Author Topic: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process  (Read 1313 times)

PatrickJ

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Argh, so I'm trying to replace my old Keen walking boots.


Now I've been walking more seriously I've realised they are actually quite ill fitting as my feet start to expand - my toes are rammed right up at the ends and there's pressure over the top of my right foot.  Clearly they are a little small for me.


So for the past 2 weeks I've been trying to buy some new ones.


First challenge I've had navigating through the mind boggling amount of boots out there; and understanding the differences between boots designed for general path walking, hiking, trekking, backpacking, mountaineering, approach shoes etc. etc.   Then when going to my local outdoor stores to look at a few options (Cotsworld / GO) I'm faced with unknowledgeable staff and little available stock in my size.  With Covid these stores aren't offering a decent fitting service (in my recent experiences) so I'm resorting to researching and buying multiple pairs online on my credit card to try out at home.


I've got a decent budget (around 200) but want to ensure I purchase an investment that's going to last me a good number of comfortable, pain free years. 

Currently I have a pair of Meindl Tonale GTX's at home which have been my favourite of the ones I've tried thus far but there's not much information about them on the internet or many website or user reviews.


This weekend / Monday I should receive a pair of Scarpa R-Evo's GTX, Scarpa ZG Treks GTX and HOKA One One SKY KAHA GTX. [/font][/size] Does anyone have any experience thoughts on any of these boots?   The R-Evo's on paper seem to meet most of the criteria but I'm a little concerned on sizing as they didn't do a 11.5 so I had to go for a 12 (a full size up from my regular shoe size).


I mainly walk in the Chilterns but when restrictions lift I hope to get to Dartmoor in the spring and hopefully the Peaks, Lakes and Wales at some point too.  So I'm looking for something versatile but not overly heavy that's going to cope with most things other than snow and scrambling (if / when I get interested by these things I'll buy something more suited for this).


Would love to hear opinions!


Thanks

pauldawes

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #1 on: 19:41:48, 02/10/20 »
Go to a good outdoors goods shop near you that employs qualified boot fitters.


Tell them what you intend using boots for.


Try on boots they select for you until you find a really comfortable boot.


Negotiate a price and buy them.




PatrickJ

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #2 on: 19:46:25, 02/10/20 »
Go to a good outdoors goods shop near you that employs qualified boot fitters.


Tell them what you intend using boots for.


Try on boots they select for you until you find a really comfortable boot.


Negotiate a price and buy them.


I really wanted to do this, go to an indepent store and speak to some one knowledgable and passionate.  They just don't seem to exist here any more; there used to be at least 1, maybe even 2 in St. Albans but they seem to have gone.  It's just GO, Cotsworld, Tresspass or Mountain Warehouse.   


If anyone knows of one in the Watford / St Alband area please let me know - happy to travel for an hour or so (but not to central london).

Ridge

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #3 on: 20:06:15, 02/10/20 »
I don't know any independents but I've had good service and knowledgeable chats in the Cotswold in Watford in the past.

PatrickJ

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #4 on: 20:10:02, 02/10/20 »
I don't know any independents but I've had good service and knowledgeable chats in the Cotswold in Watford in the past.


In fairness the guy in Cotsworld Watford who helped me this week was helpful but they just didn't have any stock in, he said they were running really low in my size for some reason.  They only had 3 boots for me to try - a pair of Solomans, Scarpa Terra GTX and the Meindl Tonales that I took home.

sussamb

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #5 on: 20:45:40, 02/10/20 »
I have Meindl Bhutans, they've been excellent since I got them and stood up to a very wet Coast to Coast walk in March.
Where there's a will ...

Ridge

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #6 on: 20:52:35, 02/10/20 »

In fairness the guy in Cotsworld Watford who helped me this week was helpful but they just didn't have any stock in,
Pleased they were helpful.
I think that the current situation has upped the sales of outdoor gear. I suppose that supply chains are so tight these days that the smallest up turn in sales and down turn in manufacturing creates problems.

pauldawes

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #7 on: 20:53:32, 02/10/20 »

I really wanted to do this, go to an indepent store and speak to some one knowledgable and passionate.  They just don't seem to exist here any more; there used to be at least 1, maybe even 2 in St. Albans but they seem to have gone.  It's just GO, Cotsworld, Tresspass or Mountain Warehouse.   


If anyone knows of one in the Watford / St Alband area please let me know - happy to travel for an hour or so (but not to central london).


Sympathy, that turns it into a real crapshoot. Hope some one can recommend a good shop somewhere near you.

kinkyboots

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #8 on: 07:16:51, 03/10/20 »
It's a hell of a trek for you but Lockwoods have a good reputation https://lockwoods.com/ and they are an Altberg Premier Stockist.

If you're prepared to wait until your next trip up to the Dales or Lakes you won't find a better bootfitters in the country than Whalley Warm & Dry https://www.whalleyoutdoor.co.uk/

Of the places you mention visiting Taunton Leisure also have a good reputation https://www.tauntonleisure.com/

fernman

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #9 on: 08:53:56, 03/10/20 »
Cotswold website still offers a boot fitting service, see here:
https://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/about-us/our-services.html
They recommend you book an appointment.

The lack of stock existed long before the pandemic. My wife wanted some new Teva sandals or a similar brand. Lots on the website, only two in the store. She bought elsewhere.

