The right footwear is another essential. This can depend on where you plan to go and at what time of year. A stiff four season boot is not practical for that lakeside stroll, equally those lightweight multi-activity shoes are useless if you plan on venturing above the snow line.
One of the boot manufacturers devised a scale on which boots can be compared:
B0 – A flexible 3 season boot. Suitable for most activities except those involving snow and the use of crampons.
B1 – A stiffer boot than the B0, suitable for snow use and can take C1 type crampons.
B2 – A very stiff 4 season boot. Meant for use when walking in snow or mountain climbing. Can take C2 & C1 type crampons.
B3 – A rigid boot for snow and ice climbing. Can take C3, C2 and C1 type crampons.
B0, or 3 season boots, are the most common type. They are a good all-round boot ideal for the Lake District and Wainwright walker, especially those wanting to traverse and scramble their way over rougher terrain.
Modern boots are generally constructed from leather or a synthetic/fabric mix. A leather boot is likely to be more waterproof than a synthetic boot especially if made from one piece. It will provide more support too, yet a synthetic boot will be lighter. The addition of a waterproof lining in the construction, such as gore-tex, will increase both types' water resistance.
When choosing a boot it has to fit properly. Whilst there are great deals to be found online there is no substitute for going into a shop and trying them on. Boots should provide you with enough support around the ankles for your activities without being too stiff or rubbing. Flexibility in the midsole is great for those sticking to the paths whilst those venturing off the beaten track will appreciate a little more stiffness.
In a recent group test by Trail Magazine the following boots were finalists in their 3 Season boot category. You may want to add some of these to your shortlist:
Brasher Towa GTX
Zamberlan Ultra Lite GT
Scarpa Trek GTX, as above but with a waterproof lining
Meindl Burma PRO MFS
These are hybrids of running shoes and walking boots, offering the advantages of both. Good for walking, running, climbing and scrambling; they're also handy if you’re exploring by bike. A great all-in-one solution should you be doing a wide range of activities.
Again these were recently tested by Trail Magazine and they found these to be some of the best on the market:
Brasher Helium XCR
Berghaus Pro Rush Low
Nike Air Pegasus + 25 Escape Trail
New Balance MO1520 (D) Gore-Tex
HI-TEC V-Lite Trail Eruption HPi