Trying on footwear

Trying on footwear

What factors are important when buying footwear?

Trying on footwear is a science in itself, but following a few rules simplify the process. We’ve summarised a few important factors below.


How do I try on footwear properly?

Most importantly you should take your time! If possible, try footwear on in the afternoon because our feet are generally smaller in the morning and tend to swell towards the evening. The same thing also happens on   walks and treks, so this should be taken into account when selecting your shoe size.

If you use orthopaedic shoe lifts or insoles, always take them with you when trying on footwear. It’s a good idea to take your favourite socks with you too. And ALWAYS try on both boots/shoes!

Sizes: You should be able to measure a finger’s width of space between your big toe and the tip of the shoe. This is vital so that they don’t collide with the front of the boot/shoe during descents. Check to see if the heel sits properly by trying on the unlaced show. If it’s loose at the sides, the heel section’s too wide.

Test your new pair of shoes/ boots for at least ten minutes, or even longer if you can. Walk around the shop, go upstairs and downstairs in them. Try to simulate ascents and descents in the mountains.

Do I have to break in my new shoes?

Breaking in new boots and shoes used to be a painful affair. Thick, unbending leather, little or no padding and old-fashioned designs occasionally took their toll.

Thankfully, things have moved on. HANWAG boot and shoes are generally considered a very good fit. Over many decades we’ve developed lasts that fit a vast number of people.   

Nevertheless, it makes sense to break in a trekking boot or shoe before heading off on a long trek – especially if it has a more rigid design. Wear them wherever you can: under your desk at work, in the garden or when walking the dog.

Leather-lined boots are especially easy to break in as the natural material then hugs the shape of the foot. Consequently we don’t recommend lending out your boots or shoes as this will alter their shape and they will never feel the same again.