Ive had a couple pairs of walking boots in the past and none of them have survived more than 6-8 3 day hikes and I’m sick of replacing them. What are some points to look for in good walking boots, where should I look to buy them from in the UK, how much should I look to be spending as a rough guide?

Cheers!

  • @evasive_chimpanzee
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    153 months ago

    For a boot to be long lasting, it has to be repairable, e.g. a Goodyear or storm welt or stitch down. Glued together shoes will never be BIFL because the soles are a wear item, particularly for hiking, because the rubber is often softer to better grip trails, but that trades off for less durability.

    Anything with foam in it is a no-go because foam breaks down over time. For waterproofing, there’s a few different types. Rubberized boots are truly waterproof, and fairly durable, but they don’t breath at all, so you probably don’t want that for hiking. Performance waterproof boots will often have a gortex lining, so the leather can get wet, but that water doesn’t penetrate. That works really well, but the membranes break down over time, so they aren’t perfect. The last option is if the leather itself is waterproofed. This also makes it much less breathable, but it is more durable, and you can “repair” it by making sure to keep up with conditioners, etc.

    I think if I were in your place, I’d look for leather boots with a storm welt, and then I’d wax all around the base and over the toe area. That will get those areas mostly waterproof, but you could leave the top of the upper unwaxed so it stays breathable. You’d have that area covered by your pants, or ideally gaiters, so water can’t get in.

    I’m not sure about brands in the UK, though.

  • @OhmsLawn
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    113 months ago

    If you want to go down a rabbit hole, Rose Anvil is the place I’d go to learn about boots.

      • @OhmsLawn
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        43 months ago

        He makes pretty good leather products, too. I got one of his wallets on sale. Very happy with it.

    • @DrownedRatsOP
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      13 months ago

      Will definitely be checking them out! One thing for sure is I want to be more informed when making my choice this time around. Anywhere I can learn more is a huge bonus!

    • @[email protected]
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      13 months ago

      was scrolling down to see if anybody had mentioned them yet, but yeah when they have stock they seem to really know their stuff when it comes to footwear. the youtube channel is very informative

  • @CobblerScholar
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    73 months ago

    My kinda question. Other than durability and comfort what kind of qualities are you after? Waterproof? Breathable? What kind of material?

    • @DrownedRatsOP
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      43 months ago

      I mostly walk in the peaks and lakes so waterproof is a big plus! Ankle support is very useful too and ideally a brand with a wide range of sole shapes and sizes so I can fit them to my sole shape.

      The worst boots I’ve had had virtually no arch support and we’re really loose around the sole and hurt like hell to wear!

      • @CobblerScholar
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        13 months ago

        I dont have a specific brand in mind per se mostly because in my experience the same brand will have several different boots with wildly different constructions and quality over even a years worth of manufacturing. There are brands that are more consistent than others but it pays to not buy strictly because of the name.

        I’ll be speaking mostly in terms of longevity but this can come with some tradeoffs that’ll I’ll get into in a second. Like I said above repairablity is really what will get you the longest wear out of your boots along with regular maintenance. The most repairable construction method will be a Goodyear-welted method this is where a strip of leather is sewn directly to both the insole and the upper where then a sole or midsole is glued and sewn to the bottom. All of those pieces can be replaced as long as the upper isn’t too worn out. Tradeoff to a goodyear welt is that it can make the sole bulkier and heavier due to the extra architecture. Glued or differently sewn boot soles can be just fine for some folks but many of those boots severely limit what cobblers can do to bring the boots back.

        To address your specific concerns, it doesn’t seems like a fully waterproof boot is necessary just one that has a little bit of treatment. Well conditioned and waxed leather will be almost completely waterproof to begin with but you can go even further with things like silicone weatherproofing sprays which will also work fo synthetic materials. Ankle support will be provided by most boots that lace tigher above the ankle.

        As for the fit, have you had someone fit a pair of boots to you before or has it been diy so far?

        • @DrownedRatsOP
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          13 months ago

          Thanks for your detailed reply! I’ve never actually had a fitting done which I do fully intend to do for my next pair.

          I agree with what you’re saying about waterproofing when I think what I really meant was weatherproofing!

          I’ll definitely be looking to pick up some good repairable boots, probably leather and/or fabric blend.

          I appreciate your input on materials as that was the main thing I wasn’t sure on seeing as my previous pairs have all fallen apart in one way or another or simply become too worn to provide support

          I’ll be sure to keep that all in mind when I go for my new boots! Cheers!

    • @[email protected]
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      23 months ago

      Glad to see Altberg mentioned. I haven’t owned any of these yet, but the fact you can visit their factory and get fitted for a specific size says a lot. Next time I’m up North I’ll pay them a visit to get sized.

      My current boots are Mammut GTX and I had 10 years of good use from them. Very durable. But I don’t think they make them anymore and they’re overkill for the walking I do now.

