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5 Tips for Choosing Hiking Boots

5 Tips for Choosing Hiking Boots

5 Tips for Choosing Hiking Boots

Trudging through the woods on a rigorous hike can be extremely exhilarating, but when it comes to your feet, would they feel as excited?  Experienced hikers would disagree.  During a hike, your feet do all the work and in so doing, choosing the right boot becomes a critical decision.  From size to style, there are dozens of boots to choose from and what may feel great in the store may require some breaking in prior to your next hiking trip.  So what goes into choosing hiking boots?

Here are 5 Tips for Choosing Hiking Boots:
  1. Be a Style Sleuth:

There is a hiking boot made for every type of trek.  Ask yourself:  Are you a casual hiker, or do you spend more time hiking through the mountains? Knowing the difference is critical in determining which hiking boot will best suit your needs and how comfortable your trek will be.  Light Hiking Shoes: By industry standards, these hiking boots are better known as “shoes” because they are slightly more rugged than a running shoe. These boots are perfect for a day hike, although you may see long-distance backpackers wearing this style of shoe due to their ultra-light fit and comfort. Mountaineering Boots: If you’re contemplating traversing through rugged territory, mountaineering boots will become your best friend!  These built-to-last boots can handle a heavy load, and can withstand almost any terrain no matter how rugged. Backpacking Boots: These boots are much like a cross trainer running shoe. They are designed for a variety of terrains, both on and off trail. If you are heading out for a multi-day trek, these boots are the perfect choice! Their stiff sole and durability matched with the comfort of padding in all the right spots, will help you conquer almost any condition with comfort.
  1. Material Matters:

5 Tips for Choosing Hiking BootsHiking boots are only as good as the materials they are made of!  The wrong choice of fabric can make your feet feel hot, uncomfortable and cramped.  As such, finding the right material is critical to experiencing ultimate comfort. Synthetics: The materials in this category are often made from a combination of nylon and polyester. Keep in mind that a boot made from synthetics is much less water resistant.  However, they are easy to break in, feel much lighter, and dry much faster. Split-grain Leather: These boots are made with one half leather and the other half synthetics, making this boot extremely breathable. However, split-grain leather is not as water-resistant as full-grain leather. Durability is also on the lower end of the scale. Full-grain Leather: Most mountaineering boots are made with full-grain leather. Although this boot is less breathable and much heavier to wear, hikers agree that leather is the most durable material and perfect for rigorous hikes on unsteady terrain.
  1. Making the Cut:

5 Tips for Choosing Hiking BootsLike sneakers, hiking boots are manufactured in all different shapes and cuts and should be tailored to the type of trekking activity. Choosing the wrong cut could result in a rolled ankle or with rocks spilling into your shoes. When it comes to cuts, there are three things to consider: Low-cut: This cut is almost identical to a running shoe. While they are perfect for lightweight, casual hiking, this cut can leave you vulnerable to ankle injuries. Boots in this category should be worn on well-maintained trails. Mid-cut: This style of boot offers better ankle support and balance, as well, it has a buffer that prevents debris from entering the boot while hiking. High-cut:  If you are an adventurous hiker who loves to go off trail and traverse potentially dangerous terrain, then this boot is for you!  This high-cut boot offers optimal balance with maximum ankle support.
  1. Try Before You Buy:

When shopping for a boot, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the bells and whistles of a product and mistakenly overlook the fit.  As you try on each boot, make sure to give them the “size test” to ensure you are getting the best fit. Due to natural swelling and the need to stabilise your stance with your toes, there should be plenty of wiggle room in the toe box portion of the boot. The boot should also fit snug around the ball of your foot to help keep your heels in place. A floating heel should be avoided at all costs because this is the main cause of blisters. You should always try on the hiking boots while wearing your trail socks to get an accurate feel for comfort and fit. Before leaving the store, don’t forget to ask about socks, lacing techniques and insoles. All of these will contribute to the overall fit and comfort of your next new pair of hiking boots.
  1. Buyer Beware!

Finally in our 5 Tips for Choosing Hiking Boots, never take your shoes out of the box and head directly to the trail. After your purchase, make sure to wear your boots around the house to ensure proper fit and comfort. If they don’t feel right, return them immediately and ask the in-store hiking expert more questions.  Most stores have specific conditions for returns, so make sure you are aware of the return policy so that you can swap your boots hassle-free. You are now ready for your next hike! Check out Guided Hiking & Trekking tours on BigAdventureMap

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