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welcome!Sunday, 25 july 2003  
:Buyers guide · Intended use

Take all the time necessary to choose the right boots, if you make your choice correctly you will be able to enjoy the beauty of nature instead being concerned about foot pain, blisters, and fatigue.

Try to evaluate what your needs are based on the usage that you are
envisaging. The following series of questions should be considered in order to find out what the exact use is, so the correct boots can be selected.

Type of terrain

In what type of environment will the boots be used? This will indicate the required flex and torsion, the upper stiffness, the sole grip and the required upper material.

Click for enlargeBoots designed for a specific type of use usually have mid-sole flex as one of their deciding factors. Gentle footpath strolling is more comfortable in a boot which flexes enough to allow a natural walking gait.
Click for enlarge Boots for backpacking or more demanding walking will be stiffer. The winter boot has no flex at all. But whatever the longitudinal flex ie. front to back, the better quality boot will always have little in the way of torsional flex ie. good resistance to twisting. This is very useful for scrambling but even on hill walks feet will tire less quickly wearing boots with good torsional rigidity.
The type of sole limits usage as well. Boots intended for off trail walking are best with a sole sporting cleats with good edges on them, and a distinct gap between the heel and sole called the heel breast.

Weather conditions

It is essential to recommend the correct upper and lining materials.

Weather conditionsIf you want to walk all year round the best choice is a three to four season boot, such as a style out of the backpacking series.
They will be suitable for most levels of walking bar serious Winter use, where really stiff Mountaineering boots, capable of taking crampons, are required.
Weather conditionsMany backpacking boots are capable of taking flexible walking crampons but if you require a boot for low level, fine weather use then a hiking or day hiking boot will be adequate.
Pay attention at the upper material considering that leather one piece uppers will provide protection against wet conditions whilst fabric boots with a waterproof liner will get close to a leather boot for water repellence
Effective use

Occasional walkers will not have the same technical requirements as a mountain guide using his boot all year round. Also identify which type of construction is required.

Effective useOverrating the intended use of the boot is just as negative as underrating. A boot which is too heavy or too technical will result in a dissatisfied customer. Sometimes a lighter boots give more satisfaction as it will be closer in comfort levels to the normal footwear that the occasional hill walker uses. A heavy Mountaineering boot with crampon body is useless if you are going to use it only on path walking. If you are going to want to go high mountain walking on difficult terrain very occasionally then it will better if a staged approach to equipping is considered. For short walks lightweight boots made from leather or fabric & leather give best results as they are light and flexible.
Remember that an occasional walkers may, over time, become keen mountaineers and they will remember their first boots as they remember there first mountain experiences.

Geographical location

Geographical locationThis means not only where but also when. This will give you an indication of Terrain - Weather - Temperature. The response to this question will help identify the boots required considering weight and breathability.

GEOGRAPHICAL AREA - The same boot used in U.K., Scandinavia, Alps, Africa or Amazon will give a different level of performance and comfort. Try to evaluate the most appropriate style according to the weather conditions in different geographical locations.

ALTITUDE - Glacier, High Mountain, Hill, Valley, Forest, Prairie, Desert all have specific humidity and temperature do not ignore this important factor.

SEASON - Winter is different than Summer! Weather conditions change as completely as the required boot performance characteristics.

Type & Size of foot

Type & Size of footMen, Women, Children all have different types of feet and these require different lasts and fittings. Also different sizing between countries means that it is essential to measure feet very carefully to ensure the correct fitting of the chosen boots.

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