But my assumption is, if they measure you up they will then get in a particular model you like, in your size? I can see the disadvantages to that: you don't get the chance to try the model on beforehand, it involves two trips to the store instead of one, and then you might not like them. By now you're wanting to get it over and done with, so you might push yourself into compromising.

I'm in the market for new boots too, and following my illness I intend to go out and try a few miles in a week or two to test myself. Then I'll use Cotswold's fitting service (unlike you, though, I already have a good idea of what I want). Watford and St Albans are my two nearest Cotswolds as well, and I must admit I'm really not sure which one will be my choice for boot fitting.

WhitstableDave

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #10 on: 09:12:22, 03/10/20 »
...
This weekend / Monday I should receive a pair of Scarpa R-Evo's GTX, Scarpa ZG Treks GTX and HOKA One One SKY KAHA GTX. [/font][/size] Does anyone have any experience thoughts on any of these boots?   The R-Evo's on paper seem to meet most of the criteria but I'm a little concerned on sizing as they didn't do a 11.5 so I had to go for a 12 (a full size up from my regular shoe size).
...

I much prefer walking shoes to boots and only wear boots when conditions make it necessary. Having said that though, I've done several hundred miles in my Scarpa R-Evo GTX boots and I really can't fault them.  O0

PatrickJ

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #11 on: 09:32:07, 03/10/20 »
I much prefer walking shoes to boots and only wear boots when conditions make it necessary. Having said that though, I've done several hundred miles in my Scarpa R-Evo GTX boots and I really can't fault them.  O0


That's good to hear! Did you try them out on Dartmoor (I saw you were there recently?).

WhitstableDave

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #12 on: 09:42:05, 03/10/20 »

That's good to hear! Did you try them out on Dartmoor (I saw you were there recently?).

Definitely! Dartmoor is a good example of a place to wear boots; paths tend to be very rocky and rough, there are lots of little streams to wade through, there's masses of tussocky grass and heather, loads of boggy bits... I could go on!  ;)

Edit: Here's a zoomed-in bit of a photo I posted from Dartmoor - note the Scarpa boots!  8)


« Last Edit: 09:49:02, 03/10/20 by WhitstableDave »

PatrickJ

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #13 on: 09:50:39, 03/10/20 »
Definitely! Dartmoor is a good example of a place to wear boots; paths tend to be very rocky and rough, there are lots of little streams to wade through, there's masses of tussocky grass and heather, loads of boggy bits... I could go on!  ;)


Yes, I grew up in Tavistock so I'm very familiar with Dartmoor terrain :).  It's good to know the EVO's worked well - they are arriving today and I'm keen to try them on.  I've tried a few other pairs of Scarpa boots and they've all been very comfortable.

Eyelet

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Re: New Boots - What an Overwhelming and Frustrating Process
« Reply #14 on: 18:41:09, 03/10/20 »

You should really be asking us this question with a description of your feet in terms of both size and width. As any decent boot fitters will tell you, not all boots fit all feet. Also remember that the lasting can change when the boots are updated and last year's fit may be different to this year's model (Salomon please note).

A couple of tips: if you go for a fitting, go in the afternoon, preferably after a decent walk, so your feet will be at their maximum size and width for the day and take your own clean "worn-in" hiking socks that you will be wearing with them (and any custom insoles if you use them). If you find the staff unknowledgeable, try asking the store manager for help. If you are trying the mail order route, when you get your boots delivered, take out the insoles and put your feet on them, stand up and assess the fit between the new boots and your existing ones. Try it again when you wake up and at the end of the day and see how much your feet change in size/shape. Wear a pair for at last an hour including doing lots of stairs. You need to see about 1cm gap at the front. If you get heel-lift, try different lacing methods to set the correct width for your forefoot and then lock the laces firmly at the ankle using surgeons knots (one extra turn) to hold the tongue centrally. For me, any remaining heel-lift is a no-no for purchase.

I have size 12.5 narrow feet with one normal arch and one high arch and wear custom insoles (brilliant). Usually size 48's will fit me but not in all brands. I have had several pairs of Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX boots over the years which have an excellent build quality and fit.  I and several friends have various Altbergs - not the most fashionable perhaps, but well made and available in a range of widths. I have also been wearing Scarpa boots for decades as they fit my feet and currently a pair of two-year old Marmolada Treks (not the stiffer Pro version) and 4 year-old Charmoz winter boots which have been excellent. Scarpa also have a trustworthy and responsive product return service should you need it.

If you are still unsure and it is a hell of a long journey from Watford, but has the advantage that you can walk in the Lakes for the weekend: visit George Fisher in Keswick. Great range of boots stocked, with expert boot fitters and as far as I am aware, the only shop I have heard of where once you have worn you have worn the boots on the hill a few times, they will still take the boots back if you cannot get on with them, with an allowance for wear and tear.  As they sell these returned boots in the shop, you can often get a bargain if you are lucky and amazingly, these are also covered by the same guarantee! They also offer an exchange on Fishers-purchased used junior boots, if your kids grow out of them. See:https://georgefisher.co.uk/pages/visit-george-fisher-services-boot-fitting. You could also talk to them about what they could offer you as a mail order customer - I don't know if they do virtual boot fitting.

As already mentioned, Whalley Warm and Dry in Whalley also do a very professional measuring and boot fitting service, but don't offer the take-back service.
« Last Edit: 18:46:53, 03/10/20 by Eyelet »