These Boots are made for Walkin’

Gemma Weir kicks off her hiking kit for her 'couch to Kili' journey with a new pair of kicks... The boots that are going to take her to great heights

In a wardrobe of high heels and converse, it’s difficult stepping into the world of the Herman Munster boot… I had literally no clue what I was looking for.

Before this adventure into the unknown, I would have happily abused my feet in the name of Jimmy Choo – discomfort came part and parcel with the rest of the accessories, one would simply, ‘woman up’, smile through the blistering nips and strut.

Life is different now. My feet, I have been told, are my best asset for the lofty heights of mountainous terrain. I half agree, I think it’s a tie between feet and mental agility. So I had mentioned before in my previous post, that I had made a hearty £150 investment in a pair of really decent walking boots. After plenty of research, I decided to go for the Salomon Quest 4d GTX W in ‘Lead / Stormy Weather / Bird Of Paradise’ (what I would simply call, greyish blue). They’re crackers alright.

If you’re not yet accustomed to this sort of foot wear, let me paint a picture… It’s like wearing roller boots without the wheels and forgetting that your knees have the ability to bend – but lets face it – I’ll not be making up any mountains in stilettos. It’s time to get used to this new addition in the wardrobe and hope that the other pretty shoes don’t bully the heavy set boot…

I paid attention to the requirements of a ‘boot for life’… Like any long-term tethering, I needed to conduct a background check!

Make sure the boot is a good fit – nice and snug but not restrictive. The arch of your foot should be well supported and it should give good ankle support for the changing terrain of mountain hikes.

Your toes should have freedom of movement (unlike the rest of your body… Thank you Covid!) and there should be enough flexibility for your feet to wiggle, but make sure they’re not sliding back and forward.

During a climb like Kili, you’ll experience four seasoned weather, starting in the rainforest and working your up to the snowy summit. Don’t chose your boot with the idea of five pairs of socks in mind! Chose for your average hike… It’s better to squeeze in another pair of socks of two for one night on a summit ascent than have loose fitting boots the rest of the time!

They need to be waterproof, have protection from the elements, be firm but mot too rigid and give plenty of comfort and internal support!

My new Salomon’s seem to check the boxes I need and their product description certainly talks a sterling game! Contagrip TD for maximum traction, deep, aggressive lug pattern’ (sounds like a murder weapon!), 4D Advanced Chassis that harnesses two different midsole components for enhanced foot control… Gore-Tex to keep my feet nice and dry through the rain forest and the snow… All that’s missing is an engine and they’d be pretty much perfect!

So I think my job of finding my partner in crime was handled with the appropriate amount of seriousness required; now it’s time to break them in! Apparently this is really important too!

I started with a few laps of the living room, (that looked like a reenactment of the moon landing of 1969!) as I began to find my flow. I was a little intimidated at first, I felt confined and shackled, but as I started to become one with the boot, I quite liked it! Have you ever experienced a first date where you really weren’t too sure that you’d read the description on the internet entirely accurately and you’re relieved to get home. But as time goes on, you start to thinking, ‘I suppose I could go on just one more date’ and before you know it – BAM! You’re married and living in a semi in a cup-de-sac.


That’s how I feel about my new boots. A Bit awkward at first but they’re growers… and when they grow, ya just know! (I feel I might be getting a little bit too attached to my new boots?)

So the breaking in process; start it little and often, in the house, up and down the stairs, round to the shops, short walks, longer walks… You get the picture. A life with no blisters is really what we’re aiming for.

My boots and I will be embarking on our first challenge that will set us up for the first step towards Kilimanjaro. The first of the baby step in my couch to Kili challenge… Divis and Black Mountain… in the dark!

Stay tuned…

Gemma 🙂