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Footwear question

I am trying to figure out footwear for my trip and am a bit stumped about the weather how to accommodate my shoes to it. I have a nice pair of athletic shoes that are leather Aquatalia's. I was also bringing a pair of Merrel sneaker/day hikers as we plan on going to the Lake Country and possibly Scotland. A couple of people have asked if I'm bringing boots "that's what they always wear while in England." I hadn't thought of bringing my boots. Would this be something I should consider? Wasn't planning on bringing something so large in my suitcase as it will eat up a lot of space, but would make the space if it was necessary. ANy thoughts please. I guess I'm concerned about the rain and having cold wet feet, which is pretty miserable.

Posted by
509 posts

My family and I invested in waterproof shoes (I bought a pair of Keens others chose Merrills and NB) and they were the best investment we made. We wore them hiking in the Wicklow Mountains but also all over London and Edinburgh. We never had wet feet, and the shoes were plenty comfortable to wear everyday. We traveled with just carry ons, so the only other footwear we took was sports sandals ... we actually saved room in our suitcases since we didn't have the "need a spare pair of shoes for when the first pair is drying out" issue. Highly recommend this strategy!!

Posted by
241 posts

Depends on the type of walking. Lake district and mountains in Scotland have high areas with rough terrain and walking boots are essential throughout the year (along with waterproofs, etc in rucksack). If you're planning low level tracks (eg old railway line in populated areas) you'll probably get away without boots. Pretty much everyone has walking boots in these areas. Exposure is a problem and the weather can change very quickly.
S

Posted by
1068 posts

What kind of boots are you thinking of bringing? Aren't "day hikers" sort of like boots already? And would you then have three pairs of footwear? That seems like a lot. If your day hikers are waterproof, you should be okay... shouldn't you? At least, that is what I surmise. If the day hikers are NOT waterproof, and you are planning on being in Scotland in the rainy season (which others may joke is all year 'round), waterproof boots might be a better choice - instead of the theoretical-non-waterproof-day-hikers.

Posted by
27402 posts

You don't say when you are going. Pretty much anytime you are in the Lake "District" (not Country) you can count on rain and more rain. Waterproof footware is imperative. Either hiking boots or welllies. Then again, if we all say wet maybe it will be dry for the day you are there.

Posted by
5668 posts

If you are walking in Scotland on trails you need water proof boots. What you face are very wet trails even when the sun is shining. Also, there is a lot of rock. That rock is slippery when wet which often is. When I first went walking in Scotland I asked if I could just use some good walking shoes and I was told by the guide absolutely not. I needed boots. I have taken my boots ever since. They keep my feet dry and they keep safe on slippery rocks. I get them there, by wearing them on the plane. As soon as I get on the plane, I take them off and store them overhead and wear sandals. When I get off the plane I tied them to the outside of my back pack and keep the sandals on. I know that they are heavy and difficult, but the hiking is so worth it! BTW I also have a midgie hat and walking poles. The latter must be checked. And, I have rain gear: jacket with hood and rain pants. I didn't have the pants for a long time and finally got some and am glad I did. Pam

Posted by
34 posts

Thanks everyone for your responses. We will be in the UK from Sept 17- Oct 2. (not exactly sure of departure yet due to hubby's annoying work schedule) Yes my Merrells are waterproof and my other shoes are just lace up leather sneaker things that aren't necessarily waterproof but would be good for walking around London and anyplace as they are athletic shoes. I just wasn't sure if I needed to bring some of those Hunters that are all the rage here. I've never been to the UK and have no idea how much rain there usually is. On the east coast we've had so much rain that we need boats right now! Many people asked if I was bringing my Hunters and I wasn't planning on lugging such huge boots around but I didn't want to be sorry so I thought I'd ask. PS. Thanks for the correction of "Lake District" as Lake Country sounds like a part of Disney World! :-)

Posted by
970 posts

Sandra, the UK's reputation in some circles as a dark rain-soaked island is very undeserved. If you want to see rain, go to the Oregon coast. Different parts of the UK get different amounts of rain. It's all very well documented, so just check online. You won't find out if it's going to rain at 3pm on Thursday in Chester, but you'll come away pretty clued in about the odds. The thing you want to look for is how often it rains, not how many inches fall in some location. Drizzle is more your enemy than the downpour.

Posted by
34 posts

jc, drizzle is more of an enemy? really surprised to hear that as I seem to get soaked in downpours and drizzle is unremarkable around these parts. Thanks for the advice. I think I have been thinking that England is like Oregon or Seattle with the rain. Of course I've been to neither so I can't really comment on the rain there ;-)

Posted by
9363 posts

j.c. is right, you are far more likely to encounter "soft weather", or drizzle, at that time of year than outright downpours.

Posted by
11798 posts

I don't think boots are as important as packing waterproof shoes and wool blend socks (because they work when wet and dry faster). Some light hikers do well with water while others are made for hot days and won't keep out water at all. Which are yours? Heavy boots are too much to pack, so they wouldn't make my list.

