nature Outdoors

Getting the laces right

January 16, 2021

Walking has kept me sane this lockdown. To be honest there’s been plenty of days I didn’t feel like leaving the van but two large hounds in a small space are great therapy because you’re going outdoors whether you like it or not.
We’ve been averaging 5k a day in the week and 10k at weekends so I feel a certain low-level fitness is being maintained and even today I’m starting to notice a deeper, underlying energy return, which feels so good after an exhaustingly long winter.
As an aside, this week is finally the week I properly fell in love with my Scarpa mountain hike boots. Last year we did some great hikes in the Swiss alps and aim to return to go bigger again. I found these boots in the sale online but this is still the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes (£180 – I’m expecting these to last for years). I’m a UK size 6 and I know you have to size up so I got 6 2/3. We went on some 25k hikes last autumn and although these boots are gorgeously comfortable (once you get used to the stiffness) and amazingly waterproof, my god did they cause me trouble. I nearly lost both big toenails (they’re still a bit black) from my foot slipping forward when I jumped down hill. It hurt so bad I saw stars. I tried breaking them in again on some smaller hikes and still my big toenails took a battering.
I nearly gave up and thought about selling them, but then Andy saw a post online about lacing boots properly for hiking. I tried it yesterday. What a difference! I appreciate that seasoned hikers will know about this but I’m a novice at bigger outdoor hikes and I suppose sometimes you just have to learn through trial and error. So now I use a surgeon’s knot on the three ankle lace-up points and make sure the laces are really tight (my ankle ties were far too lax). My feet don’t slip! My toes are at the end of the boot (I couldn’t have gone for a smaller size) but my feet are held firmly and comfortably so that I could now hike for miles in these boots. Can’t wait to get back to Switzerland to give them a good try out.

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