    • @[email protected]
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      23 months ago

      I’ve heard lots of good things about altberg. Not got direct experience, but if I were buying walking boots, this is where I’d go

  • 🇰 🔵 🇱 🇦 🇳 🇦 🇰 ℹ️
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    3 months ago

    I’ve been on a personal crusade to find any kind of footwear that is truly BIFL material and have always come up empty. They are just too stressed and made of materials that don’t last. Even uncomfortable wooden shoes (like clogs or geta) wear out rather quickly.

    I just go for cheap and comfortable now because even spending more money has not gotten me a shoe of any style that lasts longer than a cheaper one.

  • @Chee_Koala
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    53 months ago

    I’d go to a renowned outdoor store, let them take a peek at you feet and have them recommend a model/make. If you want BIFL make sure the soles are replaceable. I love my leather+goretex memoryfoam Meindls

    • @DrownedRatsOP
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      23 months ago

      What would you class as “renowned” because I’ve tried trespass and go-outdoors but neither one have been very much help for me. Perhaps it was lack of knowledge on either mine or the clerks part but they’ve never seemed to be too sure of what they’re selling.

      What you’re saying about replaceable soles is absolutely one of the most common (and probably best) pieces of advice I’ve recieved here and will absolutely make sure I do pick up something repairable in that aspect! Thanks for your input on that!

      • @Chee_Koala
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        23 months ago

        I’m not based in the UK, so I don’t know :( . Locally, bigger ‘outdoor’ stores have a clerk who is ‘the shoe guy/gal’, they can get your feet scanned and pick a shoe model that is right for your feet shape. Bever Outdoor // Outdoor XL would be options here.

  • TunaCowboy
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    3 months ago

    I have actual BIFL boots, but for hiking I settled on a pair of Danner 8" TFX GTX back in 2014. They still get plenty of use after years of backcountry expeditions.

    Danner

    *The expeditionary boots are ‘recraftable’ but I have no experience with them.

    • nocturne
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      23 months ago

      I hear good things about Danner, but i absolutely hate them. I have had 3 pairs. First pair was decent, but every step I took they squeaked. Second pair… yup squeaky. Third pair not only squeaks, but the sizing seems off and they hurt my feet (after walking in them for three days my feet hurt for about two weeks after). Dinner’s solution was to buy new insoles for my brand new boots or get their leather conditioner for old leather. They kept completely ignoring that the boots were brand new and any time I mentioned their money back guarantee they ignored it.

  • ProdigalFrogM
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    53 months ago

    I just recently went on a search for the perfect BIFL Barefoot-style hiking boot, as I find those to be the most comfortable. The most promising boot was the Jim Green Barefoot Ranger. The quality was excellent, and due to it having entirely stich-down construction, it would be trivial for a cobbler to replace the sole. Unfortunately my feet are very wide, so even with the Barefoot version having a wider than normal design, it was ultimately uncomfortable, and I had to send them back.

    For people with normal feet, though, It would be a great BIFL hiking/walking boot if you like the zero-drop barefoot style, as would Jim Green’s non-barefoot boots. They tend to have the best price for the quality of materials as well.

    There are many more options available in normal, non-barefoot styles of boot. As others have said, look for stitch-down or goodyear welt construction, and if well cared for, the leather parts of the boot should last a decade or more.

    • @[email protected]
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      23 months ago

      Thanks for mentioning this. I’ve had problems with boots because I seem to need zero drop. Otherwise I get pains in my arches after I’ve worn them.

      I’ve settled on Lem’s, and while they’re great. The super wide toe box might be worth looking at for you. I’ve been really impressed with how durable they are, and they have a waterproof goretex lining, but the sole isn’t stitch down. Whenever the sole wears out I’ll probably try the Jim greens, because of the stitch down sole.

      • ProdigalFrogM
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        3 months ago

        Lem’s were on my shortlist to try, but I was able to snag some Vivobarefoot FG Tracker’s off ebay for an amazing price, and I’ve been super happy with them.

        I did read of some Lem’s owners successfully resoling they’re boulder boots. Apparently it’s possible to sand down the soft outer sole flat, and then glue on a new sole to that. Might be worth asking a local cobbler about before buying a new pair when yours are getting on in years ^^

        • @[email protected]
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          23 months ago

          I’ll have to look into that. I’m more worried about the sole separating from the upper, but if I wear through them first I’ll give it a shot.

  • @[email protected]
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    33 months ago

    Vegetation Shoes (the UK company). are great

    I’ve beaten the hell out of them every day for 5 years, including many 2-3 night backpacking trips, and they’re going on strong.

    Its not real leather so it lasts much longer too

  • @[email protected]
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    33 months ago

    My Zamberlan leather boots are going strong after about 10 years. Wouldn’t recommend anything but leather for walking in the peak district. Gore tex will let water in.

  • @[email protected]
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    33 months ago

    I’d be interested in how to keep them from getting stinky. I’ve got some very good, waterproof leather boots, but they get so musty. I’ve tried Lysol. I’ve tried Dr. Scholls powder spray. I’ve tried water with vinegar. I’ve changed insoles. Nothing helps. You’d think I slogged through a knee deep swamp and left them to dry inside a closed box, but no, I just wear them in Florida and leave them to dry out inside my house.

