Trying out walking? Footwear tips for new walkers

Lots of people try walking as a new year’s resolution, at the coldest, wettest and darkest time of year! Berkshire Walkers are still out every weekend exploring the countryside around us. Trainers may be fine in summer, but if you wear trainers in winter, they will get muddy and your feet will get wet! Especially if we come across a flooded path.

When there are lots of puddles, wellies with thick/multiple socks and insoles might be ok for a short walk. But walking boots are much more comfortable for a longer walk. Choose a waterproof pair made of treated material like Gore-Tex or leather. Boots come up higher than trainers, making it less likely you’ll get wet, muddy ankles and feet. They also support your ankles and the soles give you good grip, which is nice to have on slippery, uneven ground and hills.

Cheap boots are fine if you’re not sure if walking is for you or you’re on a budget. You can always upgrade later. If you are able to spend more, you might want to look for a long-lasting or lightweight pair, but splashing out is not necessarily worth it for walking around Berkshire. How they fit and being waterproof are the most important things.

So below is a run-down of outdoor/activity stores in and around Berkshire, with some boots well under £30. Going to a shop means you can try on a few pairs, with a choice of widths, shapes, insoles to suit different arches etc. If you’re going to be wearing them for 6+ miles they’d better fit well from the start. Wear walking socks when trying on boots to help you get the right size.

Once you have a pair of boots, it’s a good idea to wear them in around the house or on a short walk before embarking on a 10-mile hike. And wear walking socks to reduce the risk of damp feet and blisters – the right socks can really make a difference.

Remember that your Ramblers membership card gets you 15% off at Cotswold Outdoor, and possibly discounts elsewhere. At Go Outdoors you can buy a discount card for £5. Also look out for student discounts, and search Google or similar for discount codes and cashback.

Go Outdoors
Reading


Sports Direct
Newbury, Reading, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Slough


Blacks / Millets
Newbury, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell


Mountain Warehouse
Newbury, Wokingham, Bracknell, Henley, Marlow, Taplow


Trespass
Newbury, Reading, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Windsor


Decathlon
Reading, Slough


Cotswold Outdoor *Ramblers get 15% off full-price items (Ts & Cs apply)*
Reading, Windsor


You can find more information on choosing walking boots and footwear care on the Ramblers website. And check out our walking equipment tips for what to wear and bring on a walk.