it’s nicer to be dry, but wet feet can still be warm and comfortable, and it’s actually one of life’s little luxuries to peel off wet socks and feel them dry out. Don’t deny me that, Dave.

I’ve spent a fortune on boots over my life, working and walking – probably in excess of 60 pairs – and these are the lessons I’ve learned, and it’s rather glum reading:

Cheap boots can be very comfortable in the shop. But they don’t last.

Expensive boots can be so uncomfortable you won’t find out whether they last or not.

If you’re heavy, all boots will fail sooner. The seams unstitch or the sole splits. To be fair, I wouldn’t want me walking on me either.

Leather boots will leak sooner or later.

Synthetic boots will leak sooner or later.

Very good quality boots delay the inevitable as does proper maintenance and proofing/waxing, but not always in an even scale to what you paid.

I take Dave’s point about good maintenance and proofing, but once stitch goes or any element of the system fails (which may be in days or weeks from new), no amount of proofing will help. I don’t think non-heavy people appreciate the hammering a big bloke’s boots suffer from. (And before anyone scoffs, think how fit I must be to carry this much weight, and a pack for miles! Fitter than you skinny buggers!)

Wellies: I own two pairs of green dunlops cost around £15 a pair. They do a fine job of keeping water out, but no welly I’ve found fits well enough to prevent rubbing. (It took me a long time to figure out why my leg hairs stopped in an even line just below my knees – I thought I had some sort of disease!). I can walk up to about four miles in wellies, then rubbing sets in and things go downhill rapidly. I would much prefer a walking boot, even if my feet were wet in it. If it fits, wet or dry I don’t get rubs or chafes. That was why I was interested in the neoprene style, I’m thinking they’re probably more comfortable and I’m willing to try them out; but as with normal ones, they can’t breathe so any amount of sweat will make you just as wet as leaky boots.

Trainers: My friend walks considerable distances in normal trainers, including moor walking in winter. I prefer more support, but will occasionally go walking in them in the summer. After heavy boots it’s like having helium-feet.

Today I walked just over six miles doing the Royal Hill circuit. I know from his logs that Dave also found this A) Harder going than expected, and B) Extremely wet. He wasn’tkidding. My socks were soaked within the first half mile but it didn’t matter. They were warm and comfortable, just a bit squelchy and eft a considerable puddle in the chip shop at Princetown whilst waiting to be served on the way home.

Note that I’m especially considerate of my feet right now as I broke my big toe just over two weeks ago, which means I needed painkillers today, but not because of dampness – more jumping across a stream and landing badly. I should not be doing rough walking at all, but my mental health benefits from being out and that’s just as important.

Alas, today was the last day of my beloved and faithful Salomons. There are now several holes evident in the uppers, and the sole has worn down so much that I was slipping when descending wet grass almost constantly. I shall give them a full-honours Nordic funeral. (Each one will light a fire in my woodburner once they’ve dried out)

Now – another can of worms. Compounds! Do you want boots that will give good grip on granite? If so, don’t expect them to do distance. I’ve had a pair of super-grippy Berghaus go completely smooth within about 60 miles. The best boots I had for grip were forestry boots with one inch deep tractor-chevron pattern. They gave superb self-cleaning grip in all levels of mud, but were soft enough to stick to granite too. The Salomons came close to matching this.

  • This reply was modified 10 years, 3 months ago by Avatar photodartymoor.