    I thought I knew how to take care of boots, but I guess not. That’s apparently a huge part of keeping them for a long time.

    • snooggums
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      43 months ago

      Do you use synthetic, cotton, or wool socks?

      Wool socks help with odor control because of how they wick away moisture and although they advertise synthetic socks also being good at that they tend to get the stinky funk going on. Cotton just holds moisture and gets stinky too, but somewhere between the two.

      If nothing else has helped and you are not already wearing wool socks, I would give that a try. A lot of brands do a blend of wool and synthetic so they might end up being stinkier than 100% wool. Wool is expensive, but holds up really well and is totally worth it.

      • @CharlesMangione
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        33 months ago

        Hard agree. Wool is amazing. The good stuff doesn’t scratch, either.

      • @[email protected]
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        13 months ago

        That’s a great suggesion. Unfortunately, I already wear either smart wool, or my own hand knit wool socks with these boots.

        • snooggums
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          33 months ago

          I just caught that you live in Florida, and the humidity could be the issue. If you have a spare fan, putting the boots in front of it to circulate the air might help since the waterproofing means the only moisture exit is where your foot goes in. Doesn’t need to blow into the boot, just across it so the air gets moved around.

          • @Ersatz86
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            43 months ago

            Or you may want to invest in one of these:

            https://a.co/d/3ppV1jY

            When working the boats in Alaska, arguably one of the wettest environments around, every stateroom had one. Fishermen swear by them.

            • snooggums
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              33 months ago

              HELPS REDUCE ODORS – Keeping your boots, shoes, and gloves dry is the key to keeping them stink-free. Dry time Warm-up (30 mins); Damp (8 hours); Wet (12 hours).

              Great suggestion!

            • @[email protected]
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              13 months ago

              Happened to see boot driers at the grocery store for 15 bucks. Bought them and now i’d say they’re a must. Wore my boots and put them on for 2 hours… they don’t smell anymore. They smelled when I out them on. My boots will now live on these when they’re not on my feet.

              Seriously. I sought out boots I thought would last a long time and i’ve been seriously bummed because I can’t imagine keeping them when I can’t get them to stop smelling. I figured boot driers would only work preventatively, but they zapped the smell right away. If you intend to keep your boots for a long time, get some boot driers.

    • @Hagdos
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      33 months ago

      Ditch waterproof, get shoes that breath a lot. Waterproof shoes get wet on the inside anyway, through sweat if not anything else. Breathable shoes dry up again a lot faster, making it harder for bacteria to make smelly stuff.

      Waterproof shoes like to claim they are breathing, like goretex and stuff. It doesn’t, not nearly as well as some mesh or holes do.

      • @[email protected]
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        33 months ago

        See, the problem with this is that for several months out of the year i’d just have wet feet 24/7. After a couple weeks that’s just far too frustrating to deal with. Plenty of people wear sandals to deal with it. I’m autistic, and we generally fall into 2 camps: my feet need to be aired out all the time, or my feet will always be in socks because they can never touch the floor unless everything is perfectly clean and the floor is an appopriate texture. I’m unfortunately the second type, which is why I knit my own wool socks.

        On top of that, if it’s raining when I get home, I have anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of water I have to get through. I’ve tried shoe covers. I’ve tried other styles of waterproof shoes. I’ve tried rubber boots, and they’re far too sweaty. This is by far the best solution i’ve come across, but at this point I can’t get the smell out, even if I want to get these boot dryers i’ve been recommended.

        • @Hagdos
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          23 months ago

          That sucks. It sounds like you have wet feet 24/7 now too, so you are fucked either way. The only advice I have for you is to switch socks often, and shoes as well (have at least 2 pairs, and alternate every day) so at least they can dry in the meantime

    • @[email protected]
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      23 months ago

      Do you wear them every day? Ideally you should give all footwear a day of rest to let the bacteria die off. Possibly more if you live somewhere humid.

      • @[email protected]
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        3 months ago

        This is why I stopped buying leather boots. The faux stuff is much more durable and you can actually wear them every day

  • @[email protected]
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    33 months ago

    I like my Meindl boots. Had them a really long time. They might need re-soling next year, but otherwise they are pretty bifl

  • @[email protected]
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    23 months ago

    I have no specific recommendations for brands but you’ll want to make sure to get a pair of boots with a goodyear welt. They’re easy to re-sole. I don’t care for buying animal products but I’m not sure that you could avoid buying leather if longevity and repairability is one of your top priorities. I’d be more than happy to be proven wrong on that last bit

    • @[email protected]
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      23 months ago

      They’re generally good but you have to be selective if longevity and quality is a priority. They have a plant in the US and one in China. If you get a model built in China it’s going to be noticably lower quality than the American ones. I bought my redwings years ago so I don’t remember how to tell which models come from which country