Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A little something for knocking around

17th June 2013

My first pair of walking boots were suede items from Salomon and I have stuck with them until long after that suede began to crack up due to wear and tear. Once they seemed too worn to be taken out on more demanding hikes, they were relegated to low level nearby trots. Currently, they reside at my place of work though I never really got to using them for lunchtime escapades in the likes of Lindow Common or The Carrs.

The hill wandering duties originally performed by those Salomons are now undertaken by a pair of Meindl Burmas that now are beyond four years of age and look as if they have many more miles in them yet. The leather may be scuffed and the soles showing a share of wear, but neither is anything that precludes their use on longer hill wandering outings. Prior to my fitting them with Superfeet insoles, they always felt hard on my feet at the end of long walks. That was something that I put down to my getting them in a sale for around £100 and does not stop my buying more boots with the Meindl name on them.

Even with that hardness more or less addressed, wearing them on lower level walks does feel like overkill. For that reason, I have been considering the option of fabric boots for those lower level walks. A review comparing a selection of such items caught my eye in Country Walking recently and what really surprised me were the prices; many cost more than my Meindls. Paying £150 for a pair of fabric boots is not that different from the amount of money that leather boots cost so I was resigned to remaining on the fence unless a tempting offer came my way.

Yesterday, such a thing did happen: I saw pairs of Regatta Crossland Mid boots on sale for £32 each in Matalan yesterday. Even without knowing that the recommended retail price was £70, it looked a good deal and I settled on a size 9 pair in grey and black for myself (size 8 ones felt a little too cosy around the toe for my liking). The soles do have chunky lugs and there is own-brand waterproofing, but my intended use for these is for low-level strolling when conditions get a little too muddy for trail shoes. Already, the new boots have been out on a short stroll by the River Bollin and there are no complaints from me about them so far. That revealed that the soles are not the stiffest since it was possible to feel the ground over which I was travelling, especially on gravel tracks. Because there have been times when stiff soles have divorced my feet so much from the ground under them that confidence in their gripped is dented, I am not complaining about this hint that these are not mountaineering boots. The main thing is that they fit me and that the lacing secures my feet in them.

While I get to make more use of the Regattas, I may add a stronger pair of fabric boots to their number. It’ll stay on the back burner for now because there are plenty of other higher priority matters in life for me at the moment. A wish list never is a bad thing to possess either, though.

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