Keep on Walking

I have recently discovered the delights of walking the hills while taking in delightful views and pausing to eat, drink and do the crossword. This is a big change from my previous habit of running and orienteering – highly commendable in themselves – but I have decided to grow old gracefully. Having suffered interminably from blisters, a good pair of walking boots or shoes seemed worth investigating.

A chance visit to the Oban branch of Rogersons provided me with a pair of Nordic walking shoes for a penny under £40. These have proved to be the most comfortable shoes I have yet to try.

I spent this winter in wellies and walking boots and ended up at the physio with a variety of foot and ankle problems arising from pressure on the left ankle. My ankles are flexible but not strong, and the problems extended to toes, arch, heel, achilles, and calf. It took several weeks of work on both the physio’s part and mine to diagnose and sort out. In the meantime I experimented with boots to give support and slip on shoes, so as not to aggravate ankle or achilles. Neither was the perfect solution, but my Nordic shoes were. When clean, they are even smart enough to wear about town.

They have been tested on the Kintyre Way, which has everything from safe, stone paths to man-eating bogs and on the Gigha walk, which is all on (the only!) tarmac road. They do not, of course, keep your feet entirely dry when you go up to the knees in bogs but gaiters would help. On 10 miles of road, an extra pair of cushioned insoles provided more comfort and in fact the shoes are light enough to jog in.

Apart from the comfort in every area, helped by Rogerson’s Support System, the shoes seem to be very robust and one of the pluses for multi day walking is how quickly they dry out – I hate putting on wet shoes in the morning.

My only niggle is that the laces are rather too long, but I suppose this means that if you are very good about maintenance (I’m not) you could pull them through the eyelets to save wear.

The shoes are made in Italy by Grisport to Rogerson’s specification and, although this particular style has been discontinued, you might be lucky enough to pick up a pair, as I was, in a clearance sale. Grisport do make similar styles – just make sure they have the Vibram soles, which are of a high quality rubber for good grip and wear and a waterproof lining.

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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