Are these hiking boots for you?
When you go shopping for hiking boots, you may get a bit confused as all boots look the same and they all promise to be “the best”.
Don’t get scared, as there are several things you can look for when hunting for the good pair of hiking boots.
Hiking boots are built to be long lasting, sturdy and comfortable. But there’s more to it than that…
Going to the bottom of this
A good pair of hiking boots is “solid” on the bottom. You’re not supposed to feel any rocks, any small stones through the soles. If you feel them right from the beginning, it means that, after some miles of hiking, your feet will hurt for sure. If you are able to press in the bottom of the sole, then it’s likely that the soles are too soft, failing to protect your feet. The sole is also too soft if you are able to twist it. Your hiking trails are not going to be nice and soft, but rocky and challenging so you don’t want bruised feet after just a few miles of hiking.
On the other side…
There is good protection on the sides in the case of the good hiking boots. A good hiking boot is not very lightweight and is heavier as it’s padded to protect your feet from rocks, stones, branches. All of these nature’s risks could go through the side of the boots and injure you. A fabric boot would have a protective “welt”, ½ inch-or more up from the soles to provide a better protection of your foot.
…let’s not forget all the support
Any good hiking boot should provide good ankle support. As you grab the top of the boot and try to bend it over side-ways, get the info you need. If the boot bends easily, then it’s very likely you won’t get the right protection on your trails. Always go for the stiff top of the boot as it’s able to hold the ankle in place, supporting it throughout the most challenging hiking.
You should be able to go hiking no matter what the weather conditions. This means the hiking boots should be waterproof or at least provide some kind of protection against water. Stay away from fabrics that are not waterproof. You may also use liquid silicone to treat the non-waterproof fabric boots, but this is not enough. Once you get wet feet, it’s more than likely you’ll also get blisters. Get yourself waterproof fabric boots, or leather boots that take a Sno-seal treatment, beeswax solution or other longer lasting waterproof techniques. You can always get a Gore-Tex pair of socks to put inside the boot in order to have dry feet at all time. That is if your hiking boots are not waterproof, but give you the perfect fit ever. Just make sure to care for them the right way.
The right weight…
A good pair of hiking boots is just the right weight for your trails. Go for the light boot when the trails are not very challenging or rocky. Always look for the heavy weight boots if you are going to hike heavily backpacked, on more difficult trails.
…and the right price
The more you want and expect from your hiking boots, the more you need to be willing to pay. A full-grain hiking boot is typically more expensive, but you won’t have to go shopping again any time soon.
Think how often you are going to hike; how difficult your trails will be also. It’s one thing if you go hiking every once in a while and another kind of business if hiking is your every single weekend activity.
Is there a specific brand to buy?
It’s totally wrong to ask “what boots should I get?”. The best hiking boots are the boots that fit you your feet. No matter how great, well known, popular the brand might be, if it doesn’t fit you, you shouldn’t buy it.
Don’t trust your friends on this, as all boots fit different and even your pair fits differently your feet. Some boot is built for an “European” last which means they are narrow in the front. They give a great fit for the Europeans, but don’t fit the Americans, causing them pinched toes.
No two feet are the same and the best hiking boots for you are the ones that give you the best fit.
Look for the salesman that lets you try and return the boots in case of miss fitting. There are, of course, sizing information but they only give a little help when it comes to fitting. You still need to try the boot on and take a few steps to feel the boot.
When you’re in shops, there are several tests you may run in order have the best idea on how the boots fit.
It’s a bit more difficult when you’re shopping online. It’s wise to read the reviews, to check the size guide, to do some search before settling for a pair. And, check the refund policy as last thing you want is get stuck with a pair of hiking boots that don’t fit you.