A Quick, Easy Guide To Choosing Your First Pair Of Hiking Boots
Choosing the right hiking boots is a meticulous process. Your ideal hiking boots need to sync with how and where you hike. Before you tie the knot and drop a large sum on your little vehicles of adventure, you also have to ensure they’re a perfect fit.
Types of Hiking Boots
Hiking shoes: Low-cut models with flexible midsoles are choice for day hiking excursions. Some ultralight backpackers may even choose trail-running shoes for long-distance journeys. Day hiking boots: These range from mid- to high-cut models and are intended for day hikes or short backpacking trips with light loads. Usually, they flex easily and require little break-in time, but they lack the support and durability of dedicated, stout backpacking boots. Backpacking boots: These are designed to help carry heavier loads on multi-day trips. Most have a high cut that wraps around the ankles for excellent support. Made from premium, durable material and supportive, with stiffer midsoles than lighter footwear, they are sufficient for on- or off-trail adventures.
Now that you've chosen the type of hiking footwear that best suits your needs, it's time to take those puppies for a test run.
How To Ensure A Proper Fit
The finger test: Slip your boot on. Leave it unlaced and try to slide your pointer finger behind your heel. Doesn't fit at all? Too tight. Too easy to slide in? Too large. Your foot and back of the boot should be putting minimal pressure on your finger.
The sensory test: Slide your bare foot into your boot of choice and carefully feel for any places where the boot may be tight. Special attention should go towards your small toes and big toe bone to see if you feel any pinching or unpleasant pressure.
The stride test: Give 'em a spin! Throw on a pair of socks you will be wearing to hike in and walk around in the boots. If you're trying on hiking or backpacking boots for size, roll your ankles to test support and structure. Next, position yourself on a slope. If you're in a shop, they should have a specialized slope tool for you to test on, but if you're at home head to the stairs or any downward slope and try to position yourself at a 45-degree angle. Rule of thumb here is that you don't want your toes squishing into the front of your boots.
Other Things To Take Into Consideration
Our feet swell as the day progresses, give your prospective boots a whirl in the late afternoon when they're at their "pudgiest."
Do the carpets match the drapes? Bad joke aside, you can't buy killer boots without pairing them with the appropriate type of sock. So many people pay top dollar for good boots, and then skimp when it comes to socks. They can make the difference between all-day comfort or misery. Expect to pay a minimum of $15-$25 per pair. Merino Wool is a highly recommended brand, and there are many good synthetic options as well. Avoid cotton at all costs - they hold moisture and create blisters.
If you wear orthotics, bring them along. They impact the fit of a boot.
Not your first pair of hiking boots? When shopping online, consider a brand you’ve worn before. Most boot companies tend to use a consistent foot model over time, so the fit is likely to be similar.
Plan your first few hikes to be short ones so you can break the boots in properly.
Join the conversation and our community on Instagram Your story is wild and it deserves to be told. Drop Us A Line and share with us why you Go Galavanting.