It’s easy to get your exercise in summer when you’re out and about enjoying the sun but it’s autumn and winter where you need to plan it in, no matter what the weather. Plus autumn is a beautiful season to exercise outside, offering spectacular colours and a cool, crisp environment. So we’ve asked a few of our instructors which boots they wear and why. We’re discussing boots as walking shoes are usually made of material and almost always lose their waterproofing within a few months, even those with the Gore Tex badge.
Our most popular boot is worn by Rachael, Clair & Ros and is the Scarpa Terra GTX. It’s a comfortable, lightweight, flexible and fully waterproof leather boot. It also has a Vibram sole which gives a decent grip, extremely important when you hit mud. A great all-rounder, not the cheapest but you get what you pay for – a good quality boot.
Being a vegan herself Lindsay was delighted to discover vegan Scarpa boots, the Maverick GTX. She’s had them for a few weeks now and so far so good, still waterproof and very comfortable. We’ll follow up with her in spring to see how the waterproof Gore-Tex lining held up over the winter.
Patsy tried Scarpa but they didn’t fit her well, so she’s on her third pair of Berghaus Ridge GTX and she says they’re as comfortable as slippers. They’re a good looking oiled nubuck boot with Vibram soles and excellent support around the ankle without being restrictive. The cushioned footbed adds another level of comfort.
Marcus loves his Fremington Lite Altberg boots. Altberg are a company from Yorkshire with an excellent reputation and a wide selection of hiking boots (they also do military and police boots). The leather is tougher and Marcus says he prefers these as they’re more waterproof than the softer leather.
Lorna swears by her Lowa Renegade GTX Mid WS boots. The Renegade is Lowa’s best selling boot and comes in narrow or wide fit. As the leather is nubuck it’s important to keep waterproofing them. Regular conditioning and waterproofing will make your boots last a lot longer, it’s well worth the time and effort.
Sarah finds boots uncomfortable around her ankles so she wears walking shoes all year round. Her current favourites are Alphacross from Salomon. If you want to keep your feet dry in walking shoes it’s worth investing in waterproof socks, a handy invention which are much more comfortable than they sound. Just make sure when you wear them you keep your toenails short, don’t wear them round the house as they snag easily, wash them only in non-bio detergent and let them dry naturally (tumble drying will ruin them). Sealskinz are a popular brand but it’s worth shopping around. Aldi and Lidl sell great priced waterproof socks but you’ll need to get in quick as they sell out in no time.
Finally whatever you choose make sure your shoes or boots are comfortable, fit your feet well and you’ve walked around in them before you buy, in the socks you intend to wear. Some shops do a free boot fitting service which can really help.
So we look forward to seeing you on a beautiful, blustery autumnal Nordic walk with the wind in our hair and dry, warm feet. Blissful..
The Bristol & Bath Nordic Walking Team