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With golden autumnal landscapes beckoning you outside, now is the perfect time to enjoy health-boosting walks in the fresh air. The exercise guidelines for the second lockdown are, fortunately, less restrictive than those for the first. You can exercise outdoors near where you live without strict time limits. For example, you could explore your local park or an area of countryside close to your home on foot and at your own pace.

So why not lace up your walking boots and head outside this autumn!

Walking Helps to Protect Your Health

Walking has numerous health benefits, both physical and mental. It improves your circulation, strengthens muscles, helps you to manage your weight, reduces stress and promotes peaceful sleep.

Walks can be incredibly enjoyable, especially when you’re surrounded by nature. Even in a bustling city, you’ll find green spaces. We’re based in London, which boasts 3,000 parks.

You may like to try foot-strengthening exercises for walkers, especially while you get used to your new exercise routine.

To keep track of how much walking you do, you could download the Active 10 app, as suggested by the NHS – it’s like having a personal trainer in your pocket!

What Makes a Great Pair of Walking Boots?

Before tackling dense piles of fallen leaves, muddy puddles or rocky outcrops, you’ll want to check that your existing walking boots will look after your feet. If they’re not up to the job, treat yourself to a more suitable pair. While having your feet measured professionally at a shoe shop is the ideal approach, that’s not possible during lockdown. But you can always order online from a reputable brand. Clarks is a good starting point: it offers men’s and women’s walking boots in standard sizes, half-sizes and different width fittings.

Walking is a wonderful way to stay active, but it’s hard work for feet, so they need protection, support and comfort. Wear walking boots with the following features and you can minimise your chances of developing blisters and other foot complaints.

Designed for Your Chosen Terrain

Where will your autumn adventures take you?

If you’ll be covering even ground, lightweight boots made of a synthetic fabric may be ideal. They’re the sort of boots you can bend quite easily.

More unpredictable terrain calls for heavy-duty boots, preferably made of leather. You’ll want high, firm cuffs to support your ankles and stiff soles with deep ridges for enhanced stability. Look for a rubber rand around the edge, which acts like a car bumper.

Suitable for the Particular Shape of Your Feet

Consider a range of styles, as small variations (in the design of the toe box and heel counter, for instance) can have a big impact on the fit. Your boots should be snug, not tight or loose.

Remove the insoles and compare them to the shape of your feet. Do the insoles give your toes enough room? Are they wide enough even when your feet expand when you stand up?

Try on boots while you’re wearing your chosen walking socks, as they’ll affect the fit. Warm socks with moisture-wicking qualities keep feet cosy and dry.

Allow Skin to Breathe

Moisture-wicking socks can’t work properly if your boots trap sweat, so choose breathable footwear. Leather is naturally breathable; some synthetic boots have ventilation panels.

And on the subject of moisture, boots must be waterproof to withstand the Great British weather! Gaiters (which go over the top of boots) offer extra protection.

Provide Cushioning

Regardless of whether the walking boots you wear have a lightweight or heavy-duty construction, they must be comfortable. For example, the cuff’s inner side should feel fairly soft (the last thing you want is a pair of boots that digs into your ankles) and the insole should cushion your feet, helping to absorb shock and make walking pleasant.

If you’re not satisfied with your current insoles, it’s worth replacing them with a better-cushioned pair.

Fasten Securely

Walking boots need well-made laces and secure eyelets. Ensure the tongue (which sits behind the laces) is straight and free of creases before fastening your shoes; otherwise you’ll create uncomfortable areas of pressure.

Support for Walking Enthusiasts at London Podiatry Clinics

If you need more help choosing walking boots or have any walking-related foot issues, our London podiatrists are ready to provide expert support. Our five hygienic foot clinics are open during the lockdown and beyond.

What’s more, our podiatry services include prescribing and fitting superb, custom-made orthotics, which can make footwear more supportive and comfortable.

For expert foot care and footwear advice, contact Feet By Pody today!