It generally makes sense to take your time and not rush to buy new boots for your next adventure. We recommend going to a specialist outdoor footwear retailer to get professional advice. Trying on footwear is a science in itself, however there are a few things you can do to simplify the process. We’ve put a few guidelines together.


Most importantly of all, take your time! If possible, try footwear on in the afternoon because 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 size. If you use orthopaedic insoles, take them with you and try them in the shoes. It’s a good idea to take your favourite socks with you too.

And ALWAYS try on both feet! What size? You should be able to measure a finger’s width of space between your big toe and the tip of the shoe. This is particularly important on mountain descents, where you don’t want your toes to hit the front of the shoe. Check to see if the heel fits properly by trying the boot/shoe on with the laces undone. If you find that it’s loose at the sides, the heel is too wide. Test your new pair of boots/shoes for at least ten minutes, or even longer if you can. Walk around the shop, go upstairs and downstairs in them. Try to simulate how you will use them – on ascents and descents – in the mountains.


Breaking in new boots and shoes used to be a painful affair. Thick, stiff leather, little or no padding and old-fashioned constructions meant that it took an age to wear them in. Thankfully, things have moved on. Hanwag boots and shoes are known for their comfortable fit. Our expertise and decades of experience have enabled us to develop lasts that fit a vast number of people.

Nevertheless, it makes sense to break in a boot or shoe before heading off on a long trip – especially if it has a stiffer construction. Wear them wherever you can: under the desk at work, in the garden or to walk the dog. Leather-lined boots are particularly easy to break in as the natural material moulds to the shape of your foot. This is also why we recommended not lending out your boots as this will alter the fit and they won’t feel the same again.