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Best pants for walking in September (Oban/Mull/Iona & Trotternish Peninsula)

I know this is perhaps an oddly specific question, but I've read multiple posts about clothing for Scotland, including in September, but nothing that bears on my question. We will be in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness, but also doing a few hours of walking in the above areas. I'm not concerned about top clothing (layers + waterproof jacket, hat, scarf) or shoes (waterproof hiking shoes), but I'm indecisive about pants. For a variety of reasons, I don't like jeans, so casual chino-type pants or quick-dry pants +/- long underwear, or something else? A good bit of this indecision is because I do my outdoor walking in the city.

Posted by
18726 posts

For the first time, on my current trip I am using a pair of PrAna Halle pants with fiber content nearly identical to those Eddie Bauers. I have been very pleased with the PrAnas. I had a couple of chilly, wet, days in April, and the combination of the PrAna pants and merino wool long johns kept me warm and dry below the waist. A second really rainy day when I was outdoors all day long found me with wet feet despite my waterproof shoes. I think some of the rain ran off the pants and onto my socks, then made its way into the shoes. I'm not blaming the pants for that.

The pants seem to breathe well. They are much more comfortable on 85-degree days than a pair of polyester pants I've used in the past. In the future the polyester pants will stay home and I'll take two pairs of the PrAnas or something equivalent.

Posted by
204 posts

Another vote for PrAna Halle pants. I got my first pair a couple years ago, skeptical that they would be comfortable, especially in heat (we live in NC). I own them in many different colors and wear them year round. I don't wear/own capris, but they also roll up to capri length and have found that useful as well.

Posted by
8202 posts

Oban and Iona are the only places I have ever wished for rain pants - if you have a light pair you can get on over your travel shoes I'd throw them in.

Posted by
96 posts

Thanks very much, ladies! I appreciate the advice and the suggested brands from all of you, and the specific situations from caravan & Pam. Now to check out PrAna (new brand for me).

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Layni,

What about a kilt? It worked for many many years in the Highlands. With a kilt and a traditional nine to 12 foot plaid, you'd be ready for any sort of weather Scotland throws at you. The plaid may be somewhat unnecessary for city walking, but you'd fit in really well in a kilt.

As a bonus, it makes using the toilet a heck of a lot easier.

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
96 posts

Interesting suggestion, Mike, and certainly one I hadn't thought of. I will take it under advisement.

Posted by
2726 posts

About the wet feet . . . that's one reason why I always travel with a pair of little slippers to wear in the hotel. NuFoot are amazingly sturdy, meant for indoor wear but I have walked outdoors in them quite a lot, and they fold up the size of a deck of cards. Of course you can always just put on dry socks, but I find I want something a little more solid on my feet. And socks can be hazardously slippery. If not little slippers , then bring a pair of hospital socks with the rubber grippy stuff on the soles.

Posted by
96 posts

I'm a fan of those types of shoes as well, epltd, and I've seen other people recommend them on the RS forums, too. I travel almost weekly for work, and have a pair of nufoot in my suitcase because hotel carpets kinda gross me out, so they will go with me this time, too.
The topic of shoes has almost worn me out. My intent was to buy a pair of waterproof hiking shoes and wear only those, because I don't wear skirts or otherwise dress up, am not a shoe-a-holic, and resent the disproportionate amount of packable space they take up. This idea has turned out to be a fool's errand, as I have an unusually broad foot and have been unable to find a pair of waterproof women's size ~10.5 extra wide hiking shoes (not boots). After trying on around 40 pairs across 7-8 different brands, I'm giving up. I ended up buying a pair of non-waterproof hiking shoes that fit and will either cave and bring another pair of shoes or assume the risk of constantly wet feet.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Layni,

Had you considered buying waterproof hiking shoes in a men's size? Like you, my wife has wide feet, so she bought a pair of Merrell's Moab men's hiking shoes, wide width, which have served her well for our last two trips to Scotland. I have a similar pair. The only problem we've encountered is stepping in water that goes over the top of the shoe. But there's not much you can do about that!

Just a suggestion.

Slainte!

Mike

Posted by
96 posts

I did try that, as I've bought men's shoes before (they were a lifesaver when I was running in the 80's because women's running shoes didn't come in wide then). But I appreciate you bringing it up since I've met a lot of women who have never considered it. The one I really wanted to try was the Moab II - it didn't fit in women's, but they were out of men's wide sizes (although I tried some on anyway & found the heels to be oddly wide).
Anyway, maybe I will regain my willingness to persevere in the search - I've still got 6 weeks till departure.

Posted by
506 posts

We use these socks which keep your feet absolutely dry even when your boots are wet. Tested out many times here on Skye!
Seal Skinz Socks

Posted by
96 posts

Incredible, skyegirl! I think these are going to exactly meet the need - many thanks!

