I'm returning to fell walking after a few years and am not sure how to choose a boot that fits correctly? Any advice/tips?
I went out today did a few miles and got blisters on my right ankle and ball of my foot. My heel was lifting on ascent. I do have another pair of boots so will try them too. I was wearing some tight/wicking running socks under my hiking socks but that clearly didn't help.
If I went out to get a new pair though how can I test the fit, within a few steps in a shop?
Alternatively, any lacing tips to keep my heel down in my current boots. I think both pairs of boots I own are B1 so quite stiff, and are both leather. Not sure if that makes things worse?
My kind of walking is in the Lakes, reasonably fast walking, steep hills/rocky/scrambling.
Lacing technique to reduce heel lift:
So lower half of the boot laces as normal, but then you get to the hook eyes at the top, miss out the second one from top. Go straight to the top one, and pass the laces round this top one from bottom to top, and cross over, then go back to the second last hooks and go round from top to bottom. Tie here, under those hooks. It doesn't always stop it, but often does.
In reply to girlymonkey: That method of lacing is designed to increase comfort around the top of the boot, creating a V shape in the laces to allow for some flex. There is no good reason for it to stop heel lift.
Blisters are caused by moisture, heat and movement. Eliminate these factors to stop the blisters. It's possible that your two pairs of socks are just too warm so try one pair of good quality socks with a good mixture of synthetic and wool materials.
Also the blister under the ball of the foot indicates that your foot is unstable and elongates excessively when you weight it. Denzils suggestion of superfeet might be a winner as they will reduce the volume around your ankle as well as preventing instability in the foot.
As a quick fix though try this lacing technique, it can be quite effective.
Allowing your heel to lift up and rub against the inside of your boot is a quick path to blisters. A little lift is fine, but more than that and you’ll likely have trouble. The heel lock is a technique designed to lock down your heel and keep it where it belongs—back in the heel cup.
Lace up your boots as you normally would until you reach the bend in the ankle—usually at the end of the eyelets and the start of the open hooks. Make a surgeon’s knot, then slip the lace around the outside of the first hook. But instead of crosshatching the laces, bring them straight up and around the second or top hook. Then cross the laces over and secure them with a surgeon’s knot.
Next, bring the laces back across the boot and thread each lace underneath the vertical lacing between the hooks on either side. Bring the laces back across the boot, give them a good tug to snug up the rear of the boot around your heel (but not too tight), secure with another surgeon’s knot, and tie off.
It results in tying in the same place as your method, hence reduces heel lift in the vast majority of cases. Why complicate something more than necessary?! I show this method to many clients suffering with heel lift and it often does help.
In reply to girlymonkey: I am only trying to offer the best advice possible. I know full well the lacing method you are talking about as I use it myself, and indeed advise it to many clients too..
But regardless of that it is not the best method of reducing heel lift, in fact it has a tiny/negligible effect. It does bring the tightest part of the knot closer to where you want it which is why, as you said yourself, it will sometimes reduce heel lift, but not always.
The technique I suggest offers a significant advantage because of the stopper knots especially across the top the foot. These allow you to tighten the boot more around the ankle and always reduces, if not eliminates, heel lift.
So no i'm not over complicating matters at all, i'm simplifying them because if the heel lock and/or a superfeet don't solve the problem it is more likely the OP's feet have changed shape slightly and they will probably need to investigate new boots
In reply to barrow_matt: A slightly less complicated method is to tie the stopper knot below the top set of eye-lets and go straight from there through the eye-lets and over the first set of hooks.
Cross the laces over and thread them under the lace under the first hook. Remove any slack then kick your heel to the back of the boot and pull the laces tight. From here go to the top hooks and lace as normal.
This method offers a significant mechanical advantage due to the pulley effect offered by the laces around the ankle but is sightly easier to tie. Either method should work well,and if not you can treat yourself to new boots!