When is a boot not just a boot?

When it’s a trekking boot of course.

I never actually realised how many shops there are selling trekking/outdoor gear. Never having needed the services of this type of shop before, I had never really taken a great deal of notice. I knew of a couple in the suburbs but was unprepared for the choice of outlets, let alone the choice in gear, when I actually went to buy something.

A couple of serious trekking outlets had been recommended when I booked the trek through World Expeditions and I thought them the best place to start. On the one stretch of Hay St though I found, not only those two, but a further two. Add these to the ones I had ventured into in my local suburb in the last couple of weeks and you could say I was rather overwhelmed.

Not for long though. It soon became crystal clear that just as there is a great array of gear available there is also a huge difference in the service available at these outlets.

The staff at Paddy Pallin, the first place I went into, was by far the most knowledgeable, the most helpful and the most professional. As for the others, well, even once the staff had stopped chatting amongst themselves and noticed I was there, they really didn’t seem terribly forthcoming with help or advice.

Anyway, this is what I bought – from Paddy Pallin!

Aren’t they lovely? My first pair of trekking boots, in fact my first bit of trekking gear, and they are the Scarpa Kailish GTX, impressive or what? These boots and I are going to become very close over the next few months.

But here are 10 things I learnt about buying trekking boots:

  1. One trekking boot is not just like the next.
  2. You need to be able to fit trekking socks in them (and these are a whole different story in themselves).
  3. The type of trek you’re going on and the altitude, matter.
  4. Width matters just as much as length – really, it does. In a women’s boot if the length is right but they are too tight, try a men’s in the same size.
  5. They have a ramp in the shop so you can try the boots going uphill and downhill – who would have thought it?
  6. Trekking boots shouldn’t bend.
  7. Your heel shouldn’t move up and down – self explanatory really, you don’t want blisters.
  8. There are so many ways to lace a boot – and each way makes it feel differently.
  9. A Gore-Tex lining is good (see, I’m even getting the terminology now).
  10. And one last thing – my boots have a wedge in the heel for stability!

So now my boots and I intend to begin the journey, think we might take our first tentative steps together next weekend. Wish us luck.

15 thoughts on “When is a boot not just a boot?

  1. It’s great to have you following my travel blog. We travelers need to stick together. Looks like you made a good choice on the boots, AND you learned a lot at the same time. Happy hiking.

  2. I can’t say how many pairs of hiking boots I’ve had … but my present ones are called ‘Skywalk’ and are really comfortable. They replaced a pair of Timberlands, which I had for nearly 20 years.

    My first-ever were a pair of Army surplus ones; surprisingly comfortable once you’d broken them in. My uncle used to say that good boots should cost a week’s wages … I always though either he was getting ripped off, or his boss was exploiting him shamelessly!

  3. Yeh – I’m not sure about the weeks wages either. My boots and I seem compatible so far, but we’ve only done an hour or so at a time. The test will be on the longer walks.

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