The question that used to have a simple answer, what outdoor foot wear should I have to go out walking and hiking, the boot simple as that was all the choice there was when I took my first steps in the great outdoors. Now, unfortunately, that is no longer the case as you have walking boots, shoes and even sandals which will all certainly get you from A to B in the right circumstances. You could even use the statement that the boot is more stable as it supports the ankle, so you won’t go over on them, simple, job sorted.

Well it isn’t as straightforward as that. If a boot was designed to stop you going over at the ankle it would have to be so rigid in the way it is made that you would have to have your ankles held firmly in position with little movement, almost as if they were in splints. Actually there is a boot that would fit these constraints, but unfortunately I don’t think it could be practically used for hiking, or even a short walk, as they are called ski boots.

The real answer is you have to make a decision based on what you are going to doing, whether it’s short walks, day long hikes, or hitting the high fells, but here are a couple of things that you may want to think about while you are making your mind up.

As a rule, most people will look at walking boots as being more solid because of their appearance, and there is a certain reassurance about having the ankle supported. However the boot doesn’t automatically turn on a special force field which means you will never turn your ankle again, trust me I know that one from painful personal experience. And I managed it simply stepping off a bus in Australia and catching the edge of the curved pavement leaving myself in a very undignified heap with a rapidly swelling ankle. Boots will however protect the ankle area from grazes and other abrasions as they are more effective against keeping out small stones and gravel. However, due to the there design and construction they are heavier and hotter than shoes as they cover more skin area, so do restrict movement, and can make walking over uneven ground a bit more difficult.

Shoes which are well designed are just as stable as a comparable boot. They are obviously lighter and because the ankle is not restricted it is easier to place your feet precisely. In effect they can actively encourage you to walk properly. With less of the foot covered it does not get as hot, making for more comfortable walking in summer. However, you do have to put up with the occasional piece of gravel getting in and of course you suffer more in the winter months.

Personally speaking I’ve always preferred boots, but that’s all there was when I started outdoor walking (back when Noah was building his first toy boat). The modern walking shoes are certainly something I have  considered, but at the end of the day when choosing your outdoor foot wear it normally comes down to what the individual likes best, so why not make your own minds up and see what the latest offers are on the website. I know I have spotted a new pair I like the look of, in fact there are two, decisions, decisions.