You need one centimeter of extra space minimum.
You can gauge this quite simply by unlacing the boots well. Crawl the toes to the end till they touch comfortably. Foot flat on the ground and standing. Tilt knee forward so you can get your finger behind and feel for that space.
Now lace up boots firmly and kick a carpeted step firmly. You should not get hard impact for toes. A little is the most and indicates the lacing retains the foot ok.
No tightness for toes. Some between the toe balls to heel is ok in thinner leather boots as these can stretch more but not very much for 2.6mm thick quality leather or more. Where the rand is which is the rubber that covers the leather for abrasion protection and support, there will be next to zero adjustment for molding to the foot. If you have tightness you need to consider how much that is and if its going to be too tight to breakin to form to your footshape. Its reasonable that some pressure points are felt on initial fitting then are no longer noticed after walking in them for a while. The beauty of leather is it moulds to the wear. But this can take time which is why its called breaking in the boot. You can soften pressure spots faster by applying some oil which will soften the leather.
Thinner leather as said more easily adjusts to the shape.
Tell us which brand and model you have worn before as we can compare those from passed orders. Also do our measurement and let us know you toe profile as different feet shapes fit different boot shapes. We have a good range and can fit nearly everyone. We don’t have over UK 13.
We cannot accept back dirty goods as we can't resell them so take the generous time we give you to ensure the fit works for you.
They come in different compositions. Softer to suit hunting/stalking or rivers where stones are slippery.
Harder for soil. Tell us what you are doing in them.
Our two main difference is EVA vs PU
PU is more impact absorbent for loads so it suits fulltime users ideally and helps them in later years by reducing wear to the body. This is probably the main factor in favoring PU foam perhaps besides they can make attractive looking molded misoles.
EVA suits recreational users the best as it doesn't suffer from PU hydrolisis. Actually Sympatex and other PU mebranes prove that PU isn't waterproof. They are a layer of PU and they allow moisture to pass through.
EVA gives improved edge hold on the hills as its not as quite spongy as PU foam. Prefered for mountain boots etc.
The fact that companies supply their mountain boots with a EVA midsole such as Meindl and Bestard, where abrasion is worse prooves that its the better choice.
If the PU shell wall is damaged it will allow moisture into the foam as PU foam is not waterproof. So you need to store well so the midsole can stay dry. It does lasts better for fulltime and regular recreational wearers as they basically presure the moisture out by wearing them.
EVA layered foam that we supply generally outlasts PU foam in our experience in NZ. It can vary from wearer to wearer but overall the EVA is reliable.
EVA foam has better energy return when walking/running. EVA is less water absorbent that PU and does not require a shell wall so will weigh less when wet and is a little lighter than PU when not wet.
Some manufacturers use too soft EVA for cushioning and it falls apart. Usually the molded EVA ones. We avoid selecting boots with those midsoles.
Fo extra assurance and longevity, nearly all our boots are fully resoleable including midsoles and we can perform resoling here.
Gore-Tex is more durable and transpirable or breathable and costs more.
Event has same PFTE mebrane as Gore-tex so durability is high plus its highest tested transpirable or breathable membrane available. Cost similar to Gore-tex
Sympatex is less costly and a biodegradable PU membrane so an environment bonus, has higher breathability relative to other lower cost PU membranes.
Ankle support is the main thing. High lace ups are better for weak ankles. Shorter boots are lighter. Every gm on the foot is ten gm of energy expenditure on the body.
More rigid lasts longer due to less flexing but is a little awkward to walk with at first and takes some getting used too for breakin. Most go to the general purpose semi rigid. You are on your feet alot for most outdoors people. When you get older your feet will let you know if you wore unsuppotive footwear. We see many old timers with regrets about wearing soft unsuppotive footwear and need surgery or are limited by their injuries. With supportive footwear your feet are less tired as the semi rigid or rigid midsole does the support work for your feet muscles. Tendons and sinews get over used in soft unsupportive boots and develope medical problems for the wearer later.
Leather is abrasive resistant and has breathability unless saturated by oil then it becomes slow to dry and stops breathing as well.
Leather in thicker, high quality grades gives more support and stays in shape so is ideal for outdoor rugged footwear. Note that it also doesn't stretch like thinner leather so fit for the forefoot from ball of large toe to small toe joint needs to be comfortable.
Things to avoid. Salts dry out leather and cause leather cracking, blood, fertilizers and animal waste are in this group and also damage midsoles. Minerals from the environment also will cause this. Solvents harden leather fibres and dissolve ahesives and damage foam materials. Low solvent or non solvent products should only be used besides. We have seeen one example where even the rubber rand was becoming so soft bits could be pulled off with the fingers, it had some really foul smell about it. Petro chemical solvents give off strong odour when evaporating. There are products without solvents so we recommend no solvent or low solvent is fine. A little solvent is good to protect from leather rot caused by bacteria. Flexing points can leach out the preservative added at manufacture due to flexing when wet creating vegetan like leather prone to leather rot.
Over oiling will cause the leather to oversoften and stretch. Loosing support and fit. This is more of an issue with lower quality leather that is less fibrous and thinner leather.
However oil can be good to quickly revive dry leather or flexing points or create a reserve for infrequent boot maintainers. Also soften tight fitting points by allowing the leather to stretch where its uncomfortable. For higher quality leather and thicker leather there will be less stretching so don't rely on this method. Get a good fit from the start. If you melt the dubbin it will soak right in quite quickly for softening.