Posted by
8202 posts

It depends on where you need the "wideness" but I've got the Altra Lone Peak waterproof low hikers. I can confirm they are waterproof as I have worn in rain, snow and slush situations. If you wear a 10.5, I'd go with the 11. If you are not familiar with Zappos they have free shipping and free returns.

https://www.zappos.com/p/altra-footwear-lone-peak-4-low-rsm-gray/product/9083004/color/8

I'll also add that Altras are a Zero Drop platform so if you are used to having an elevated heel in your shoes you may need to transition over time to lengthen out your achilles. I transitioned to them from negative heel Earth shoes so no problem, lol!! They are a foot-shaped last so are wide across the forefoot. The waterproof ones feel a smidgy tighter than the other Lone Peaks I have but not enough that it bothers my feet. There is plenty of room in the forefoot for me to wear Injinji Toe socks as well as Correct Toes toe splints.

I've been wearing the Altras for about 4 years so I can wear them for a 4-5 mile walk out of the box. No break in time needed for me but since they are new to you I'd probably not do 4 miles the first day, lol!!

Posted by
940 posts

@Layni,

Hi again, Layni,

REI carries those Seal Skinz waterproof socks, so your store in Madison would be a good place to check them out.

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
96 posts

Thanks for the brand recommendation, Pam! I will likely check them out via Zappos. I avoid mail order when possible, especially with shoes, because the chance the first pair will fit in virtually 0, and it’s a hassle to return them. But, I’ll give it a go.
Mike - thanks for the pointer to REI. I’m a member, but hadn’t thought to look there/online.

Posted by
8202 posts

Layni...I understand too well! There are no shoe stores in my area that carry women's 11 so I am reduced to ordering online. If I am unsure about the size I'll order both sizes so I can try them on at the same time to compare. It is a chore. Zappos works best for me just for the free return shipping.

BTW - no connection to Zappos....just have found their shipping policy works for me. I have ordered as many as 5 pr at a time in various sizes, lol. No problem with returning them except for frustration that I have trouble finding things to fit!

Posted by
101 posts

I have an unusually broad foot and have been unable to find a pair of
waterproof women's size ~10.5 extra wide hiking shoes (not boots).

Have you looked at Altra shoes? I'd suggest trying a pair of the waterproof/breathable version of the Lone Peak. They don't sell wide sizes per se, but they have a very wide toe box. I usually wear wide shoes and the regular size Altras fit me very well. They have both men's and women's versions of this shoe.

Posted by
5544 posts

I am not sure where you landed re rain pants. I took several walking trips to Scotland and resisted the rain pants for several years, watching my fellow walkers pull theirs on as I tramped on with quick-dry convertible pants. Then we were in an outdoor clothing shop near Nairn and they had my size on sale for less than 5 Pounds. I bought them and soon was wondering why on earth I waited so long. They were so lightweight and came in their own little pouch that I never worried about carrying them. They were a nice companion to my midgie hat which had its even tinier pouch.

Posted by
96 posts

Hi Pamela,
I decided to do the rain pants, so bought a pair from REI (I'm a big person, so it takes a while to find a fit). They don't come in a pouch, and in fact they're bulkier than my quick-dry pants, but they will earn their room in the suitcase, I'm sure.
By the way, the if anyone else is looking at SealSkinz, I struggled to find Hiking mid-mid in L (my husband's size) and finally contacted the company. They have discontinued that model, and the new ones, Cold Weather mids aren't in production yet and don't have a release date. I did find some through Amazon, but if anyone else is interested in Skyegirl's suggestion and need this size & weight soon, it's probably worth picking them up quickly.
Next up - waterproof hat.

Posted by
5544 posts

Lanyi, did you go to the REI on the west side? Ah, I miss Madison. For me too it was about finding the right size. For some reason, it was easy in the UK. It was weird. If you discover Scottish Country Dance while you are visiting Scotland, you should know that there is a great group that meets Sunday nights, but I am not sure where these days. It used to be in the Union, but sometimes the Wilmar Center.

Posted by
96 posts

I did, Pamela! Are you from MSN? I am not (Texas) but have been here for 16 years working for Epic, which you may never have heard of. This is a pretty good city, if only the winters weren't so brutal.
I hope to at least see Scottish Country Dancing, but I'm not sure where. Do you have suggestions?

Posted by
96 posts

Closing the loop - the Sealskinz socks were a big hit with all, and worked just as the brand advertised - soft, comfortable, and waterproof. I ended up wearing New Balance hiking shoes that were not waterproof, and quick-day pants with a pair of long johns underneath. Next time, I will take the rain pants that I mistakenly left behind, although I didn't need them - my friend, however, really could have used them - on the ferry from Mull to Staffa she got completely, drowned-rat soaked.
Thanks again for all the advice, ladies!

Posted by
506 posts

Hi Layni
Really glad to hear the socks were a hit. I hope you enjoyed your trip!
Best
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
1023 posts

I am glad you found good answers for you, Layni! And just so people know how much their advice benefits those lurking with future trips, I will be on Mull, Skye, and Harris &Lewis next summer for a couple of weeks and have my Seal Skinz socks and Eddie Bauer pants already. The pants went with me to Canada and were so comfortable that I am about to order a second pair - they will be my go-to for Ireland next month and Scotland next summer!