When looking at boots remember they will get well abused, think about what weather and terrain you'll be walking in. Fabric boots are more light weight but tend not to be as waterproof even with waterproof membranes inside. The more stitching on the boot the more chance of it leaking. Try and get a boot where the upper is made from a single piece of leather.
One of the most asked questions is what's best fabric or leather. There is no easy answer so here are the benefits of each.
Fabric: Instantly comfortable, waterproof (1yr Guarantee), lightweight, casual looking, requires minimal care.
Leather: Highly durable, most re-soleable, long term water resistance, easily cleanable, good long-term fit.
To give some idea of usability boots are usually described by one of the following categories.
Lowland Valley: This covers conditions from muddy paths to rocky coastal paths. All most any footwear can be used for this category of walking.
Hillwalking: Footwear for spring to autumn hill walking needs to be supportive, offer high levels of protection and be water resistant or waterproof.
Mountain Walking: Mountains can experience severe weather. Footwear therefore needs to offer good support and protection. To safely use crampons boots should have a B1 or higher crampon grading.
Climbing / Expedition: These are designed for ice climbing and high altitude use with rigid or articulated crampons. The boots will usually be totally rigid to allow front pointing on steep ice slopes and may have insulated inners to cope with extreme cold.
The exact size of boots will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Take along the socks you intend to wear with the boots when you try them on. Place your foot in the unlaced boot and stub the boots toe on the floor when you stand up you should be able to place a couple of fingers in the gap between the boot and your heal this will make sure that your feet have room to expand. Next tighten the boots up are the comfortable, you should be able to wiggle your toes, the instep should not feel tight and the heel held firmly into the back of the boot.
Feet change size through out the day and tend to be largest once you've done some exercise at which time they might be one size larger.
HS12 Sherpa Leather: These require no initial treatment as they are already impregnated with HS12 Silicon. Once they become scuffed then use Aqueous Nikwax
HS12 Nubuck Leather: Same as Sherpa Leather but use Nikwax Nubuck if you want to keep the nubuck appearance.
Hydrobloc Leather: Clean & dry as above. Regularly apply Hydrobloc proofing to the boots.
Brasher Leather Boots: Clean and dry as above use shoe polish when required. Do not use wax or oils.
Other Leather: These will require water proofing before usage use Nikwax Waterproofing wax or Aqueous Nikwax. Wax should be applied only when needed as excess may cause more harm than good.
Fabric: When no longer water proof apply Nikwax Fabric.