Boots and all!

Boots and all!

Previously we had covered the cleaning and maintenance of hiking boots which is essential to ensure longevity. However, we have never really touched on the variety of shoes or boots available to the consumer.

Boots can outlast you yet others have a limited lifespan. The material used in the manufacturing process will also determine their performance in terms of water resistance, breathability and scuff resistance. Although a few good scuff marks bear testimony to a well-used shoe. And adventures outdoors.

However, before buying a shoe you need to check its construction to look at factors that ensure longevity.

  • Stitching
  • Seams 
  • Inner sole and replacement options
  • Outer sole (Options for possible replacement )
  • Lacing

These are important as they can impact the purchase price if you are looking at top-end stuff.

Whilst we have a variety of weather conditions in South Africa we should look towards a good multi-purpose shoe that is adaptable.

So what do we need to consider?

Style is important as a shoe needs to be a reflection of your persona, you should look good outdoors as well as in a high street mall and you will feel comfortable using them as everyday wear. In this case, they should match any clothing that you are wearing. You can wear them every day!

Over and above comfort is important no matter where you are so support for your feet, ankles and legs is critical as is breathability. In the long run, they should be easy to put on, and take off and not cause blisters. Gone are the days of wearing two pairs of wet socks to “break” a boot in.

Then in the case of hiking boots durability is critical. But given the price of “Outdoor Trail Shoes” you need to know that they will also kick back a few kilometres. One can not afford to replace them every few months.

However if well cared for the bigger brands can go the distance.

Let’s look at the key components of a good boot or shoe, you have the following;

  • An upper
  • A sole
  • The heel
  • The insole

The upper covers the top and sides of the foot and can be made from leather (Think older style hiking boot ) to a variety of synthetic materials in various colours which always reflect the brand name.

The upper is critical to performance in terms of breathability but it needs to be sturdy and dust and water-resistant. A good fit is critical so as not to exert pressure and cause irritation.

Depending on the terrain the sole is also important it gives traction, shock absorption and stability.

So it needs to match the intended use of the boot or shoe. There is a growing trend to wear all-terrain track shoes if the terrain is lighter.

No matter what terrain you intend to traverse the heel is important as if it is too light you will encounter difficulties ( think large blisters and Plantar Fasciitis both of which can be extremely painful ).

Your heel elevates your foot and has a bearing on your posture. It must provide adequate support and be comfortable.

Newer shoes and boots have loose insoles which adjust to the shape of one’s foot and provide alignment comfort and hygiene, they should be removable for airing and cleaning.

Today style is important and you get a variety of shoes and boots. To the average person, they should look good outdoors as well as in a high street mall. they should match your choice of clothing and not look out of place. The more casual “Chelsea” or “Chukka” styles are not suitable outdoors other than in the dining room of a lodge.

Hiking boots tend to fit in everywhere and their higher sides and robust construction are suitable for all terrain-they don’t look that good with shorts though.

So you must consider:

  • Comfort and fit.
  • Material used as well as the construction of the boot or shoe. Remember that trail shoes are great for traversing the local trails in city parks.
  • Match the style, material and construction to your main purpose of use.
  • Then if you are a style “guru” feel comfortable in wearing them to a high street mall, without looking like a safari guide.

Lastly, and we have touched on this care for your boots and shoes in keeping with their style and material. Shoes and boots once cleaned should be dried in a well-aired area but not in direct sunlight. Good care extends the longevity of your shoes and boots and keeps them in good shape and condition. This adds to the comfort and performance. And it extends the longevity.

When cleaning a shoe or boot extraneous material should be removed before cleaning as it makes the process a whole lot easier. After cleaning apply a leather conditioner to your boots ( Longevity ).

If you are unlikely to wear your shoes or boots for a while store them correctly, even filling them with a shoe stretcher to maintain the shape and fit. Never use anything synthetic as that can harm them.

Lastly, once you have had a great “All Terrain” adventure ensure that your trail shoes or boots are dry before packing them away.

But enjoy the outdoors with us and contact us for any advice in respect of your insurance needs. And wear your best shoes when you explore the great outdoors.

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