We receive many email enquiries about a range of subjects relating to our footwear and services. To make things easier, here’s a compilation of some of them and the answers you’re looking for.
This is our most frequently asked question and one without a definitive answer as the variables involved in a piece of footwear’s lifespan are vast! The most important of these are the mileage a user puts on them, the terrain and weather they’re used in, the care regime adopted and whether the user has particularly heavy wear tendencies.
We all know folk who’ve had their boots for donkeys of years but often they won’t have had a huge amount of wear over that time. We also deal with several customers who go through a pair of high quality leather boots in a year or less based on high mileage or daily use in demanding conditions. These folk are often volunteer workers (National Park Rangers, National Trust volunteers etc), twice a day moorland dog walkers and challenge walkers such as members of the LWDA. They generally accept that their footwear is a consumable very much like the tyres on their cars but that their safety and comfort for the duration of the product is well worth paying for.
However, more typically, a keen weekend rambler or mountain walker would expect between two to five years plus from their boots if cared for according to the manufacturers instructions. If the footwear uppers are fundamentally sound but the sole unit is worn past its safe limit then re-soling services are well worth considering and more information is available in our FAQ’s.
UK moor and mountain use is hard on any footwear and should be factored in when purchasing. However, when you look at the weekly spend on your favourite boots it’s tiny when compared to the pleasure they bring. One of our loyal customers puts a pound coin into a jar every time she goes for a walk and by the time her boots are worn out, she has easily enough to replace them and treat herself to a meal out!
For high quality resoling of composite type footwear such as the models we sell, our two preferred companies are Lancashire Sports Repairs in Burnley, Lancashire and Feet First in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. They are mostly able to repair using genuine branded sole units to match the originals. For Altberg boots, you should use Lancashire Sports Repairs who are able to resole their models using the proper lasts and Vibram sole units.
In some cases yes. Certain traditional cobblers will strip the old heel outsole and rebond a new generic piece. In the case of a modern EVA type heel unit it’s important that the layer of material (often a lighter colour) underneath the black outsole is not damaged. These type of repairs are fairly cheap – typically around the £15 to £20 mark. Locally, we would recommend Jacksons in Oldham’s Town Square.
Until we appraise your feet we won’t know what exact models of boots will fit well. But to answer the waterproof question, it’s important to acknowledge the difficulty any footwear has in coping with our unique UK conditions. Most British retailers generally stock boots that have been designed primarily for markets other than the UK and they often perform as such. Membranes such as GoreTex are heavily marketed as being ‘waterproof’ but in reality this isn’t always the case after several hours of immersion and flexing because of their inherent and necessary porosity. It’s this porosity that allows the feet to ‘breathe’ and sweat plus condensation to dissipate. However, once the outer material gets saturated after immersion, the same porosity can also allow water ingress in certain conditions. The best combination for keeping feet dry in challenging wet and abrasive conditions is a high quality, proofed leather boot backed by a membrane to act as a second line of defense should the leather become saturated.
The only boot brand we sell that is designed and manufactured primarily and specially for UK mountain, hill and moorland use is Yorkshire’s own Altberg who are based in Richmond. They use premium quality Anfibio and Hydro leathers together with Sympatex membranes to produce boots for everyone from twice a day dog walkers to winter mountain adventurers.
We’re saying that the answer to that question will very much depend on the use, terrain, climate and mileage the boots experience. But if you want a total guarantee of 100% waterproofing, we have a great range of Grubs wellington boots!
Before going any further, it’s necessary to understand the limitations of modern membrane boots which although a remarkable technical innovation, can still allow water ingress under certain conditions. These can include:
- Situations where the boot upper (leather or otherwise) has become completely saturated by foul conditions which can lead to repeated flexing forcing water through the membrane under pressure.
- Excessive wear and tear that has compromised the footwear.
- The genre of the boot itself. Many lightweight or summer boots are backed with a membrane such as GoreTex or Sympatex to add protection against water ingress but are in no way as capable as a heavier, 3 to 4 season boot built specifically for foul UK conditions.
