BOOTS!

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  • #2836
    Vodkashots
    Participant

    I was hoping for some advice please?

    Walking boots given up the ghost, so need a new pair. This time I would like a waterproof good pair, but having looked around a lot, I don’t really know where to start. Has anyone found a particular brand better / worse than others. They need to be good for Moor walking. I have too much choice and too little knowledge 🙄

    #2837
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    Wow – where to start!

    Two main categories – traditional leather boots, still favoured by many or Gore-Tex or similar. Leather boots probably need more looking after to keep them waterproof, regular cleaning, waxing, etc and are heavier, but could last for many years. Gore-Tex are lighter, but still need cleaning and waterproofing and probably won’t last longer than a couple of years. I am currently wearing Scarpa Gore-Tex which I am very happy with.

    Whatever you buy the most important thing is to buy them from somewhere who know about walking boots. Never buy off the internet or mail-order as you can’t try them on. When I bought my last pair I tried on every size from 9 to 11 as they all vary so much – which is why you can’t buy without trying. Kountry Kit in Tavistock are brilliant. They really know about boots and will take so much care helping you to decide. I must have spent nearly an hour trying them on! However, don’t buy cheap, a decent waterproof pair will cost at least £100.

    Avoid GoOutdoors in Plymouth unless you want to be served by a sales assistant with no useful knowledge. They have lots of cheap boots but take a look at the reviews – most are dreadful and even if they claim to be waterproof they probably won’t be. Buy only Gore-Tex and not a cheap imitation.

    However, there is another alternative. Judy and I have both bought Neoprene wellies! They are brilliant, especially on the moor. I’ve avoided walking in wellies all my life but I did most of the Remote series in these, easily walking 10 miles without problems. Mine are Muck Boots, Judy’s are Bogs and we are so happy with them. They have boot like soles and fit nicely at the ankles. But again they are not cheap. The recommended price is way over £100, but we paid about £70. You can probably get these on the internet as the fit is probably not so crucial, but we both tried our on first.

    Hopes this helps!

    #2840
    Vodkashots
    Participant

    Thanks Dave, that’s very useful 😛
    I have the Hunter neoprene wellies and I love them – but couldn’t wait to get them off after 6 hours on the moor the other day.

    Scarpa have a good sale at the moment as do Peter Storm, and I do prefer the leather ones, so will have a go try on I think. I’m really not sure about the other type. I’m not really a brand person but I’ve learnt the hard way with this type of stuff, so it’s good to know other people’s experiences when they’re so expensive!

    #2841
    dartymoor
    Participant

    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!

    #2842
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    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 😥 !

    I have to say that I always expect to complete a walk on Dartmoor and come back with dry feet. That is why I buy waterproof boots – if they are not waterproof I don’t want them! However, you have to continually proof even Gor-Tex boots and Judy is always waxing her leather ones.

    The only reason we have both turned to Neoprene wellies is because it gives you so much more flexibility. You can wade through bogs and streams, etc and you don’t need to concentrate too much on where you are walking. The main downside is that they can get very hot, so avoid in warm weather. Today we went back to our normal boots for the excellent walk around Cotehele which we would thoroughly recommend 🙂

    #2843
    Tamerton Chocolates
    Participant

    I bought mine specifically for walking on Dartmoor which is a lot wetter & very tussocky compared to almost anywhere else you walk.

    I decided on a pair of Lowa combat GTX. I can wade through inches of water for hours and my feet will still be dry and because they are high, I never twist any ankles either (and I don’t need to faff around with gaiters!). I am almost in the same weight category as Dartymoor 😉 and being 6ft6 I am also very hard on shoes but these are hardly showing any wear after 3 years and a lot of miles.

    They are however heavier and less flexible then walking shoes so you will need to get used to them.

    Have a look at RVops in Estover as they have quite a range of outdoor stuff that you won’t see in places like GoOutdoors.

    #2844
    finderman
    Participant

    I’ve got scrarpa leather boots from GO Outdoors. Always keep me dry. I am curious about the wellingtons. If the ground is boggy is there not a risk of putting your foot down then bringing it up minus the wellie? Do they always stay on?

    #2845
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    I’ve been caught once with nearly losing one and Judy had to come and rescue me 😳 ! It was one of dartmoor strider’s caches and I did wander too far into a bog. However, that was just my stupidity and a little more care would have prevented it. At least wearing wellingtons you can probably easily get out of a bog even if it means losing one and going back later to retrieve it, with normal boots you could get completely stuck as there is nothing that will come off 😕 !

