Good Evening Fellow Ferals!
Well, it looks like winter is not quite done with us yet! With up to 20 cm of snow forecast in some parts of the UK over the coming days I have seen flocks of eager mountain goers gearing up for some serious snowy mountain trips. Ice axes, crampons and B-rated boots have been flying off the shelves, and the shop floor staff in Trekitt have been buried under mountains of boots fits. It comes to our attention daily that people quite often do not know what to expect when they are coming in for a ‘proper’ boot fit. As adults (who probably haven’t been fitted for shoes since school) we are so used to walking into a shop, pointing at a pair of shoes, stating our size and leaving with that exact pair. You may well get away with that in casual shoes and trainers, but walking boots fits require a LOT more care and attention. I will always recommend that you come in to store to get fitted properly, but if you are hours away and you HAVE to rely on buying online then check out this video by Trekitt on how to fit your footwear at home. So here’s my list on what you need to know before you come in for a boot fit.
- You might not end up in the boots you have your heart set on // I’m sorry in advance, but they just might not work for your foot shape. This is partly why it’s so important to come in store – we have all been extensively trained on how to properly fit footwear (Cus it’s not just your length! It’s your width, the shape of your toes, the volume and any ‘abnormalities’ e.g. bunions, collapsed arches, tight Achilles etc), and unfortunately the boots that work for you might not be the ones you fell in love with when you walked into the store. Aesthetics aren’t everything – I am far more concerned about whether or not your feet are as comfortable as possible. Plus, all boots look the same covered in mud, right?
- It will take a decent amount of time // If you think that you can be in and out in 5 minutes then I am sorry but you could not be more wrong. A proper boot fit can take anything between 20-45 minutes (on the odd occasion it may take longer!) – which is nothing compared to the amount of time you will be spending in your new boots. So make sure you’re not in a rush (this may force you into a making the wrong decision), bring a snack, have a cup of tea (with us!) and take your time over this. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have to rush a boot fit.
- You will probably be a totally different foot size to what you think you are (and that’s okay!) // I find this 99% of the time – Most people haven’t had their feet measured since they were teenagers. Your feet keep growing! On top of that, your arches collapse (especially if you’ve had kids) and your feet widen; because of this most people are a totally different size to what they think they are. As a trend, most women think they have smaller feet than they actually do, and most men think they have bigger feet them they actually do (go figure, right?). On top of that, walking boots need to fit totally differently to casual shoes. You may be used to your toes touching the front of your gym trainers (without even realising it) – but in walking boots/shoes there needs to be at least a fingers width of room between your toes and the end of the boot; this allows room for your feet slipping slightly when you come downhill (bruised toenails are the WORST). No matter the gradient of hill, your toes should never touch the end of the boot.
- Bring the pair of socks you’ll use in your boots// In order to get the most accurate fit for you, it would be beneficial to fit the boots to the type of sock you’ll be wearing (i.e. if you ALWAYS wear liners that may make a difference to the fit). If you are totally new to the game then it’s also a good opportunity for us to discuss the benefits of wearing technical socks (a blog post that will be coming later!) over cotton socks.
- You shouldn’t have to ‘break in’ a pair of boots// Whether you are after a pair of winter mountaineering boots, walking shoes or even a pair of sturdy sandals, there is so much on the market now that you do not have to compromise. If you feel like you have to ‘break in’ a pair of boots, then I can guarantee that the fit is incorrect; and with so much option why would you settle? Caring retailers would much rather you left the shop with nothing than with boots that will make your feet sore.
- You won’t always get a true feel for your boots in the shop (but we try our hardest!) // We will get you to walk endlessly around the shop, ask you questions about your feet, get you to walk up our ‘pretend mountain’ and then stomp back down it to make sure your toes don’t come into contact with the front of the boot – and realistically after all of that they might still feel different after you’ve worn them for an hour or two, and that’s okay! Trekitt (and I’m sure other retailers offer this service too) allow you to test your boots round the house for a week to make sure you are as happy as Larry with them. As long as you bring them back in a resellable condition then they’ll refund or swap them for you. As soon as you take them outside though, they are yours for life – so make sure you take advantage of that trial at home period!
- You will probably be talked into buying the proper care product (but it’s only because we care) // Most boot manufacturers make their own care products for their boots – and with good reason! They put a lot of time and care into the construction of their boots and a lot of them have very high reputations that they wish to maintain. This means they spend a lot of time creating the best aftercare products to suit their boots. We also care about how your boots will serve you over the next 5, 10, 15 years, so we will talk to you for ages about how to care for your boots properly in order to ensure they are with you for a very long time. I’m not on commission so I promise it’s not to squeeze an extra £5 out of you!
- There is no such thing as a stupid question // Trust me, I have pretty much heard them all! I would much rather you asked a million ‘stupid’ questions and learnt something – there is nothing worse then the person who thinks they know it all already! Sometimes I am asked a question that I don’t know the answer to and I’ll have to ask a fellow colleague or do a bit of research and then I end up learning something new too! Win win!
- We will have to touch your feet // You might think it’s weird, but it’s part of the measuring process. I may have a feel around to get an idea of the shape of your Achilles, your toes and your arches. If you don’t like people seeing or touching your feet then let us know in advance and we can work around it! I promise you though, I have definitely seen worse.
- You cannot get lightweight, durable and cheap walking boots // Pick two. I’ll always opt to pay more for a pair of boots I know will last and that will look after my feet. Durability is not cheap and cheap will not last (nor are they comfy and lightweight). I’m not saying that you have to fork out for the most expensive boot on the wall in order to get the most lifetime out of them, but be aware that you will be looking to pay upwards of £130 for a decent pair of Gore-tex Boots (it will be worth it, I promise). Plus, decent boots usually come with a good warranty, so make sure you enquire about that during your fit.
And that’s about all I can think of! If you have any questions about what more to expect during a boot fit then ask away. I promise it’s not a scary experience – and it’s a totally safe space to get some unbiased advice and a brilliant cup of coffee (again, I can only speak for Trekitt)!
See you next week!
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