Hiking Boot Tips

Hiking Boot Tips

 

 

 

 

Hiking Boots is always one of the most important gear all outdoor lovers or climbers must invest. They are so important for so many reason especially to keep your feet comfortable and free from blister and foot-injury.  It is also very important that your boots fit. The following suggestions are good things to keep in mind when buying a pair of boots.

 

TYPES OF HIKING BOOTS

There is a wide range of footwear for hiking, ranging from going barefoot to mountaineering boots. There are 2 types of hiking boots on the market, leather boots and lightweight hiking boots. Leather boots tend to be more durable and last longer, and can be waterproofed. They are expensive. Lightweight boots tend to be more breathable, more comfortable, cheaper, and require a shorter break-in time. However they are not as durable as leather boots and they are not waterproof. Your boots should have good ankle support.

The type of boot you require all depends on the type of hiking you are going to do, how much support you want, and how much you can pay – paying more does not necessarily mean getting a better boot. You may be better off with a less expensive, lighter boot for your hiking style.

 

 

 

Hiking Sandal

Hiking Sandal – You can safely hike in sandals with sturdy tread and strong straps. A toe guard is a good safety feature to minimize toe stubbing – ouch! Sandals are very light so your legs work less to lift and step, but they have virtually no support for your ankle or foot. They are dry and comfortable for hiking on groomed trails with a light day pack, but not practical for any off-trail hiking or extended treks. It is a good idea to have a pair along on treks to use as a camp shoe and for water crossings. Always get a sandal with moulded arch supports, sewn rather than glued straps, comfortable footpad, and tough sole. 

 

Hiking Shoe

Lightweight Hiking Shoe – Shoes provide comfort and easy hiking by using light materials such as nylon and suede enforced with some leather. They are very flexible and require minimum break-in time. You could probably buy a pair and start hiking in them the next day, after just wearing them around for a day. There is a huge range in price and quality available. 

Real hiking shoes have good support for your arches and feet. They should also be designed to keep dirt and pebbles from getting in around the ankle and will preferably have some waterproofing. Their lower ankle cut lessens the support of ankles and provides no protection around the ankle area from brush and other scratches. I prefer to have a more sturdy feeling around my ankles when hiking, but these are fine for groomed trails.

 

Trail Running Shoe

The sport of Trail Running is pretty popular and there are specific shoes for trail running that tend to be quite a bit more expensive. They include extra padding, a bit more support, and tougher soles. They cost more, but can be used for normal hiking too.

 

Hiking Boot Mid-Weight

This is the boot that most hikers and backpackers will use. They are appropriate for on-trail and off-trail terrain that is not extremely rugged. Typically, mid-weight boots are made of leather or synthetic material with leather enforcement sections like the one pictured. You should expect to spend a week of walking to break in your boots; some require less time, depending on their stiffness. If you are not used to above ankle boots, you’ll need to spend extra time getting comfortable to the feel.

No matter what trails you plan to hike, a mid-weight boot will be a good choice. If you decide to go on extended treks, their extra foot stiffness and ankle support will help out. They also work fine on shorter hikes and give you the option to tackle more difficult routes if you want. 

Mid-weight hiking boots should be waterproof, probably with a lining of Gore-Tex. If you get an all-leather pair, you may treat it with waterproofing spray or paste. The extra boot weight means you will be working harder with these boots, but the extra safety and support are your rewards.

 

Heavy Hiking Boot

If your lofty plans include boulder hopping and off-trail blazing, then a heavier boot may be in order. These boots bridge the gap between trail hiking and mountaineering and some have features of mountaineering boots, such as crampon lips. Heavy hiking boots offer maximum support against twists and foot injuries, plus being water resistant and breathable through the use of Gore-Tex liners. For general hiking, they are overkill, but for treks over rough trails with lots of elevation change, they may be a good choice. 

The construction of heavy off-trail boots makes them more sturdy, but also more expensive and not so comfortable. You will need to spend a good amount of time breaking in your new boots and getting your feet used to hiking/climbing in them. They weigh more so you will be working harder for each step you take.

 

 

 

 

Mountaineer Hiking Boot

Don’t even think about getting a pair of these for hiking. Mountaineering boots are intended for climbing mountains and are closer to ski boots than hiking boots. They offer extreme support for feet and ankles with attachment points for crampons for hiking on ice. Usually made with a hard outer shell, inflexible sole, and extra insulation, these boots would kill you on a day-hike. Using these boots, each step is deliberate and calculated – you climb up the mountain, you climb down the mountain. 

 

 

Mount Denali , Alaska

 

 

SIZING YOUR BOOTS AT THE STORE

Your feet swell as they warm up. Therefore, it is very important that your feet be warmed up when you try your boots on. A good idea is to park far away from the store. Walk a half mile to the store in the afternoon when it’s warm. That way your foot will be more the size it will be when you are actually hiking.
The best way to prevent blisters and an uncomfortable foot while hiking is to protect your foot by wearing two pairs of hiking socks. When you go to try on your boots, bring two pairs of hiking socks with you. Two pairs of socks will not only give you good padding, but will also wick the moisture away from your foot as well.
When you are guessing your foot size, go up two sizes. When you put the shoe on, you should also be able to put a finger between your foot and the heel of the boot.
Once you have the shoe on, lace the boot up. Don’t lace it too tightly, but just snugly. Walk around the store and see how they feel. In particular, make sure that your heel can slide around slightly. The boot should be comfortable but stiff.
Your toes should not hit the front of the boot too much. To simulate walking down a hill bang the toe of the boot on the ground or against a wall. Your toe shouldn’t hit the front of the boot too easily. If it does, either your boot is too small or your laces aren’t snug enough. Your boots should feel a little big.

BOOT CARE

Remember that it takes awhile for boots to be broken in, in particular full grain leather boots. Some companies say that about 200 miles is the break-in time for leather boots! Wear your boots around the house and in the yard before you go on a long hike. Many people also wear different sock combinations when hiking. Try different thicknesses, but always use at least two pairs of socks. For example; a liner and midweight, two pairs of midweight, liner and heavy weight, etc… Go with what feels best.
Clean your boots after a hike. The grit in boots can abrade the leather.
Waterproof your boots often. This will not only help keep them waterproof but it also makes you clean your boots every once in a while.
Buy a boot that has very few seams. The more stitching in a boot, the more places there are for water to leak in.