After a suitable and well-fitting rucksack, my next major consideration was what to wear on my feet.
Last year I took some advice on trail and mountaineering footwear. I made the foolish mistake of listening and trusting someone else’s views instead of listening and trusting what my feet were telling me. The boots I bought as a result turned out to be a hellish nightmare. They pained my feet, made the soles burn and generally made me feel as though I was dragging a couple of lead clumps around on the bottom of my legs. They also altered my gait which led to me dislocating my left knee and further damaging my broken back (more on that delight another time). But for some bizarre reason, I soldiered on in them, up and down mountains here and there before finally giving up on them before Christmas.
I have nothing against Mammut, which is a brand that makes great mountaineering clothing and gear. I’m sure that these boots have worked well for thousands of other feet. But that’s the point… those thousands of others feet are not my feet.
So, for Walking Wales I have been markedly more sensible when it has come to choosing footwear. I went with a make of shoe which took me around Wales and the Inca Trail for hundreds and hundreds of miles in 2013 and 2014. They were so comfortable, I wore them until the soles were dangling off. Not a single blister or hot spot or sore point were suffered in these and frankly, I was a fool to not get another pair sooner. Better late than never though.
For £121 cheaper than the Mammuts, I present the Hi Tec Penrith. It’s not always about the brand or the attached price tag. Never again will I let anybody tell me that more expensive means better. Yes, the Mammuts are Gore-Tex and they have this feature and that. But who cares if they tear your tootsies to shreds?? I’ll take my £29 set of Hi Tecs, thanks all the same. They may not be Gore-Tex and come with all the bells and whistles but my feet couldn’t be happier inside them, and ultimately, that’s all that counts.
(Since writing this post, I’ve since bought another two pairs of glorious Hi Tec Penriths in a fit of worry that they were going out of production!)