Credit: Quechua hiking shoes with Decathlon
The beauty of hiking (other than the surroundings) is that it’s free to do. You don’t need to pay for expensive lessons, and it’s the perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors all year round. Rambling is so accessible and easy for beginners to enjoy. It’s great exercise and a nice way to meet new people. Few other sports or activities are so open to people of all ages and budgets. But having the right gear can make all the difference, not just for keeping warm and comfortable, but also for staying safe on those rocky paths.
Other useful pieces of kit for your hike are navigation tools such as a map or compass (remember your phone may not always have signal in the countryside or in remote areas). A knife or multi-tool, first-aid kit, a headlamp or torch, and plenty of food and water to keep you going throughout the day.
How do I know which walking boots to go for?
Hiking footwear varies a lot. So when choosing your walking boots, make sure they are suitable for the type of walks you’ll be going on. To tackle rough terrain you’ll need boots with good ankle support, heel moulding, toe protection, and good grip. And make sure you wear them in before going on that first hike as the last thing you’ll want is to get blisters half way through.
There are several types of rambling shoes and boots to choose from, ranging from those suitable for short leisurely hikes, to multi-day backpacking trips. Here’s a quick guide:
How do I choose the correct size walking boots?
It might sound like a silly question. You know your shoe size, so are walking boots really any different? Well, the last thing you’ll want is boots which start to hurt half way through your trail. Hobbling along for the last 2 miles is never going to be fun, so when trying on boots, make sure you try both on with walking socks. Try on several models or sizes if necessary, and check the bottom of the heel and the front of the foot going downhill (some stores will have an area for you to test this). They shouldn’t hurt or feel too tight anywhere. Feel free to walk around the store. And gradually wear in your boots so they conform to the shape of your feet.