Foothills - The Walking Specialists.
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Boot fitting is our speciality.
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Boot Fitting is our Speciality

How not to Buy a pair of boots

I decide to purchase a pair of size 10 boots. After all, I always buy size 10 shoes. I try them on in the shop wearing my old hiking socks. Great they are a really good snug fit. The next day I try them out. A few miles into the walk my heels are rubbing, a blister is developing, my toes are feeling numb and the ball of my feet are aching.

Is this because I have problem feet or that, as the boots are new, they need breaking in?

No. It is simply that the boots don’t fit.

Does size matter?

Shoe size is only a starting point for the boot fitting process. Size is based on the ‘last’, which is what every manufacturer builds their boots around. Each manufacturer has their own set of lasts based on their idea of what a particular size should be. Shoe making is one of the oldest trades in the world but there is no industry standard for size.

If you take a size 8 boot made in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, The UK , Germany Hungary, Rumania, Portugal, France, the USA, Korea or China (and that’s only the ones we stock) and line them up they are all likely to be different in length, volume and width.

Fit is what matters, rather than size

How do I achieve this illusive fit and how do Foothills fits boots?

First of all we must investigate the varied dimensions of both your feet i.e.:

  • the length
  • the width
  • the arch length
  • the volume
  • the change in size between weighted and un weighted
  • the heel shape

Only when all this has been evaluated can we start the fitting process.

Knowing all this which boot can you Recommend?

The simple answer is none; nobody least of all magazines can recommend the fit of a particular boot. It is just too subjective. We can however recommend a category of boot from which we will start the fitting. To do this we need an honest assessment of:

  • the terrain you walk on
  • the distance you walk
  • the frequency of use
  • your expectations of the boot’s life
  • and not least the thorny question of how much you are prepared to pay. Don’t forget paying too much can mean you end up with the wrong category of boot.

I’ve got my two old pairs of sock with me so can we start now?

Well actually no!

Which Sock?

Ideally one pair but there are no hard and fast rules. Modern socks are in fact double layered and modern boots are extremely well padded. This negates most of the original reasons for wearing more than one pair of socks. Specialist liners are sometimes a solution to blister or fit problems and are a godsend to long distance walkers who can’t wash/change their socks as often as they or their companions would like. But remember, this must be taken into account when your boots are fitted.
Perhaps the only rules are negative. Don’t wear cotton socks or any socks with ridges in the construction

Foothills has over 30 different models of socks with variable thickness, material and volume. Therefore the fitting process also has to take socks into account, or more positively, socks can be used to aid the fitting process.

Old much loved socks may have been comfortable with your old boots; after all you have broken the two in together. New boots, however, demand new socks. If old worn socks are used at the time of fitting, you may end up buying boots that will be too small when you invest in a new pair of socks. In other words, if you want the best fit from your new boots it is always advisable to be fitted wearing new or nearly new socks.

Socks made from wholly natural fibres tend not to remove sweat from the skin’s surface as well as those containing man-made ‘wicking’ materials. This is not just a question of comfort. Wet skin is soft and more vulnerable to damage. The exception to this is the newly designed ‘Smart Wool’ where each fibre contains up to 200 micro pores to wick moisture away.

If you have problems don’t be swayed by sock manufacturers claims that you will enjoy blister free walking if you wear their products. If boots are a poor fit, no matter how technical or ergonomically designed the sock is, you will experience discomfort, soreness or blisters.

Having taken all the above into account we are now ready to start fitting.

We recommend that you allow at least an hour for the complete process.

A few of you will be lucky and will have feet that conform to the manufacturers’ notion of average. Boot fitting should present few problems for you.

Most of you, however, will be outside this notional average and will need help beyond the care described above. For you, we may have to do some or all of the following:

  • reshape boots
  • use one of our numerous lacing techniques
  • fit specialist footbeds, tongue depressors or volume adjusters
  • change the socks, or, shock horror, use 2 pairs of socks.

All this and more we are prepared to do. Our time and expertise is free.

We have ramps and stone beds in the shop to test the boots on. Your answers to our queries whilst testing the boots supply valuable feedback for our fitters.

Finally we back all this up with our ‘Boot Fit Guarantee’.



      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
 
11 Edgedale Rd   tel:   0114 258 6228
Sheffield   fax:   0114 258 4810
S7 2BQ   email:   advice@foothills.co.uk