Hiking Boots Buying Guide
What is a Hiking Boot?
A hiking boot is a boot that has been specially designed to wear while you are hiking trails, mountains, and other rough terrain. They come in all different colors and styles. If you don’t know what to look for, you can have a hard time choosing the right pair of boots for your needs.
There are a few considerations that you need to keep in mind when you are looking for the perfect pair of hiking boots. We’ve outlined these considerations below so you know what to look for and think about before you purchase a pair.
Considerations before Your Purchase a Hiking Boot
Ask yourself the following questions before you begin your search for the perfect pair of hiking boots. The answers to these questions below helps you narrow down the search and find the pair of hiking boots that will ensure the best hiking experience you can get.
- Where will I be hiking? – Trails? Mountains? Back Roads? Off-trail areas? What kinds of hiking will you be doing? The answer to this will help you choose the pair of hiking boots that will make your hikes enjoyable, safe and comfortable too.
- What is the terrain like where I plan to hike? – rocky, rough terrain can be a challenge even with a good quality pair of hiking boots, if you have s less than quality pair you could end up regretting your whole hiking trip. If you will do a lot of climbing and rocky terrain during your hikes, you will need to ensure that you choose a high quality pair of hiking boots.
- Will I be hiking off-trail? – If you only plan on hiking on trails, you will be able to get away with a less rugged type of hiking boot. If you plan on doing a lot of off-trail hiking you want to ensure that you have a pair of hiking boots that have exceptional traction, comfort, and padded ankles and padded insides too.
- How much does my backpack weigh? – Even though you may think that the weight of your backpack only affects your back and shoulders, your feet are the ones doing the carrying. You don’t want to add a ton of weight to your feet by carrying a heavy pack along with heavy hiking boots.
- How much ankle support do I need for comfort and safety? – Twisting an ankle while hiking is a common problem. Having plenty of ankle support can minimize this risk and help you avoid painfully twisted ankles that can make getting back to your starting point very difficult and painful.
- Will I be hiking in the winter and in bad weather? – If you want to hike no matter what the weather is, you will need to ensure that the hiking boots you choose are truly waterproof. Most waterproof boots have a breathable liner so your feet don’t become sweaty and uncomfortable.
- How sensitive are your feet? – The more sensitive your feet are the stiffer the sole needs to be to protect them from the rough terrain you will be hiking. If you’re backpacking, this becomes even more important because your feet will need the extra protection due to the extra weight they are carrying from your pack, food and other gear.
Hiking Boot Features
There are certain features you want to look for when you begin your search for the perfect pair of hiking boots. We have outlined the following features that are very common in a good quality pair of hiking boots.
- Lightweight – Backpacking and hiking can be tough on your feet so you don’t want to add to the weight they are already carrying by adding a heavy pair of boots to the mix. For every pound your boots weigh, you have added the equivalent of 5 or 6 pounds to your back. So a heavy pair of hiking boots will make the trip much tougher on your body. Purchase the lightest boots you can find that have the other features you are looking for. You won’t regret having those light boots on your feet when you are scaling rough terrain.
- Make sure they have room – Purchase the right size boot so your feet will not be pinched even when they swell after a long day of hiking. You don’t want to choose a size too big so your feet aren’t sliding around inside the boot which can cause other problems. The right fit is probably one of the most important factors of purchasing your boots.
- Offers plenty of support and comfort – Great support is important but if the boot is not comfortable, all the support in the world is not going to matter. The heavier loads you’ll be carrying such as your backpack, the better support you need. Don’t rely on aftermarket arch supports to make up the difference in what the boots may lack in comfort or support. Buy the best boots you csn for the budget you have to work with.
- Provides great traction – Traction is extremely important while you are hiking. If you don’t have any traction or grip, not only will hiking be difficult, it could result in falling or twisting your ankle if your foot slips. The softer the rubber is on the sole of the hiking boots you are considering, the better traction you will have.
- Breathability – Sweaty uncomfortable feet do not feel good when you are hiking. It can also lead to athlete’s foot, blisters and other problems. You want to have a boot that lets the moisture your feet produce by being encased in the boot. Mesh uppers are great choices for when you are hiking in hot conditions. If you’re hiking in the winter, mesh may be too cold so look for breathability while not compromising warmth.
How much Support is Enough?
Factors that determine the amount of support you need include how many miles you will be hiking, how smooth or rough the terrain is, and how much weight you plan on carrying. You will benefit from a shoe with a lot of support and torsional stability, especially if your hiking adventures take you out into rough, rocky terrain for hours and days. A stiffer shoe will also reduce foot fatigue. Over all, remember that the more weight you are carrying the mire support you need.
While you do want to get the lightest shoe you can, what you don’t want to give up is support and comfort. Sometimes a super lightweight hiking boot will not have the support or durability you are looking for. Choose the lightest boot you can find without sacrificing strength, durability and support and you will love hiking in them.
Ensuring the Right Fit
When choosing a size for your hiking boots you want to be certain to choose the size that will allow for swelling all feet do as the day progresses especially when you’re on your feet a lot, and not be SO big that your foot is slipping around everywhere inside the boot.
You also have to look at the fact that normally hiking socks are thicker than regular socks. If you are struggling to decide between two sizes, choose the size that is a little bigger. It will allow for thick socks and swelling too.
Other ways to adjust the fit is to pay attention to the eyelets that your hiking boots have. Depending on where the eyelets are located, it gives you the opportunity to try different lacing techniques. Another thing you can do is to replace the stock insole your shoe has with a higher quality insole that is designed to provide support and comfort. It can also make your boot fit better.
Choosing the right hiking boot will make or break your hiking experience. By implementing all the tips that we have provided for you on what to look for and how to choose the right hiking boot for your needs, you will give yourself the best hiking experience possible. Whether it’s boots or shoes, anyone that has walked in painfully fitting shoes knows how much that can ruin whatever it is you are doing.
The information in this guide is designed to help you sort through all of the available choices so choosing the perfect pair of boots for you isn’t such a daunting task. Having the confidence in your decision will ensure that you make a good choice that will fit the needs and preferences you have. Choosing the right pair of hiking boots will make the most of your hiking experiences.
- Timberland – https://www.timberland.com/
- KEEN – http://www.keenfootwear.com/
- Merrell – http://www.merrell.com/US/en/home