Posted by
34 posts

I spent the day walking around in the pouring rain in NYC yesterday visiting our daughter and helping her buy some things for her apartment. So I am so glad to hear that the weather is more of drizzle or light rain and not heavy downpours. I said to husband that this was not my idea of fun and I hoped that England was not always this (pouring rain) Thank goodness I had no clue! My light hikers are Keens, oops, thought they were Merrells. Anyway, they are cut like a shoe and are waterproof (I got them for walking around rainy Alaska and they were fine there) so I think they would be fine. I am rethinking my umbrellas now because the ones we used yesterday were of little help. I was planning on getting new fold up umbrellas for our trip, or should I just pick them up while in England? Hubby did get a laugh out of me, I didn't know to tuck my pants into my boots so I had wet pantsfrom my knee down for the entire day! I learned a lesson! ;-)

Posted by
241 posts

Don't get too worried about the rain! It's light but very frequent +++ rain. West of uk is much wetter than east. Re: rain / hill-walking - it's windy and damp so there is a REAL exposure risk if you are doing serious walking. Rain won't bother you much in the city. Have a great time in the uk ; o))
Ps Scotland's not really had much of a summer this year. Bring your gloves.

Posted by
11798 posts

Actually you will probably see light rain, heavy rain, wind and clouds and clear skies - all in one day. They joke about "four seasons in one day" but it really happens. The biggest thing I learned, from experience, is never get further than arms length from your rain shell. Even if it's beautiful and warm, there's a good chance it will be pouring later in the day.

Posted by
5668 posts

Sandra, I have walked a lot in Scotland. Go for walking trips. We are not climbing the Munro's, but we're walking in areas around the lochs and in the some of the low hills. I would counsel against the umbrella. I find that if I have a good waterproof not water resistant, jacket with a hood, Scottish weather can't slow me down. You just want to always have it with you. Of course, if you come prepared for rain, you will have my share of the Scottish sun. ; ) One other tip, is to look at the weather forecast and go where the rain isn't. Avoid the BBC and check the Scottish TV. Scots are convinced that the BBC never removes the black cloud from over Scotland. ; ) Pam

Posted by
1236 posts

If it is really rainy weather when you get there; just buy a pair of rubber boots and nice wool socks. We did,because often times there are grassy paths, mucky leaves and babbling brooks, etc. that you need to wade through to get to that castle ruin or stone circle. You can just leave them behind or they make a great garden boots when you get back.

Posted by
2023 posts

Boots take up too much space in luggage. We have hiked in England and Scotland(Cotswolds, Lake District, Isle of Skye, etc) many times and my choice of shoes is New Balance country walkers. This shoe has a gortex lining and stands up to wet walks and is super comfortable-cost about $100 and they last a long time. Have had mine for five years and they still have some wear left. Have a great trip!

Posted by
709 posts

I would never take 3 pairs of shoes on a trip. I take a pair of Gore-Tex Trail running shoes on most of my trips. The trail runners provide plenty of support (even for hiking) and the GTX provides water protection (important for Britain). I'd skip the boots (you don't specify what type of boots they are) unless they're waterproof and you can use them instead of the merrells (which I'm assuming are not waterproof). If the merrells are waterproof, there's your answer. At any rate, if you decide to take the bulky boots, I'd wear them over on the plane, so then you won't have to waste valuable space in your luggage.

Posted by
638 posts

Seems like there are two issues for the footwear you need: traction (safety) and waterproofing (dry feet). I'll weigh in on the latter. I assume any boots/hiking shoes with the rugged soles you need for traction, would be waterproof out of the box. But if your "non-hiking" athletic shoes aren't waterproof already I highly recommend spending ten bucks (or less) on a spray can of waterproofer, and treat them. I've enjoyed dry feet through some rainy days on my travels, because I waterproofed my garden-variety leather walking/athletic shoes in advance. I also spray backpacks, tote bags, etc., with the waterproofer. The spray probably doesn't render shoes and bags 100% utterly waterproof, but in my experience they are water-repellant. I believe it also helps keep them cleaner. (Actually I routinely treat all new shoes, unless suede or the like, with the waterproofing stuff, and I think it helps protect them from moisture damage and the like from rain and from the slush and winter crud on sidewalks.)

Posted by
13 posts

I wore waterproof light hikers (wore them on the plane) for a trip like yours several years ago. Now, I would go with waterproof trail running shoes as mentioned above. This past summer, I wore Nike ID gore-tex all black shoes- you order from the Nike site and design yourself. They have one or two shoes that can be done in GTX. These shoes went on trails, city sidewalks, nice dinners, symphony, trains, etc. and were fantastic rain or shine. I couldn't find a plain, plain, plain pair of trail runners and didn't want two pairs since I went for 18 days with a 40L pack. Actually, I also took a pair of Nike Free which are smaller and lighter than most slippers. Fantastic but not waterproof.

Posted by
5668 posts

Sandra, I think that the key is to have shoes that are truly waterproof, not water resistant, but water proof. If you can find some lighter waterproof shoes that will work as walking shoes more power to you. If you plan on hiking in the highlands of Scotland or even in the lowlands you'll find that waterproof footwear will make your feet very happy. ; ) Pam