Dog walking footwear tips from Cotswold Outdoor guest blog from Cotswold Outdoor Walking our dogs is one of the most important parts of keeping our four-legged friends happy and healthy, but it can also be pretty demanding if you’re not wearing the right footwear. That's why, as part of National Walking Month we've teamed up with Cotswold Outdoor to get their top tips on the perfect dog walking footwear. Not only that, we're also giving you the chance to win two pairs of walking boots from Cotswold Outdoor which are perfect for adventures with your canine companion! To enter click here. Here's what Cotswold Outdoor had to say on how to choose shoes for dog walking and keep them performing at their best for as long as possible. It's all about durability You may think that as a dog walker you won’t be taking on much technical terrain, and so don’t need the kind of super-durable walking boots that regular mountain climbers favour. But think of it this way: you’re out there at least twice every day, which means that in the long term you’re clocking up as many miles as, if not more than, the average weekend hiker – which means durability is everything. Many dog walkers fall into the trap of picking up a less expensive pair of walking shoes, with the idea that it’s cheaper to keep replacing those every 6 months than investing in a more sturdy pair of boots. But in reality, boots last far longer and are much more economical over time, especially if you care for them properly (more on that later). All that said, there’s one exception: if you’re only walking for short distances, and waterproofness is your main concern, a pair of wellies is the footwear for you! ...but don't forget about comfort The other side to the durability consideration is, as always, comfort. The flatter terrain you’re walking on, the less comfortable you’re likely to find a pair of walking boots, as by their nature they’re stiffer and heavier than walking shoes, and that’s where lighter and more flexible walking shoes come in. Light boots, or mid-height boots, offer a little extra ankle support compared to walking shoes, but won’t be any more durable. If you’re used to the feel of walking boots, we would still recommend you go for those – don’t forget, we offer extended 100-day returns for Explore More members, so you can try on as many pairs as you need at home to find the right ones for you. Keep it clean... The most important part of prolonging the life of your outdoor footwear is keeping it clean. This means that, after every walk, you should try your best to remove the mud from your shoes and leave them to thoroughly dry. If you’re in a hurry, NEVER dry your footwear near a heat source; instead, stuff them with absorbent kitchen roll to speed up the drying process. ...and deep-clean regularly We recommend that dog walkers should thoroughly clean and reproof their walking shoes or boots once a month to keep them in the best possible condition. You should have a backup pair of shoes, or even just some wellies, which you can wear for dog walks while your shoes are drying after being reproofed. Read a guide to cleaning and reproofing your boots here. Don't forget the other type of footwear! Good-quality walking socks are so often overlooked, but they’re a really important part of your outdoor kit and make all the difference to your comfort – especially as a dog walker who’s out in all weathers. Look for socks which have reinforcements (or even better, padding) in high-impact areas like the balls of your feet and your heels for extra comfort and durability, and we always recommend replacing your walking socks at the same time as your footwear for maximum benefit. Read a guide on choosing walking footwear here.