Top tips for avoiding squelchy feet this autumn

Autumn has arrived and with it wet grass, still long from the summer.  It’s now that you notice how waterproof (or not) those waterproof shoes or boots you bought are.  Also, if you’re like me, you may well be coming back from walks with sodden trouser bottoms.  Squelchy feet and soggy bottoms – it kind of takes the edge off a good walk!  So here’s our top tips for dry feet and a happy walk:

  1. Is your leaky footwear still within its guarantee?  If those expensive walking shoes/boots you bought at the start of the summer aren’t actually as waterproof as you’d been promised, take them back.  Quality boots and shoes come with a guarantee and provided you’ve looked after them properly you are entitled to a replacement.
  2. Try re-proofing.  Nikwax and Grangers are reliable brands for fabric boots/shoes, although I have to admit that I’ve never had much success with re-proofing.
  3. Buy waterproof socks.  Aldi waterproof socks get the thumbs up from our walkers for both effectiveness and price but they’re not always available.  Sealskinz are also popular but more expensive. Ros recommends wearing a thin sock liner underneath to protect the (relatively delicate) waterproof sock lining from toenails.  Don’t forget you have to wash waterproof socks in special detergent to maintain their waterproof capability and don’t tumble dry them.
  4. Buy a new pair of boots.  Ok so this might sound a tad extravagant but I doubt you’ll regret it.  I now stick to leather boots as it’s the only reliably waterproof material.  Click here to read my blog on walking boots for Nordic walking.
  5. Wear gaiters.  Wet trousers generally make your socks wet as the water leaches down, bypassing the defences of your waterproof footwear.  Gaiters are your friends, as well as keeping water and mud off your trousers, they also protect against thorns and other things that are likely to snag and damage your trousers.  All have a durable water repellent finish on the outside and the more expensive ones also contain a waterproof and breathable membrane, which means you don’t get sweaty lower legs.  Gaiters come in different sizes so it is worth trying them on to make sure they fit round your calves.