Hiking can be incredibly fun and exciting. That is, of course, unless your feet are hurting. Walking over rough terrain can be tough on your feet – especially if you don’t have the right footwear.
Shopping for hiking boots probably isn’t something that you do every day. There are so many boots on the market that it can be hard to know which ones are the right choice for your needs. Even if you find a pair that fits perfectly at the store, you will still need extra time to break them in before you hit the trail.
Try using these tips to find the perfect pair of hiking boots:
- Learn more about the types of hiking boots that are available.
You may be surprised to learn that there are a lot of different types of hiking boots on the market. Learning the difference between the styles that are available can help you choose the right pair for the type of hiking that you plan on doing.
For instance, hiking shoes are designed for relatively smooth trails. In essence, they are like athletic shoes, although they tend to have a little bit thicker soles and better traction. They are extremely lightweight, which makes them a good choice for hiking long distances.
Mountaineering boots, on the other hand, are designed for extremely rugged terrain. For example, if you are hiking on the snow or ice or if you are going on rocky trails with steep slopes, a pair of these boots would be a good choice.
If you need a good all-purpose pair of boots that can handle many different types of terrain, backpacking boots are a good choice. They feature stiff, sturdy construction that provides protection and support for your feet no matter what type of terrain you are crossing.
- Learn about the materials hiking boots are made from.
The materials that go into making hiking boots are almost as important as the boots themselves. Even a high-quality pair of hiking boots can be uncomfortable if they are made from the wrong type of fabric.
Synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon are lightweight and tend to dry out quickly if they get wet. However, they don’t do a good job of resisting moisture and are best for hiking in dry conditions.
When it comes to leather, there are a couple of different types. Split-grain leather is a combination of leather and synthetic materials. It allows your feet to breathe and tends to be comfortable to wear. However, it is less capable of repelling water than regular leather. It also tends to break down more quickly than full-grain leather.
When you start looking at high-end hiking boots or mountaineering boots, most of them will be made from full-grain leather. This is largely due to its durability. There are a couple of downsides to this type of leather, however. For one thing, it is quite heavy. It also doesn’t allow your feet to breathe quite as much as synthetic materials.
- Consider the cut of the boot.
The cut of the boot refers to how high up your leg it goes. If you choose boots that are cut at the wrong height, it could pose problems while you are hiking.
Low-cut boots or hiking shoes are generally cut below the ankle, much like a typical pair of athletic shoes. Although these boots and shoes are lightweight, they don’t provide protection for your ankles. Because of that, they are best suited to relatively smooth hiking surfaces without a lot of obstacles.
Mid-cut boots come up over the ankle, providing a bit of protection from branches or debris. They also offer a bit of additional support.
High-cut boots, on the other hand, are the tallest option, coming up well over the ankle. Their height provides the ultimate protection for your ankles. They also provide a lot of support, making them good for rough terrain.
- Choose the right size.
The fit of the boots has to be perfect if you want them to be comfortable when you hike. Be sure to try on the boots before you buy them. That way, you can tell whether or not they fit.
Avoid buying boots that are too snug through the toe box. Feet have a tendency to swell when you do a lot of hiking. Additionally, you need to have room to stretch out your toes when you are walking to stabilize your body. At the same time, however, the boots can’t be too big. Otherwise, they will slip on your heel and cause blisters.
When you are trying on hiking boots, make sure to wear socks that are similar to the ones that you plan on wearing when you are out on the trail. If you are planning on insoles like those for hiking at Orthotic Shop, then wear them too. Most hiking socks are rather thick. That means that you may need to go up a half a size to accommodate the thickness of the socks.
- Try them out ahead of time.
Before you head out on the trail, spend some time breaking your boots in and testing them out. Wear them around your house as much as possible to see how comfortable they really are. Sometimes, boots that fit perfectly at the store can become uncomfortable after you wear them around for a little while. If necessary, take them back and exchange them for another pair before you go on an actual hike.