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Despite the obvious risks with wearing trainers or flip-flops in the mountains - a lack of grip, support and waterproofing - it's amazing the amount of people you see traipsing up hills like Ben Nevis and Snowdon dressed wholly inappropriately for the conditions. So much so that every year, at least one mountain rescue team ends up having to issue a warning against wearing trainers and flip-flops. As the South Snowdonia Mountain Rescue Team puts it, "under no circumstance are flip-flops good for hiking even if you are on a well-used trail. These should only be used at the end of the day when you are relaxing at home or in front of a campfire with a bottle of beer. "Having solid shoes or hiking boots will also help limit the chances of injuring your ankle and foot." For any sensible hiker then, the only choice is between walking shoes or walking boots - but which option should you go for? Well, that largely depends on the kind of walking you'll likely be doing, especially in respect to the weather and the terrain. Waterproofing While you can get both waterproofed shoes and boots, a piece of footwear is clearly only waterproof up to a certain point i.e. the height of the collar. Therefore, if your route crosses any rivers or bogs, you'll end up with wet feet in a pair of shoes. Waterproof walking boots win here. Breathability  However, in dry, sunny conditions, the breathability and reduced bulk of walking shoes means they come into their own - ensuring comfort all day long. Walking boots are less breathable, but this extra insulation is welcome in colder conditions. Gore Tex boots are a great example of a breathable yet waterproof boot. Portability Being smaller and lighter, walking shoes are easier to fit into a rucksack or a suitcase if you're travelling abroad. Walking boots on the other hand take up a lot of space in your luggage. Agility It follows that if something is smaller and lighter, it is more manoeuvrable, making walking shoes a better choice than boots for easy-going terrain and when you've got a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time. Protection However, the trade-off is that shoes are not as supportive. Boots not only protect the ankle from rolling, especially when carrying heavy loads, but also shield the skin from thorns, loose rocks and other hazards. Conclusion As a general rule of thumb, walking shoes are best suited to summer hikes on gravel paths, while walking boots excel in cold, damp and muddy conditions and when the terrain is rough. If you can't afford both pairs, it's probably best to opt for an all-season walking boot, which will cope with a wider range of conditions than a shoe, especially if you do a lot of your walking in the mountains, where even in summer it can be wet and cold. A good bet is the Grisport Avenger for men and the Grisport Hurricane for women, which both feature waterproof and breathable leather uppers to cope with a variety of weather conditions and Vibram soles, which provide excellent grip and durability. Check out our sale on walking boots for a great range at even better prices.