Boots, shoes, sandals and socks are one of the most important parts of any travel kit, many pay the price for overlooking this, with sores and blisters that can ruin your day or even the whole trip!
Look after your feet, and they will take you anywhere, so don't buy a new pair of boots just before you depart on a hiking holiday, try many types and makes until you find one that is comfortable right from the start and break them in a little before you go. The same goes for shoes/trainers and sandals too, there are some great adventure sandals available now, when the going gets tough and it's just too hot for boots.
My favorites are Merrell Kahuna's, water sandals built with a soft leather upper, neoprene lining, a compression molded EVA footframe and contains the added benefits of Microban® antimicrobial product protection.
My size 9 Kahuna for scale on a huge leaf in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore
I have walked many a mile over rough terrain in these, and the only problem I have had was of my own doing, I whacked them together to shake off some wet sand, and broke one of the adjustment buckles, a quick e-mail to Merrell later for a replacement buckle, ended in me sending the cleaned pair back to them, and soon got back a brand new pair free of charge!
Everyone has their favorite pair of walking boots, mine are the Brasher Hillmaster GTX, a full grain leather boot with a Gore-Tex lining, I walked round most of America in these without a single problem, and was going to take them on an 8 month round the world trip, but my friends dog had other ideas! One day I will replace them, probably with the Brasher Supalite GTX, my friends have these boots, and they wouldn't change them for anything!
My backup pair were Meindl Atlanta's, they were practically brand new, I had bought them while on a trip in Scotland many years ago, and never used them, but they soon got a thorough workout on the many hundreds of kilometers of hiking I did in Tasmania, New Zealand, Chile, Peru and Brazil. I still wear them today, and will continue to till they wear out and fall apart!
Another favorite walking shoe is the Merrell Moab Vent, more like a trainer for rougher terrain, ideal for any days out in warmer climes, the venting allows good air circulation and as with most Merrells, they are comfy right out of the box!
I wear these most days when on my trips or back home, and am now on my second pair, when they wear out, I will probably buy another pair, sometimes, "when something ain't broke, it don't need fixing!!"
All hiking boots/shoes are only as good as the socks you wear with them, get it wrong and they can actually make matters worse, causing dreadful blisters and sores, especially on the heel. I have been around the world without a single blister or foot complaint, and I attribute that to the wonderful Tilley Ankle socks, they don't look like much, are quite thin, which is great in the hot weather, and they wick moisture away from your feet for extra breathability, wash them every night in a sink or when you have a shower, and they will be dry and ready again the next morning.
You only need two pairs on any trip (one as a spare), which can lessen the load if you want to pack light, they also come with a 3 year 'All-Holes-Barred Guarantee', and I can't recommend them enough! (I'm still looking for a reliable source of these socks, so stay tuned!)
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