Work boots as hiking boots?

Flinders
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Re: Work boots as hiking boots?

Postby Flinders » 7 Jan 2019, 7:47pm

Airsporter1st wrote:If the human ankle is such a good design, I wonder why so many people manage to 'twist' them on uneven ground. Nothing wrong with my ankles, but I've been over on them a few times in my life - as I am sure have all those who are saying that ankle support is not necessary when hiking.


I'm inclined to agree. I think all joints with a high degree of mobility are vulnerable, though- the shoulder is another one. If you restrict the ankle by over-supporting it and not allowing it to absorb some of the movement/stress/slip, then the problem moves up to the knee, and you strain or wrench that instead.
There is also the extra problem that some of us females have re heels. Myself, I never wear heels, but many women wear them most of the time. That shortens the tendons down the back of the leg/ankle. Then they stick their feet in boots with no heel height to speak of, and the tendons just can't cope. I'm sure this is a contributory factor to females dishing ankles when out on the hills out of all proportion to males, even allowing for us females having less robust ankles in general.*

I do a sport that really stretches those tendons (horse riding, where your heel is kept lower than your toes and you balance across the arch, carrying much of, and at times all, your weight on the ball of the foot). I think it helps....

*I am reminded of an ancient Greek proverb I picked up when studying history 'I hate a woman thick about the ankles' :mrgreen:

brynpoeth
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Re: Work boots as hiking boots?

Postby brynpoeth » 7 Jan 2019, 7:57pm

I think I nearly nearly broke an ankle on some stairs, hard to walk for a few days, occasional pain/sensitivity for years, but not any more

Human ankles must have evolved to be flexible and strong, putting them in heavy stiff boots could be wrong I think, what did stone-age people do for shoes?
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pjclinch
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Re: Work boots as hiking boots?

Postby pjclinch » 8 Jan 2019, 8:25am

Flinders wrote:If you're going on a long trek you need boots designed for the terrain and which fit. Boots that need breaking in to any great extent (more than one or two walks) are by definition boots that don't fit. A well-fitted boot doesn't need breaking in at all. I would recommend you go to a shop where they are serious about boot fitting. like Fishers in Keswick (I'm sure other people on here can recommend other places if that's too far for you).


Very much this. My old leather winter climbing boots (with a steel shank in the sole so you can stand on crampon front points) had a rather bigger trip than envisaged for their first major outing at over 30 miles. Really not the right things for that particular job, but I got one tiny blister on a pinkie toe and no other problems (that was so long ago the boots came from Field and Trek when it was the serious outdoor supplier, if you can imagine such a thing these days).

Up here in Scotland I can recommend Tiso and Braemar/Cairngorm Mountain Sports for boot fitting from positive experience (I'm sure there are other good ones too). That's a thing where box-shifters really don't cut it unless you have a pet brand/size with something that will work for the job. Good fitting also applies to running shoes, so setting out to arm my daughter with some proper running shoes she was very keen on going to JD for the cool Nikes du jour but I took her to Run4It and after about half an hour with the aid of video shot on treadmills she realised that there was more to it than what the cool girls in S5 wore to school.

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pwa
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Re: Work boots as hiking boots?

Postby pwa » 8 Jan 2019, 8:42am

I have to slightly disagree with the notion that well fitting boots don't need breaking in. That might be true of boots made from synthetic materials, but not leather boots. The leather performs differently once it has developed creases with wear. I speed this up by manipulating the leather in my hands. I would never set out on a very long walk in brand new boots, no matter how good the fit.

But a well fitting boot will feel good on short walks straightaway and will not take long to become right for long walks.

The only shop near to me that has a good range of boots is a branch of Cotswold, a retailer I associate with high prices. But the staff know their stuff and give you a very unrushed service. They even have a wooden ramp you can walk down to check how the boot holds your foot on downward slopes. You don't want your foot sliding forwards in the boot compressing your toes.

For me the hiking boot is the ultimate example of something you don't buy online. You need to try several different pairs and get something that feels like it could have been made for you. You don't want your choice dictated by the notion that one brand or another is best.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Work boots as hiking boots?

Postby Oldjohnw » 8 Jan 2019, 8:46am

have to slightly disagree with the notion that well fitting boots don't need breaking in. That might be true of boots made from synthetic materials, but not leather boots.


Not my experience. About 5 years ago I bought leather Scarpa boots and used that the next day for a full day's hill walking. They were as comfortable as slippers.
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pwa
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Re: Work boots as hiking boots?

Postby pwa » 8 Jan 2019, 8:59am

Oldjohnw wrote:
have to slightly disagree with the notion that well fitting boots don't need breaking in. That might be true of boots made from synthetic materials, but not leather boots.


Not my experience. About 5 years ago I bought leather Scarpa boots and used that the next day for a full day's hill walking. They were as comfortable as slippers.

I use Scarpa leather boots too, but they are definitely more pliable now than they were when new. The main area I would expect some initial rubbing is the cuff at the top of the boot, which can be a little too rigid in a new boot. I manipulate that part of the boot in my hands to make it easier to bend, and that means that my breaking in period is quite short. I'm on my second pair, my first pair having been stolen about 8 years ago. They were probably a similar age when they went, so I've been hiking in Scarpa boots for 16 years or thereabouts.

You might get away with doing a very long walk (15 miles+) in new boots, but I'd not recommend it to anyone. It risks problems that could easily be avoided by doing a few shorter walks first.

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Re: Work boots as hiking boots?

Postby Vorpal » 8 Jan 2019, 9:13am

Some boots certainly do need breaking in. I tend to avoid those sort these days. I don't see any need to do that, when I can buy boots that don't need breaking in.

That said, I still would not recommend walking 10 miles in new hiking boots. Increase distances gradually. Get used to the boots and the walking. 8)
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pjclinch
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Re: Work boots as hiking boots?

Postby pjclinch » 8 Jan 2019, 11:41am

Leather boots are like leather saddles. If they're right they'll start off good and break in to better. If they're wrong they'll start off horrible and break in to tolerable (or you'll just give up). There is, of course, a spectrum between these two end points.

While a "right" leather boot will become more pliable with time as it breaks in, that isn't something that needs to happen for the boots to work (in fact, where you need a stiff boot and they've turned in to carpet slippers you've effectively worn them out), as Oldjohnw's and my vintage Scarpa Fitzies demonstrate.

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