- Damage to the internal lining of the boot. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, the most likely being grit that has entered the boot from the ankle opening. The next most likely cause are overlong or jagged toe nails so we recommend inspecting the footwear regularly for foreign objects under the footbeds and keeping nails well trimmed. Certain types of prescription orthotics are not compatible with membrane linings due to their shape, type or the materials they’re made from.
- A lack of care to the boot uppers. If the manufacturers recommendations haven’t been followed with regard to regular care and cleaning then premature wear and cracking of the upper and a consequent failure of the membrane is likely to occur and will not be covered by the warranty.
- Customers often forget that water can ingress from above in wet conditions. The way to prevent this is to wear gaiters that cover the boots and to overlay these with waterproof over trousers which will give a protective effect similar to the way roof slates work. In no circumstances should gaiters be worn OVER the bottom of waterproof trousers as water will simply run down and into the boots!
Making a warranty return
If you’re sure none of the above apply and have had water ingress which you feel is a warranty issue then most manufacturers provide a 2 year guarantee against leakage due to a manufacturing fault. In this case, please contact the retailer first (ie Mountainfeet) so that they can arrange for the boots to be inspected by the manufacturer and a solution found. If the boots are new, then a manufacturing fault would be suspected and a replacement offered. Bear in mind that just because your footwear is less than two years old doesn’t automatically render it covered by such a warranty – if the boots are physically worn out or abused then responsibility rests with the customer.
We’d usually suggest that if a one off incidence of ingress is experienced in foul conditions that the footwear is dried and then used again before returning. Then, if the issue persists, the matter can be taken further. This will assist in making sure a fault actually exists and prevents your time being wasted in the case of the ingress being accidental.
Warranty returns during COVID19 lock down
During lock down periods where our shop is physically closed for visits, we will either ask you to return your clean boots to the UK distributor or manufacturer direct or arrange to have them collected after supplying you with a returns number. In certain cases, to facilitate as quick a solution as possible, we may ask you to take digital photos and email them to us.
If you send your footwear back then a reasonably priced signed for courier service should be used and if a fault is found, you will be credited for the amount spent.
Please bear in mind that if you return footwear for a warranty consideration, it MUST be clean and dry. If this is not the case, our staff and those of the distributor or manufacturer will not process it further.
Yes, we have laces suitable for most shoes and boots although they probably won’t be the originals. Lengths range from 100cm through to 210cm in various colours and you can just pop into buy them. If you’re hell bent on obtaining the original laces for a particular footwear model then we can try to source them for you.
In short, not any more. The expense and time constraints mean we now refer customers in need of custom cast clinical orthotics to our associate Matthew Butters at Colne Valley Chiropody in Marsden.
However, the ever increasing range of high quality pre-cast footbeds and orthotics from manufacturers such as Sidas, Sole and Superfeet mean that most presentations we see can be catered for off the shelf. Bear in mind that to make the choice correctly needs our clinical eye and we also custom cut and shape the precasts in the workshop to fit your footwear exactly. This is a service and skill that most shops can’t or don’t offer.
No, you’re welcome to call during opening hours although it’s probably best to phone or message first to check we have what you need.
Aside from socks and laces, we sell local maps, headtorches, micro spikes, crampons, dog collar lights etc and can often order other products from the variety of suppliers we have accounts with.
This is a commonly heard remark. High quality, structured footwear generally needs some time to adapt to a particular foot shape so will usually feel even better after a few weeks of use. However, in some instances, customers will feel that the fit of their footwear isn’t as good as it was initially. Bear in mind that the snugness of footwear may ease quite substantially and the fit might suddenly seem a bit sloppy from the original try on. This isn’t generally an issue as more secure lacing will often sort the fit out. If this isn’t satisfactory, then it’s easy to fit a thin, flat footbed under the standard or orthotic footbed to snug things up without losing any length in the boot or shoe.
Bear in mind that if you feel you’re between sizes of a shoe or boot, the safest way to go is for the bigger size as it can be made to feel snugger and smaller quite easily. If footwear is too small, particularly in the length, then there’s very little that can be done to modify it.
When we lace footwear in the shop for customers, it’s done in a precise and firm way and is often explained in detail. We often see customers who complain about slippage or heel lift not paying much attention to their lacing technique or tension and yet the laces are critical to a proper fit – particularly for technical outdoor footwear.