Boots are the ultimate footwear for the winter, great at keeping your feet warm and protected during the colder months. A good pair of boots is a must for any wardrobe and finding the right pair can be a task in itself.
Our guide is designed to help you figure out the right pair for you and take you to a deeper look into what makes a good quality boot, how to care for boots, and the elements you should keep an eye out for.
Detailed Look at Boots
It says it on the tin, this is the outer sole of the boot. Often made of rubber to stop your foot from getting damp, it also features the tread of the boot. Tread patterns will vary depending on brand and boot; however, they all serve a purpose for certain types of terrain. Chunkier patterns work best for muddy conditions while shallow treads are ideal for rocky paths. Look out for boots with crevices, these provide a better grip, while boots with slim soles aren’t the best option if it is slippery. A top sole to look out for is Vibram Sole, credited at the first rubber lug sole, it keeps your feet dry and has a great grip.
Fits between the insole and the outsole and acts as a shock absorber, protecting the foot as you walk. The job of the midsole is to cushion your feet from the terrain you’re walking on.
This includes everything on the outside of the boot above the midsole. The upper is your protector against the elements, it can be made from different materials dependent on the environment and terrain you want to walk in. From sturdy and hard wearing leather or synthetic fabrics for a lightweight boot.
Some boots may feature liners depending on the style you have. Gore-Tex is a perfect example of a liner as it makes a boot waterproof, other liners can help to insulate a boot, ideal if wanting to walk in colder conditions. However, liners also restrict breathability of a boot, meaning your foot could get sweaty if walking in a warmer climate. Wearing a good quality pair of socks can help with insulation if your boot doesn’t have a liner, we’d recommend you check out some of our socks here.
Things to Consider When Buying Boots
Dependent on what you plan on doing while wearing the boot, you may ask yourself is the boot waterproof? You can buy pretreated water tech boots or treat them yourself. Gore-Tex liners are a great addition if you want a waterproof boot. However, if you only want a boot to keep you dry while out and about, leather boots are a great option at keeping your feet dry.
Insulated boots offer the best protection during those cold winter months, they offer the best protection at keeping your feet warm and toasty. However, it’s best to also consider how naturally warm they are, boots by design are great at keeping your feet warm so investing in some extra insulation might just make your feet sweaty. Consider what you’ll be doing while wearing your boots, if hiking mountains during the winter, then an insulated pair is best, if you’re wearing them just to the office maybe forego the insulation.
The grip of a boot is crucial and ultimately decides on when you’ll be wearing your boots. If you have a boot that slips and slides during wet or icy conditions, then you’ll only be able to wear them during dry periods which during the winter months can be slim. Consider looking at the outsole to determine whether they are a good fit for your needs or not.
Smaller features of a boot are also important to take a look at when buying a new pair. Lace up boots are great for outdoor activities or if you just prefer a tighter grip, laces ensures that the boot won’t be going anywhere. Pull on or zip up boots can’t be adjusted if you want a tighter fit but are a smarter option if you want to wear a pair of boots to the office. A gusseted tongue (a tongue attached to both sides of the boot) provides extra protection from the elements, you’ll find this in more of a technical boot, but it is a great addition to keep your foot dry and covered.
The Right Pair
The right pair of boots should fit to your feet, not the other way around. It can be easy to buy the wrong size boot, one that is too big and provides no support, or one that is too small and is a pain to walk in.
A good-sized boot should be snug and supportive around your feet but have enough movement of your toes, foot, and ankle. A way to see if the boot is the right fit for you is that there should be enough room behind the heel for one finger.
If you’re in a inbetween size, always size up to ensure a comfortable fit.
Breaking in Boots
Boots have that reputation for being difficult to break in. They rub, they ache, and then they hurt some more. As technologies have advanced breaking in boots is becoming less of a pain but here are some of our top tips.
- Wear a pair of good quality socks to take the pain away from blister prone areas.
- Start slow, don’t go on a 10-mile hike straight away, take small walks here and there and pack a spare pair of shoes should you need the relief.
- If wearing leather boots, bend and massage the leather at places where the boot bends (ankle and just below the toes), this will help soften the leather.
- Have a trusty packet of blister plasters just encase!
Breaking in boots is a slow process but not one you want to rush with some quick tricks and fixes you might find on the internet as they could either damage the boot or waste your time. You’ve invested your money in these boots, now invest the time in making them fit just right.
Caring for Boots
So, you’ve invested your money and your time in breaking your boots in, now you need to care for them if they are to last if you want them to. A little bit of care and attention into taking care of any shoe will prolong its life and boots are no exception. Some best practices include:
- Cleaning your boots thoroughly to remove dirt and debris.
- Nourishing your boots when they look dry.
- Reproofing boots little and often.
- Avoiding drying your boots in a hot room or near a heater – leather boots will cause shrinkage and cracking.
- If you want to stuff your boots with paper to help dry them, do not over stuff so that the boot becomes misshaped.
Taking pride in your boots and showing them care will prolong their life and your investment.
At Copperfield we have some great boot options for you, Danner boots are ideal for hikes and trekking, technical boots with a big impact. If you’re not looking for a technical boot our Redwing boots are smart and well designed to last a lifetime.
Explore our boots here.