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The verdict

Decide what your requirements are from the boot bearing in mind the key features mentioned - how often and in what conditions will you be wearing them? The boots mentioned are just a few of those available on the market but whatever you choose, make sure they comply to safety standards for useon site.

Generally, if you are doing a lot of walking, choose a lightweight, comfortable boot with a polyurethane sole. If you need added durability, choose a rubber-polyurethane mix. Generally rigger boots are not the best choice for long distancewalking.

If you are not doing a lot of long distance walking a heavier boot with a rubber sole may be fine. Hot tarmac can also wreak havoc on some sole polyurethane units.

If sole durability is what you want, and you're on a compact site, a rubber sole is preferable, a Nitrile one if possible. The Caterpillar, ARCO Trojan Welted or ARCO Rigger provide rubber soles. None of these is waterproofed, but they are all to 300degreesC sole resistance.

Sizewise, only two of the brands we looked at go down to sizes less than six - the Trojan Ladies or the Chukka, neither of which offer total waterproofing.

Finally, think of practicalities. You may buy the most expensive high- tech footwear and find that you're unable to buy the exact replacement laces should they rot. Look at brand name products withcare - don't be fooled. A cheaper alternative is sometimes just as viable. Or you may buy a cheap non-waterproof pair, promising to waterproof them, and never get round to it.

For further advice call ARCO on (01482) 222522 or visit the website at www.arco.co.uk

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