    #2846
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    I just got a very timely email from Go Outdoors: http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/north-ridge-caldera-event-men-p210715 😥

    #2847
    Vodkashots
    Participant

    Thanks for all your replies 😛
    I love the Lowa and had a good nosey around the RVops website, but are a bit too pricey for me 🙁

    Good to know about the Scarpa – they look like my boot of choice at the moment, along with Saloman’s. That link from DD was very helpful, I love websites where you can post reviews ❗

    To Finderman – I can’t speak for other’s but the Hunters are shaped around the ankle, more like a boot than a straight up and down welly, so no chance of it being pulled off. Altho my mum’s (? about make) are really comfortable but an absolute bugger to get off! Always need a person to pull and even then it’s like the Enormous Turnip 😈 No chance of that one coming off…..

    #2848
    Tamerton Chocolates
    Participant

    Hmm, I had a pair of Scarpa’s last year and I threw them in the bin swearing I’d never buy that italian sh**e again. They lasted me only a year, mostly daily use walking the dogs or around town – nothing serious. They simply fell apart.

    My current Hi-Tecs are not much better, the sole is completely gone after just over a year, I don’t think the cheaper brands suit me very well.

    I just saw the current Lowa prices .. ouch .. I am sure I ‘only’ paid about £130. I was in GoOutdoors a while ago – they are having a discount on the Meindl Burma Lady Pro .. £129, but that gets you a top notch shoe.

    #2849
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    Just to let you all know, I have invited Kountry Kit to post on here if they so wish, so please don’t be surprised if they do. They describe themselves as “Old fashioned service, advice and customer care in a relaxed atmosphere with the best equipment you can find under one roof.” – and I think that sums them up very well. 🙄

    #2850
    dartymoor
    Participant

    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 7 years, 5 months ago by dartymoor.
    #2854
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    Just another thought and another option.

    I used to have a pair of walking shoes which are much lighter than boots and ideal for the summer. Also waterproof, as there is always wet grass and unexpected stuff you come across. Unfortunately they disappeared – we think I left them in the boot of my car the day I sold it 😥 !

    So last year I tried to replace these also. I couldn’t find any synthetic ones which would fit – I have one foot about half a size bigger than the other, so boots and shoes are always a bit of a compromise. Eventually I was offered a pair of Brashers. These are leather with a Gore-Tex lining, much lighter than leather boots and very comfortable. I really like them, but only for summer use really.

    #2855
    Vodkashots
    Participant

    All the replies are fab 😆 thank you!

    I had a surprise cheque in the post this morning, so I’ve just come back from trying on Lowa’s at RVOps. Great boots. 😥 my feet are too small. Gonna see if anywhere else does smaller sizes

    #2856
    Vodkashots
    Participant

    OK, I have now found THE boots!! Lowa Hunter GTX Extreme Boots. Nowhere does a 5.5 and the 6 are a bit big. But I love them. And I am a girl who loves boots. Does anyone wear insoles in their walking boots, or is that just weird?!

    #2857
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    If your feet move around in them you may have problems.

    #2858
    Tamerton Chocolates
    Participant

    I am quite envious. Those are the ones I originally wanted, but no-one stocks them, let alone in my size, so I settled for the combat GTX.

    Apparently they are the boots of choice amongst gamekeepers when deerstalking up in Scotland 😉

    #2859
    Jaughan
    Participant

    I also use Hunter boots and have for decades- the hills up here are even soggier than Dartmoor. Currently mine are 12 inches high and that means I approach all but deep rivers with equanimity. They are Harkila which are about the same price range as Lowa Hunter but they have really light soles and lower parts which give the impression of wearing trainers. The uppers are leather. I’ve had them three years and apart from after crossing over-deep rivers in pursuit of DD caches ( both here and on Dartmoor), not had a wet foot.

    The achilles heel of Hunting boots is the heel- the leather tends to bend and then crack there. Keep that part of the boot very well “dubbinned” for longevity.

    #2863
    Vodkashots
    Participant

    😆 @ TC. If I ever get myself to an event I will wear them for you to admire 😉

    Not sure if I’ll be doing much stalking, but I’m sure they should add caching to their “This boot is great for…” section.

    Jaughan – I take it dubbinned means waxed / waterproofed?

    #2864
    Vodkashots
    Participant

    BTW, Dartymoor, sorry to hear about your toe – done that myself and not a load of fun 😐

    #2865
    Jaughan
    Participant

    Dubbin is what I have always applied to leather boots- is there any alternative? It now comes in a toothpaste style tube which is really easy to apply- to everything in squirting distance as well as the boots!

    One last comment- it shows how flat Dartmoor is that anyone can think of wearing wellies out on the moor. On hillsides of even moderate steepness, they are more slithery than skis.

    #2866
    Vodkashots
    Participant

    Thanks for the clarification on Dubbin 😳 never heard of it. Will definitely get some.

    😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
    They have arrived 😀 😀 😀 😀 And they are Lush 😀 😀 😀 And I love them 😀 😀 😀

    Was feeling just a smidge overwhelmed so lots of thank you’s for all your great replies :mrgreen:

    #2875
    dartymoor
    Participant

    Thanks Vodka. Only the second bone I’ve ever broken. Still managing to cover a few miles though – take more than a bust toe to stop me!

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