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Outdoor Footwear

  • Winter Walking Devices

    Ice Warning Triangle

    Winter Walking

    Winter walking can be one of the greatest experiences in the Lake District, the pure solitude and beauty of making new tracks in an untouched snowscape.  But as with everything round here, there are some things to know first.  Limitations are something that don’t just apply to physical fitness or time constraints, it heavily applies to the kit we use, and how we use it.

    Walking Aids have been on the market for years in the form of Full crampons (an area we could write essays on), but for now we shall leave them in cupboard and focus on what’s available to your average walker with reasonable levels of self preservation.

    Firstly lets identify which is for you… here’s some points to help:

    • Yaktrax Walker - £14.99

      Low Level – Great on packed snow and ice, limited to lower levels.

    • Yaktrax Pro - £20.99

      Low level – Great on packed snow and ice, limited to lower levels. More secure than the walker with a toe strap and stronger coils.  More off-road than Yaktrax Walker

    • Grivel Spider - £29.99

      Low to mid – Work on snow, ice, mud, grass. Low profile with an aggressive grip.  Fits all shoes. Packs away well.

    • Hillsound Trail Crampon - £49.99

      Up to high – Very versatile, good flex to match most footwear.

    • Stubai Twin peaks - £74.99

      Up to high – Walkers crampon, slight flex, no front points, not for steep use.

    • Grivel Monte Rosa - £79.99

      High – C1 Crampon, front points, compatible with B1, B2,  B3 Boots. Lightweight. Great first pair.

    Overview

    1. Yaktrax Walker

      Yaktrax Walker

      Firstly we shall start with the Yaktrax Walker, which last year were in such demand that retailers all over the country sold out several times. They are a simple design of walking aid that works very well on packed snow and ice. The way they work is more of a 360° friction, as opposed to the aggressive purchase you see from walking spikes etc.  The benefit of which is that you don’t run the risk of creating a trip hazard with the very thing designed to help you!

    2. Yaktrax Pro

      Yaktrax Pro

      Next is Yaktrax’ other contender, the Yaktrax Pro, this follows the same design as the Walker, with the added benefit of a more durable coils, and a toestrap, this gives more security and less chance of them popping off at a crucial moment.

    3. Grivel Spider

      Grivel Spider

      Third on the list is a different solution called the Grivel Spider, a Ten-pointed instep device, which is a versatile beast devised for use on all shapes and sizes of shoe. As well as all sorts of terrains, Snow, Ice, Mud, Grass…pretty much anything they can get their teeth into!

    4. Hillsound Trail Crampon

      Hillsound Trail Crampon

      Hillsound Trail Crampon is where things start to ebb towards the more serious; here we have a rubber/chain/spike affair that comes in several sizes, working under a similar fit mechanism to the Yaktrax, but incorporating a far sturdier, far more aggressive grip design. You could really call this a miniature ten point crampon.

    5. Stubai Twin Peaks

      Stubai Twin Peaks

      Now we would look to the Stubai Twin peaks, a “walking crampon” which essentially is the same format as a full crampon but without the front points, now this is an intentional limitation, that reduces the chance of tripping and/or stabbing your stationary leg! Nice and lightweight, this crampon is aimed at the walker without a crampon rated boot, but still requires relatively stiff boot for use.

    6. Grivel Monte Rosa

      Grivel Monte Rosa

      Finally we look to the Grivel Monte Rosa, now this particular one IS a full crampon, with a C1 crampon rating.  What this means is that it is the lowest use rating afforded to a Crampon, and that you can use it with all crampon compatible boots(B1,B2,B3). This then steps up the intended use of the device, and as such the risks.  They are a great first crampon and should standardly be used with an ice-axe in hand (Ice Axes are to stop you once you’ve fallen or slipped, and are essential when on a higher level winter walk).

  • Merino Wool, The Ultimate Natural Fibre

    The Evolution of Base Layers

    A Fine Looking Lady

    Back in the day, we were told to wear cotton T Shirts and woollen jumpers when we were hill walking (if you don't remember ask your Dad). Then synthetic base layers and fleeces came along and we were told wool is the worse thing to wear. And so it was for many years until someone cuddled a Merino Sheep (probably a Cumbrian, we're like that) and thought what a lovely warm comfortable creature it was. If only there was a way of making Flossy into socks and base layers we would all be warm and comfortable wearing a natural fabric. Well. Human perseverance being what it is, especially where sheep are concerned (or maybe that is just a Cumbrian point of view), we have been wearing Merino Wool for a while now and it is wonderful.

    The Merino Wool Crack


    The reason Merino Wool is so comfortable to wear next to the skin is because it is such a fine yarn. Wool is graded according to the thickness of it's fibre in microns (a millionth of a meter). The lower the micron count the finer the yarn. A human hair is about 100microns thick, coarse wool for carpets about 35 microns, and Merino Wool for base layers should be between 11 and 18 microns thick. The best Merino Wool is finer than cashmere and mohair which

    explains why it is so comfortable.

