‘These boots,’ the philosopher Nancy Sinatra once sang, ‘are made for walkin’.’ Far be it from me to quibble with Nancy (especially given her late father’s connections), but yes, that’s how single use items usually work. It’s a bit like saying these crisps are made for eating, or this office fridge is made for circumventing Covid regulations.

Anyway, with thanks to the kind reader who alerted me to the fact, this week is apparently National Feet Week. Normally, I’m sceptical of the validity of such ‘celebrations’ – given the number of podiatry sponsors National Feet Week is probably about as authentic as the Ploughman’s Lunch, which older readers may remember was invented by the pub industry in the 1970s to drum up lunchtime trade. But look, a columnist in need of 450 words by lunchtime is not about to check out a gift horse’s dentures.

No boots are made for walking more than a pair of walking boots, and last week I bought myself a new pair. My previous pair had done good service, before giving up the ghost after twenty years (I was pleased with this thriftiness until my father pointed out he’d had his pair for forty years with one of those ‘If only you’d looked after them properly’ sighs).

When I bought the boots, the shop assistant offered me a boy scout discount. I almost asked her how many boy scouts were 6ft 4 and size 12, but then thought better of pushing it (see gift horses, paragraph two). So for a brief moment I felt younger than my years. But on leaving the shop, I found myself lurching in the opposite direction: given I’m going to be fifty this year, might this be the last pair of walking boots I ever buy? (‘Not the way you look after them’, I can hear Dad chipping in).

In unwitting honour of National Feet Week, I took the boots for their inaugural walk on Sunday – a bracing, beautiful walk along the salt marshes and sea wall at Lymington, if you want a recommendation. It was one of those blow away the cobweb walks that make you feel better about life. And when there’s a lot going on in the world, as there is at the moment, getting away from it all for a few hours is good for the soul.

Walking is good for you in all sorts of ways. There’s a fascinating book on the subject, In Praise of Walking by Shane O’Mara, exploring the science behind how putting one foot in front of the other is good not just for physical health, but mental wellbeing and creativity as well. For such a simple activity, that’s quite a feat.