Boots are made for walking, but they need to fit correctly for happy trails!

Finding the best-fitting walking boots is not as straight forward as many walkers would like to think. In the absence of a Fairy Godmother who conveniently supplies you with perfectly fitting shoes at the waft of a sparkly wand, you need to put in a fair amount of preparation and effort to find the boots that will give you the best walking experience. (If this information instigates an eye-roll, remember glass shoes are ridiculously impractical and only of any use when trying to locate a missing person!).
We have a comprehensive range of footwear, including walking boots and shoes, at BCH Camping, and we offer a boot fitting service to ensure that all customers take away the best fitting boots for them. We realise, however, that not all of our customers can get to the stores, so we’ve put together a guide for how to measure and fit your walking boots.
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What do I need to do to ensure my walking boots fit me correctly?
Your first consideration when buying walking boots should always be matching the boots to the type of walking you intend to do. Different terrains and conditions require different types of boots; please refer to our earlier blog explaining what to look for in different types of boots.
When you’re ready to try some walking boots for size, make sure you’re wearing the same kind of walking socks you would wear on a walk. You’re then ready to work through the following steps (excuse the pun) to find the best boots for you:

  • If the insole can be easily removed, take it out of the boot and lay it on a clean floor. Stand on it with the corresponding foot, making sure that your heel is at the back. You should be able to lay the width of your finger between the top of your toes and the end of the insole, which will allow enough room to push forward inside of the boot when walking descents.  
  • If all is well, put both boots on, but don’t lace them up. Stand up, spreading your feet to fill as much of the surface area as possible. You should be able to run your finger snugly between your foot and the back of the boot, touching both at all times without any gapping, as you move your finger around without adding any force.
  • You can now lace the boots up. Sit down and firstly ensure that the tongue is central, then angle your boot by raising your toes so that you push your heel back into the heel cup. Place your foot flat again, and being to lace your boots from the toes upwards. As you’re lacing, check that the boot is not bulging (if it is, they’re probably too small), or you’re having to use excessive tension (in which case, they may be too big).
  • When you’ve laced your boots and you’ve stood up, you should feel that the boots are now protecting your feet. If your toes are touching the end of the boot in the standing position, they’re too small. At the other end, you need to check if your heel is secure. Roll forward and back on your toes and heels. If your heels come up inside the boot, out of the heel cup, there is too much room, so the first thing to do is check if you can tighten the laces to stop this happening whilst maintaining the comfort. If, after tightening the laces, the heel still comes up out of the heel cup, the boots are too large for you.
  • To assess the overall fit of the boots, you should move your weight around and flex your feet to see how the boots react. You should continue to feel supported and that your feet are being comfortably held in place. Have a good feel around the outside of the boots to make sure your feet aren’t bulging anywhere, and that there aren’t areas that feel as if there is too much space/gapping underneath. When flexing your foot there shouldn’t be excessive creasing on the boot over the balls of your feet, towards your toes. If there is, your boots may be too large. Likewise, if they’re pinching they’re probably too narrow.
  • Once you’ve established that the boots fit well, you should wear them at home on clean floors, walking around the house, up and down stairs, leaving them on for a couple of hours. If they continue to feel comfortable and protect your feet, you’ve probably found the best boots for you.
Try different types of boots before making a decision
At BCH Camping, even if customers have found the boots to be comfortable and ticked all of the above boxes, we don’t pack them off with the first pair they’ve tried. We encourage our customers to try different styles and brands to be sure that they’re not settling with a pair, just to make a quick purchase. Whilst we don’t advocate forcing customers to stay in our stores, we do encourage them to spend time trying different pairs so that we know they’ll make an informed decision.

The BCH Camping boot fitting service
Each boot brand has a slightly different shape and sizing. Scarpa and Zamberlan, for example, are brands that tend to have a narrow fit, whereas the British Berghaus boots are usually wider. This is where the BCH Camping expertise comes in, by listening to the customers’ feedback when fitting the boots. When we hear, “these feel tight” or “these are loose around the heel” we can guide customers towards the right shape of boot for their foot. All of our staff are outdoor enthusiasts and have extensive knowledge of all the brands we stock.
If you can’t make it into our store, make sure you’ve considered and tried a variety of boot types, as different weights and styles suit different people.
The BCH Camping boot fitting service is available at all of our stores on a daily basis. If you would like any further information about our walking boots, or if there is anything else we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.