Properly clean with brush and water and recondition footwear regularly for longevity specially if in contact with blood, minerals, salt, animal waste. Never walk in footwear for the outdoors that has a dry surface looking leather. Cracking always starts on the surface where its easy to see. Waxy oily looking surface appearance indicates that you have reconditioned the leather. All this is over to your own management.
Leather is able to absorb moisture so its water transpirable and therefor quite breathable.
For proof, Haix quote their leathers breathability eg. breathable (5,0 mg/cm²/h),
This is a subject that needs special attention because leather is breathable and helps keeping feet healthier and happier with dryer socks by applying oil saturating grease/oil products that clog up the leather. Over application of oil can creat gumboot like boots with poor breathability and sweatier feet.
This counts more in summer when wearer feet sweats more and is unhealthy and uncomfortable. Or in winter when working hard and the feet sweat and then get colder. Besides stretching fibres with saturated oil you also get colder leather because of cold conducted in via the saturated leather. Leather looses insulation
Oil is in nearly every leather care product and will reduce leather breathability by soaking into the leather layers making leather and internal boot slow to dry so please don't over oil. The more water repellent with saturating oils the slower it can breathe. Products vary in the amount of oil in them. A combination of lower oil leather cream or balsam for the boot and higher oil content dubbins for creasy parts and soft porous leather works well for outdoor users.
Waxes stay mainly on the surface leaving the lower layers able to absorb the wearers sweat/moisture and can dry via the wax by transpiration/vapour. Similar to your water proof breathable liner of your rain jacket, if you have that type. Water can't get in but vapour gets out. When you clean your boots with brush and water you wash off wax and the leather can now transpire even quicker. If you had layers of oil under that wax, the saturated oil willl reduce the rate at which water vapour can escape so you will have slower drying footwear.
For best breathbility non greasy wax creams are best and are what most good manufacturers recommend is ideal. Yes they do require more frequent application. But if you just spent hundreds of dollars on breathable waterproof membrane lined boots then this is a good way to help maintain what you just spent good money on for dryer, heathier feet and lighter boots. That is a more satisfactory result and currently our leathercare products are at affordable prices that won't cause you to get fear of application.
If you want more water repellency and don't care that much about breathability of your leather then go with a dubbin type all over. We have those products as well. Dubbin types will suit irregular boot maintenance because the higher amount of oil and atleast for the flexing parts it will help keep them supple and less prone to cracking so long as its applied when required and not left to dry out.
Dubbin is a mixture of animal oils/fats and beeswax. Its a grease. Some relabel it under different names to make it sound special. Bee wax products without solvent have a higher % of wax than oil compared to Dubbin and have some more water repellency due to the waxes stickyness to the surface.
No solvent Mink oil dubbin is the best leather conditoner that we have seen with omega 7. You can melt it easliy as it has a lower melting point than non liquid wax creams which have a higher % of wax which has a higher melting point. When its liquid you can apply with finger to parts that need extra reviving if leather is already dry and hard like flexing points and soft more porous leather thats more prone to drying. The tongue folds and heel bend are usually made of softer leather than the main part of the boot. As a liquid, it will soak in quite quickly and proving the point of all that has been mentioned prior.
Or simply by apply using finger, directly from the tin as it warms the dubbin for good spreading to any part that needs it to prevent drying out. Which is a far wiser way to do it. Prevention is better than the cure. Cracking always starts on the surface so its easy to see if you have neglected it.
Less is best in abrasive conditions. Don't pick a boot with lower side sewing for any alpine use. Also need a 360 degree rand to protect. We recommend Sor Goo over sewing that gets abrasion. This covers the sewing for protection. It will need repalcing over time. Clean the leather of oil before applying. pay attention to your gators with rubbing. Apply an adhesive like Shoe Goo over the sewing helps. It may need reapplication but it works out less costly than resewing. Clean the surface well of grease before application with warm water and brush so it sticks..
There is a cup at the back of most boots that fits the heel. There is no padding in that area and its reinforced so it can last better.
Notice with putting in thicker insoles or orthotics that jack the heel above that height it shifts the heel higher into the padding and this will eventually wear this out.
It's better to wear thicker socks if you want more comfort and make sure the orthotic which is quite often a hard piece of fiberglass isn't rubbing. Orthotic Insoles made of Poron are better than fibreglass. You would be better off with this type in the boots
These can be bad for wearing out sewing and textiles due to rubbing. Applying some Shoe Goo or similar over sewing for protection can help.
With hooks always apply pressure on the laces as you go around the hooks. So keep the tension tight while lacing up the hooks. This will pull them in together nice and tight
With loops. First tighten the lower lacing. Then even up the tension between the upper loops with a few tugs where they are loose and work your way up. Now grab the two lace ends together with one hand and pull upward. Keep tension on. With the index finger of the spare hand. Tug in between the laces where they cross over and slip the finger back out. This grabs up the last of any loose lacing and allows the other hand to pull that spare length up to the top. After mastering loops you’ll find they are faster than hooks and also can’t snag.
Checking the fit.
A good test is to lace up firmly and kick reasonably hard into a carpeted step or something similar. Your toes should not impact the end of the boot hard. This shows the lacing is acting like a safety belt in the car. Retaining the foot.
When walking forward you should not get heel lift which indicates a loose fit for the heel This is bad for the boot as it causes abrasion also your heel can get blistered. Make sure laces are firm. You may need to add an extra sock to your small foot. Nearly everyone has one smaller foot and some have a full size difference. So too firm up the difference wear an extra sock on the small foot and even up the fit for yourself. This will improve your happiness with the fit and also this will reduce abrasion to the boot from a loose fit causing rubbing.
If you have any further questions. Please ask we may add them here.