Thursday, 24 September 2009

New Walking Equipment Page on Devon-Walks.co.uk



We’ve added a new walking equipment page to the Devon-Walks.co.uk website. Check it out for a quick guide to the gear you need to enjoy walking in Devon to it’s fullest. The article covers all equipment areas including the most important item of kit, the walking boot.

Having a good quality pair of walking boots is an absolute must for maximum comfort when walking. The wrong shoe can be an irritant, say if it’s not waterproof on a wet walk and your feet are damp and cold. Or it could be more serious, where a poorly fitting boot gives you blisters that remain painful for some time. The worst case scenario is that you could sustain a serious injury, to your ankle for example, by tripping or slipping. This could stop you enjoying a Devon walk for quite some time, what could be worse!

The importance of a good boot has become such a focus that some shops offer specialised fitting services. In fact in some larger stores I have seen a plastic moulded bridge of ‘rough ground’ for customers to walk over to test fit and grip on uneven surfaces. I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced that 2 metres of plastic knobbles are really a great aid when trying to decide on a new pair of boots but it certainly makes for great entertainment.

Personally I don’t think you can find one pair of boots that are suitable for all conditions. A main bugbear of mine is that the sturdier boots which have a strong sole that are excellent when walking in muddy conditions seem to have absolutely no grip when walking across rocks. For anyone that enjoys a walk on the coast, or even scaling the odd Tor, having a flexible sole that provides some grip on a smooth rock surface is a must. Admittedly the stiff sole provides the best base for longer hikes but even a wet country lane can prove treacherous in this kind of boot. Therefore I favour a lighter trail boot with more flexibility. You sacrifice some ankle support but it does live you free to bound from rock to rock whilst your boot wearing companions march steadily beside you.

In the summer I like a trail shoe in good weather. These very light low cut shoes are almost a trainer in some respects and don’t look out of place around town. They tend to be well ventilated and being lightweight won’t bog you down in the heat. These are best sorted to shorter walks and I would still recommend a light boot on longer hikes.

Whilst it is best to try boots on in store if you are familiar with a particular brands sizing it is well worth ordering online to enjoy the savings you get with the internet. I personally like to use Amazon as they are an established retailer with good customer services. They are normally thought of as a seller of books, CDs and other media but also stock a good range of walking equipment

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