Walking Boots for my Walking Holiday


You’ve booked on one of High Point Holidays' walking holidays in France or the UK (whether it be a guided walking holiday or an independent walking tour) and you now need to buy a new pair of walking boots. Well, the first thing you need to ensure is that you do this well in advance of your trekking or walking holiday, so that you have plenty of time to wear them in. The last thing you want is your walking holiday ruined by blisters.

Also take a look at our article about how to look after your feet.

When it comes to choosing your walking boots, there’s now an enormous range on the market with variations aimed at summer walking to more rugged winter conditions and a huge range of fits for differently shaped feet so you’d be forgiven for needing advice in this minefield.

There are plenty of factors to consider when purchasing a pair of walking boots

What type of walking will you be doing?

Your boot requirements will depend on the conditions you will be walking in, the distance, type of terrain and if you’ll be carrying a pack.

For shorter walks, look at light, mid boots or even a trail shoe. (Not recommended for any of our standard walking holidays)

For a full days hiking, a higher cut boot will provide ankle support and they are the recommended footwear for the vast majority of our multi-day walking holidays.

For a week’s backpacking, you’ll need a more rigid boot; a stiffer midsole will support the arch of the foot and toe box.

For crossing very wet areas, a membrane and as few seams as possible is ideal such as a full leather walking boot with large blocks of material.

For very rough terrain, you may require larger lugs (rubber nubs on the bottom of a walking boot’s outsole designed to help with traction) for grip and possibly a vibram sole for stability.

Types of shoe & boot

Walking boots

Traditional boots designed for more rugged trails and light off trail terrains with their increased support helping on longer or multi-day hikes. They are generally made out of slightly tougher leather or tougher synthetic materials and leather parts. They are less flexible and give increased support to your ankle and bridge. The cut reaches over the ankle which may cause discomfort if you are not used to having your footwear reach that high. These walking boots will require some breaking in. They are the recommended footwear for the vast majority of our multi-day walking holidays.
Make sure you take care of your walking boots between walking trips.

Rough Terrain hiking boots

These boots have toe caps, cemented out soles, moulded mid soles and synthetic linings. Inner membranes often feature Gore-Tex and some variants are compatible with crampons for mountaineering. The design is intended to give maximum support and shock absorption while remaining water resistant and breathable. The increased weight of these boots require getting used to but their stiffness will allow you to use a heavy pack and walk over 25 miles a day in comfort. These hiking or trekking boots could be favoured over lighter boots on our back-packing trekking tour of the Vanoise in the French Alps.

Below you’ll find a list of other types of shoe or boot, which may be applicable to specific walking holidays


Ideal for crossing a river where you do not want to get your main boots wet or for warm weather on easy low level walks. If using them on walks look for good support, strong straps and a good moulded grip on the sole.

Trail running shoes  

These are running trainers with special grip and extra padding to support the demands of trail running.

Hiking shoes 

Hiking shoes are the minimum requirement for the serious hiker. Ideal for well maintained low level walks.

Mountaineering boots 

Mountaineering boots are used for climbing mountains, ice climbing and are considered too stiff for usual backpacking. They are compatible with crampons and would be extremely durable, rigid, heavy and supportive with enough warmth to prevent frostbite. There are ‘single boots’ meaning the insulation is permanently attached to the boot as well as ‘double boots’ which are constructed from a shell with a removable insulating liner meaning that the liner can be removed if damp and the shell allowed to dry out.

Related articles: trekking trousers - taking care of your walking boots - Be Prepared



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