[#gifted – My custom-fit Tecnica walking boots were gifted, so I could experience and enjoy the custom-fitting process for myself. All thoughts are indeed my own.]
This is a bit of a different one for me, as I don’t often post about outdoor-wear (aside from the occasional Music Festival attire post). But with two kids and more holidays within the UK, I’ve developed an interest in the outdoors, walking and camping (or if I’m honest, glamping!). So it’s only right and natural that I need to get kitted-out for such activities and my knowledge of the outdoor-wear world, is fairly limited. So when I was contacted by Tecnica, regarding their newest walking boot range and a custom-fitting service they provided from within the Ellis Brigham Manchester store, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more…
Custom-fit Tecnica Walking Boots
You may have heard of the brand Tecnica before, (my hubby was familiar from the skiing world), as they have been a leading brand in footwear for many years. They stand out for quality and design already, but now they can add custom-fit comfort to their USP.
In honesty, my experience of proper outdoor hill-walking and hiking is fairly limited, but on the occasions where we have dabbled, I’ve loved it…apart from the sore, swollen and unsupported feet! I have quite a high instep (so I’m told) and that often leads to quick aching in the foot department. I don’t have any suitable footwear and the walking boots that I have had previously, from the high-street have been pretty average to say the least (and pretty unfashionable too!).
So the idea of custom-fit walking boots appealed immediately. Sold! I was intrigued at just how a walking boot could be shaped exactly to my foot and I was about to find out, one sunny Thursday morning in the centre of Manchester…
Custom-fitting at Ellis Brigham
I’ve walked past Ellis Brigham on Deansgate hundreds of times, popping in occasionally for some thermals or sundries for camping/skiing trips. I hadn’t ventured up to their top floor, which is full of walking boots and is where you can enjoy their custom-fitting experience when purchasing the Tecnica boots. Andy, from team Tecnica was there to greet us on this occasion and tell us more about the brand and the C.A.S technology (that’s Custom Adaptive Shape to you and I!).
They’ve been using the technology with their ski boots for some time now and wanted to create something for walking boots and shoes that could be enjoyed off the slopes too. They’ve come up with a unique system, that can be experienced in-store in 20 minutes. You’re then left to walk out of the store with custom-fit walking boots, adapted perfectly to your feet.
But how does the C.A.S work?
I’ll say now, the custom-fitting is a) unique and b) hilarious. We didn’t quite know what to expect. Tecnica told us that there was a heating process (first the insoles, then the boot themselves) and it was the heat that allowed the boots to mould perfectly to the contours and shape of your foot. But we weren’t quite prepared for exactly how this happens…
The team at Ellis Brigham Deansgate, talked us through the process, as we slipped our feet into socks that contained the warmed insole from our chosen boots (I likened this to a luxury spa foot massage) and instructed us to place our feet into what can only be likened to moon boots, as they strapped our knees into place (I know!). A couple of tubes were inserted (into the boots!), a button pressed and then whoosh! Followed by immediate fits of laughter.
The “moon boots” inflate quickly around your feet and it feels like you’re going to take-off (hence the strapping of the knees!), to apply just the right amount of pressure from all angles, to mould the warmed insoles around your feet. You sit there for a few minutes, whilst the shaping takes place, before the “moon boots” are deflated and you’re left with the perfect fitting insole. The process is then repeated again with the warmed walking boots themselves, with the newly fitted insoles in place. Whoosh! This time you have the entire boot moulded around your foot and ankle (and you laugh just as much the second time around).
We were then advised to take the boot of for a few minutes, let our feet relax and the boot settle, before trying them on again.
So what do custom-fit Tecnica walking boots actually feel like?
I’m going to be honest here…
You notice the difference right away! Before the fitting, I tried on my pair of Tecnica boots and they were perfectly comfortable, but a bit roomy around the heel of my right foot. I practiced walking up and down a ramp to get a feel for them. Fine. Perfectly fine.
But once they had been custom-fitted, it was like wearing a glove on your feet (if that’s a thing?!). I could no longer feel that room around my heel, instead, they felt perfectly snug…no blisters for me! My instep felt supported and I could tell I’d feel the difference on a long walk…which I will be doing this weekend to test them out!
Other cool sh*t you should know
A few other things that we were told about the Tecnica boot during our fitting:
- The laces are specially designed to “self-grip”. They have little nodules that make them hold their tie more firmly. A little detail but once you see it in action, you start to question why all laces aren’t designed like this.
- The tongue of the boot is attached to the boot itself, which makes putting them on a lot easier and means you don’t end up with a disappearing tongue (oh stop it!).
- There are two materials to choose from in the Tecnica Forge GTX collection – leather and a synthetic (ie. vegan friendly!). I went for the synthetic, assured that there was no difference in the performance of the boot and feeling like I was doing my bit for more sustainable choices.
- The C.A.S system is currently available in a walking shoe design too, the Plasma shoe.
And another thing I want to mention is the price. Although most certainly an investment, I feel that custom-fit Tecnica walking boots, are an investment worth making if you’re into walking/hiking/outdoorsy stuff. The price point is competitive and actually great value, as you don’t have the need for any added extras. They retail at £239.99 and if you were to buy a similar boot for less, you’d probably end up paying just as much, if not more, with some decent insoles and extras to try and make them more comfortable. You don’t need anything else after your custom-fitting. So actually, you may well just save some money!
Wanna see how I get on? Keep your eyes peeled on my insta-stories this weekend!