Growing up I was lucky, we never had to wear shoes, we lived somewhere warm and flip-flops were considered extravagant. As a result I have, apparently, 'very healthy feet'. Wearing shoes, when it became necessary to do so, (for common decency, work and a change in environment) was a complete novelty and a steep learning curve.
My first pair of boots was a complete vanity purchase - a lovely pair of Kathmandu Leather boots that were promising me all sorts of adventures just because they looked so hardcore. I remember picking them because of the way they looked, the assistant brought me my size *ahem* 'size 7 I said' and I tried them on. The assistant said it might be better to get 1/2 or a full size larger. I did try on the size 8 (my actual shoe size I have since discovered) but remember looking down and thinking my feet looked too big. I settled for the size 7. I don't have any photos of me wearing them on a mountain, trail or in an amazing landscape because they hurt my toes and were too.... small!
So flash forward 20 years and I am a bit wiser to the World of Boots and the outdoors. Lucky enough to live in Keswick in the Lake District and walking boots are part of my every day life now. I wear them for work, again lucky to work at George Fisher where boots can be part of your uniform! I wear them to walk the dog, I wear them to the pub, winter walks on the beach and yes I even wear them walking in the fells.
I prefer to run in the fells these days, light and fast, but boots are still a very big part of my life, for so many reasons. We recently went on a holiday to Mull, my Meindl boots went with me and my running shoes, that was it, 2 pairs of shoes for a week away!
I will admit I did pick these boots because of the way they looked, I wanted something comfortable and supportive but also something I could wear with my jeans. They needed to be waterproof, easy to lace, good grip and hug my feet. In no particular order, the things that matter to me when I buy boots are...
1. Easy to lace?
We have a dog and when it's dog walking time you need to be able to get 'booted and suited' quick time to keep the barking and excitement levels under control. the Meindl Veneto is great for this, it still has ankle support but only the one set of hooks. the laces slide easily through the eyelets and can be secured easily, quickly and with gloves on!
Always! Living where we live, it rains a LOT. We love it but you need to be able to walk the dog, walk to work and just get out as much as you can so having footwear that keeps your feet warm and dry is essential. 'Warm' is another key factor for me. It wasn't until we moved to the UK that I discovered I had Reynauds - a circulation issue causing me to get very cold feet and hands if not managed properly. So waterproof boots give me protection from the wet, cold and wind, essential for 6 months of the year.
Not sure I need to expand on this. I don't want my toes to hurt, I want my feet to feel protected, unrestricted, supported, warm, dry and cushioned.. simples! Get your feet measured and keep in mind you will be wearing socks, thick ones if you get cold feet like me! Get boots that fit, have extra room and don't crush your toes.. don't be like 'Vain Rachel', she bought the wrong size, her feet hurt!
George Fisher offers a 'Comfort Guarantee' with all of it's boots, it's worth it, take the time to come and talk to an expert. Boot Fitting Service at Fishers.
Lisa, our in-house boot expert, will roll her eyes but she understands! I like to wear my boots to the pub, with my jeans, the boots have to look good. I'm not vain anymore but I do like to look nice.
I like to be able to move across all sorts of terrain from grassy slopes to rocky trails and icy footpaths without feeling as though I'm going to fall over. The better the boots the longer I can walk for, my legs don't get tired and my feet are happy for longer. A lot of boots come with Vibram soles these days, Vibram was designed to remain tacky and stick even on cold icy surfaces. A good deep lug or tread is important too. There's so much technology applied to the sole units of boots, the good boots have the best soles and can really make a difference... the same applies to friends ;-)
This is how I feel about my boots, they need to be with me for a long time, for so many reasons. They are going to take me on many adventures, we will make memories together, we will grow old together (unless I grow out of them) and they will eventually be retired only when they break and can't be repaired. So I am always happy to spend more money on my boots than any other type of footwear. Boots like Meindl can be re-soled, they can be looked after, cleaned, polished and maintained to last a long time. This is not only better for your bank balance but also for the environment.
A couple of our staff recently got invited to the Meindl Factory, they still make boots the way they used to years ago. There is a LOT of new technology to enable them to keep up with demand but the process of selecting hides, cutting, stitching, gluing and finishing the boots is much the same as it first ever was. Read more HERE.
A good pair of boots is like a good friend. You may take your time building trust and getting to know each other, you need to have the same things in common whether it's long walks, dog walks or trips to the pub, you need to look after each other, spend time with each other and take photos together save the memories for when you are old and unable to have such grand adventures anymore.
P.S. A pair of old boots make great pen pots, a bird box, plant pots or can be hung to retire decoratively on a curtain rail (as long as they don't smell too much).
17 April 2019 by rachel@fishers
5 Peaks Challenge in the Lake District to be completed in 5 hours Challenge
10 Peaks Challenge in the Lake District to be completed in 10 hours.
Podiatrist Andrew Stanley will be in the George Fisher store offering 1:1 help and advice for your feet.