Hill walking is a wonderful activity. It provides the body all the exercise one needs to stay physically and mentally healthy and is a great stress reliever. As an added bonus, one can get to like doing as well! And the gear for hillwalking plays not the last role!
To enjoy the activity to the full, the right equipment is essential to allow complete flexibility on route choice. Of course with experience one gets to know what is the most comfortable to wear regarding clothing. However, the feet are the main priority.
For go-anywhere-on-the mountains, good sturdy mountain boots are the best. When you get used to them, they are so comfortable and reassuring that you don’t mind where you put your feet and you can go anywhere in them, like fording rivers! For added protection for the lower leg, gaiters are also essential as they help to keep water and other debris from entering the top of the boot.
If they fit comfortably, I recommend Meindl boots (I have no commercial relationship with the company or their agents). The models to consider are Burmah Pro or Vakuum. They are a bit expensive but worth every cent. Because they are so expensive, I also recommend that you look after them by using Renapur Leather Balsam to keep the leather nourished and waterproof. (I do have an interest in this natural product as I am the Distributor for Ireland!)
No matter what the time of year I also believe in wearing two pairs of synthetic walking socks, a thin base layer and a heavier over layer. This arrangement allows a degree of movement (like lubrication) for your feet in the boots and will reduce the risk of blisters.
I also recommend a pair of walking poles. They help pull you up the ascents and reduce the impact on your joints on the descents (by 30% I have heard say!). I do not believe in spending more than €50 – €60 on a pair as the risk of breakage or leaving them behind in the car park as you set off home at the end of the day is high! I have done the latter several times and tried to on several other occasions!