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Boots

For a few routes in the middle of summer you may be able to get away with a pair of trainers or lightweight walking shoes but for the vast majority of hill walks a pair of boots is best. Boots provide some additional ankle support, particularly useful if you need to 'side-step' on steep grass or rock, as you can use your ankle and lower part of your leg to help angle the boot. They also give allow you to step through slightly deeper boggy patches without the water flowing over the top!

In winter good boots are absolutely essential and need to have a stiff enough sole to take a pair of crampons (more about this in our snow and ice section).

Over the years boots have become progressively lighter and more technical in their construction. 'Vibram' and similar soles have been favourites for many years. The sole is akin to a car tyre, with a combination of rubber to grip and tread to catch on surface irregularities and slough away water, so you don't end up skating on a thin layer of water.

The type of upper is very much down to personal preference. Fabric uppers with breathable waterproof linings can be very effective, although some prefer traditional leather.

scarpaboot.jpgBoots are usually graded by 'season'. A 3-season boot will do exactly what it says, being perfectly adequate in everything other than full winter weather. 4-season boots, on the other hand, will have more insulation, a stiffer sole and be inevitably quite a lot heavier. Most folk who do some of their hill-walking in winter have more than one pair of boots and pick the best for the conditions.

Boots are best bought in a specialist outdoors shop, where you can try on different pairs and get sound advice. Getting a good fit is vital as badly fitting boots can cause great pain and make your progress much slower. Look to have a little space in front of your toes so they are not banging against the front of the boot as you go downhill. You don't want them to be too tight, either.
 

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