This article on wet weather footwear is brought to you by Finchley dog walker and is part of our dog walking footwear and clothing series.
It’s that time of year again. We’ve loved our warm, dry walks, enjoying the sunlight and the longer, lighter days – and maybe even a few days at the beach with little more than flimsy flip flops on our feet. Now, however, winter is now well on its way, with hints of what’s to come in the Autumn showers and darker nights, so it’s time to get the wellies and waterproofs out again.
Winter walking presents several challenges – wet, muddy, snowy or icy – the days from November through to February (oh, who are we kidding – more like March or April. Or even May…) can be any or all of those things. Oh, and let’s add some wild wind as a bonus.
Footwear to cope with the season.
Many dog owners and walkers choose trainers as their choice of walking shoe. Trainers are many dog owners’ walking shoes of choice, and a good quality pair can do a good job in summer. They offer lightweight comfort as well as a good grip.
However, that grip is not usually up to the rigours of ice, and they’re simply no defence against ankle-deep mud or drifting snow. Save them for the spring – or the gym.
Traditional rubber wellington boots can be a better option – a hardy tread and longer length to protect against those deeper-than-expected muddy puddles. Readily available and often inexpensive.
Some of the newer types of boots contain neoprene and a better sole. These are boots such as Joules or Hunter and come in different styles and colours. Despite some of the pictures on the internet, these boots are no good in snow and ice.
However, unless you spend a little more on lined ones, or on two pairs of purpose-made ‘welly socks’ they don’t offer much in the way of protection against the cold. Cheap ones don’t usually last very long either…
Walking boots for wet weather walking
These are my no 1 recommendation.
You may already have a decent pair of walking boots if you’re into long hike-type walks in the countryside.
Hiking boots make the ideal wet weather footwear as they are fairly robust, offer ankle support and a cope-with-any-terrain grip which should ensure you stay upright on even the thickest of mud and ice – however, they’re not overly helpful in knee-deep mud.
Whilst hiking boots can take a lot of weather before they get wet, it is still possible. We have written an article on drying out walking boots.
An option to cover all bases for wet weather footwear
So, you could buy all of the above and rotate accordingly, or, have a look at Country boots – or in equestrian circles, ‘yard boots’ – which can combine the best of all worlds. Knee-length, waterproof, comfy enough for walking an entire cross-country course and with as good a grip as a dedicated walking boot, these will keep you warm and vertical – invest in a good quality pair, and they will last you several winters, too.
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