    Merino Wool keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer and is naturally breathable. Merino Wool has a natural crimp in the yarn that gives it great elasticity, and these crimps interlock to create thousands of tiny air pockets. Combined with Merinos low heat conductivity this gives it it's great insulation properties and keeps your temperature constant irrespective of the weather. Merino Wool protects naturally against UV rays, and it absorbs up to 35% of its weight in water vapour then transmits it away from the body, keeping your skin dry.

    Because Merino Wool is so fine, it is not as durable as synthetic fabrics and will not last as long. Merino socks and base layers will need replacing before their synthetic cousins, but the improved performance and comfort more than makes up for this. You need to wash Merino Wool products at 30 degrees to make sure they don't shrink, and treat them a bit more carefully as it is such a fine fabric, is every sense of the word.

    Teko Socks. Kind To The Planet, And Your Foots Best Friend

    Mid Weight Teko Merino Hiking Sock

    Teko use Argentinian Merino Wool from farms that have been raising sheep organically for decades. Only non-motorized methods are used to herd the sheep. They are fed only organically-grown food and are not subjected to hormones, vaccinations, mulesing, or chemical drenches. Their grazing area is never sprayed with pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. Strict water conservation methods are employed, as are protections against overgrazing. Organic merino wool is substantially more expensive than the non-organic alternative, but Teko believes the investment is worth it, both for consumers and the planet. Teko's factory in America is powered by wind and all the packaging is recycled. If you like to shop with a clear conscience then Teko socks should be at the top of your sock shopping list.

    We have a Mens Lightweight sock, a Ladies Lightweight sock, a Mens Midweight sock, a Ladies Midweight sock and a Unisex Heavyweight sock from Teko. They are all made from the best organic Merino Wool, and they are all a touch of luxury for your feet.

    The Most Comfortable Clothing To Wear Next To Your Skin

    My Favourite New Merino Top

    We have just got Edz Merino Wool clothing in and it is fantastic. They use superfine Merino Wool from New Zealand and the fabric is so soft and comfortable next to the skin, the 200g Long Sleeve Zip Neck I have just purloined has become my favourite top. We are really pleased to have Edz in, they are a Cumbrian firm (you see, us Cumbrians love sheep, wherever they come from) based in Maryport. We always try and support local businesses, but it was the product and the price that made this the best Merino range to go with. The 200g Long Sleeve Zip Neck I have pinched cost £49.99, a good £20 cheaper than the competition for the same quality, and it comes in a great looking Grey Marl. We also have a Ladies 200g Long Sleeve Zip Neck in the same Grey Marl. We have a Mens 165g Short Sleeve Tee in Blue at £29.99 and a Ladies 165g Short Sleeve Tee in Red. These are great for summer or winter and really practical if you are travelling, as these can be worn for extended periods of time with out getting smelly & they are not as bulky as cotton so take up less space than a cotton T-shirt. But best of all, we now have Merino Boxer Shorts in stock!!! These are an absolute must have for anyone familiar with Betty Swollocks or who has suffered from a cold bum. Most people head out to the hill covered in wicking

    Look after your middle bits!

    base layers, technical walking socks, and all the right stuff to wear, except for the middle bit which is wrapped in cotton soaking up sweat or freezing. Look after your middle bits, they serve you well.

    I hope you have found this useful, and if you are in the market for new socks or base layers seriously consider moving into Merino Wool. I can't stress how well it performs and increases your comfort on the hill. And after the wheel and the Brevil sandwich maker, Merino Boxer Shorts are the best invention ever!!

  • Walking Socks

    Merino Wool Socks

    We think Merino Wool is the most comfortable fabric to wear next to your skin. Merino Wool socks are soft with lots of padding and they wick moisture away leaving your feet dry and comfortable.

    Merino Wool is much finer than normal wool and it has a longer yarn so there are fewer itchy ends to irritate your skin. It wicks moisture really well, retains its warmth when damp and has an excellent warmth to weight ratio so it always feels comfortable next to your skin. It also has anti bacterial properties which mean you can wear your socks all week and they don’t get smelly. If you are used to offending yourself with the smell of your feet after a day’s walking try a pair of Merino Wool socks, they honestly do make a huge difference. Because of the long soft yarn they make incredibly soft and comfortable socks, but they are not as durable as nylon or wool socks. It’s another case where you can’t have it both ways. Merino Wool socks are great for helping to clear up athlete’s foot and general swamp foot because they keep your feet so dry. If you are in between sizes then go down a size unless you have very broad feet.

    Seal Skinz Socks

    If you know you’re going somewhere very wet take some waterproof socks. We all know there is no such thing as a fully 100% waterproof boot, they all have big holes in the top, so if you really want to keep your feet dry, wear these.

    Kids Walking Socks

    Walking boots fit a lot better when worn with proper walking socks. The socks add padding and stop the foot slipping about, and with kids boots you can buy big and bulk up on socks to make them last longer.

    If you are in between sizes then go down a size unless you have very broad feet, as socks will always stretch a bit, but if they’re too big they will form uncomfortable lumps and wrinkles.

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