Posted by Bethan Bithell on 19th Sep 2014
Shooting boots are a key piece of shooting and hunting equipment to consider, in particular, for reasons of comfort and safety! Wearing the wrong type, style, size or perhaps an ill-fitting boot, can have a drastic impact upon your safety and on comfort.
When choosing your new pair of shooting boots there are FIVE tips to remember:
Tip 1: Hot -v- Cold Feet
When trying on a new pair of shooting boots, make sure your feet are actually hot. It is recommended that you go for a 20 minute walk before you try the boots on. This is because as your feet get hot, they will swell and spread out. Trying the boots on when your feet are cold will not give you the right idea of whether they are wide enough or comfortable.
Tip 2: Socks
Whilst in the store, or at home trying your boots on, make sure you have the right pair of socks on. Different thicknesses can mean a different fit!
Choosing and wearing the right socks is just as important as choosing the correct boots, but many of us simply overlook this fact. It’s also worth remembering that socks provide an important protective layer between the foot and the boot, to give the ncessary padding and support.
If you prefer to wear thicker, extra padded socks, it may be necessary for you to try a bigger size, perhaps a half size. Likewise, if you prefer to wear thinner socks, you may need to go down a size.
Tip 3: Criss-cross or double back lacing
When trying on a new pair of shooting boots, they are usually laced up using the ‘shoe shop’ lacing system. It is recommended that you spend time lacing the boots up yourself, using the lacing method you are comfortable with and used to.
Interestingly, different lacing methods will give you different tension on your ankle and you may find that the padded tongue of the boot does not give you the protection you need. The most common method of lacing is known as the criss-cross lacing.
Tip 4: The importance of trying before buying
It is surprising how many of our customers buy a pair of boots without even trying them on first.
We always recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to try on different styles, sizes and brands. We find that brands can differ with regard to both comfort and fit. For example, the Grisport Crusader boot is a quality boot made to Italian specifications, whereas a Hoggs of Fife boot although also of high quality, is likely to offer a different size guide. This is illustrated where a size 9 in one brand fits perfectly, for example a size 43 (or size 9 in continental sizes) but in another brand it may not. This may simply be due to the brand sizing chart or even the construction of the boot.
It is also vital that you walk around in the boots at home or in store at the ‘trying on’ stage and, if possible, up and down steps or stairs. Walking up and down steps gives you a great indication of whether the boots are too big or too small. If your feet move about in the boot, or your heel lifts from inside the boot, then the boot is too big. If the boot pinches your foot or your toes touch the front of the boot when walking up and down stairs, then they are too small. Boots that are too big or too small can result in painful blisters over time.
Tip 5: Fit like a glove
Falling in to the trap where you say to yourself ‘Oh, they will ‘give’ a little bit after a while‘ is not recommended! If, when you try the boots on, they feel a bit tight or restrictive, you may need to try a different size or style and even try an alternative brand.
Whilst it is true that the leather on shooting boots may actually ‘give’ and become flexible over time, it is still best to get the right fit right from the start. Do spend time trying on different brands, styles and sizes, to find the right boots that will give you the best support and the perfect fit.
Shooting Boot Accessories
Once you are happy with the fit of your hunting boots, and have perhaps reached a purchasing decison, it may be worth checking out the necessary accessories to go with your new footwear. These may include spare laces, a bottle of waterproof treatment or even, perhaps, some replacement in-soles. Do ask the shop assistant for advice if you are not sure of what accessories you need and please remember that different branded boots may need specific waterproof treatments, in order to keep them in ‘tip-top’ order! Incidentally, laces are available in different lengths due to the ‘height’ of hunting boots so, again, it may be useful to seek advice whilst still in the shop, if you are considering buying a spare pair at the same time as you buy your new boots!
Well, hopefully the hints and tips above will be of some use and we are always on hand to advise you should you wish to contact us!
For further guidance on our footwear accessories, please contact a member of our helpful sales team on 01978 437029. We look forward to hearing from you!