The sun in your face, a cool breeze and the crunch of rocks beneath your feet at 2,000ft above sea level; this is the epitome of hiking! Many people enjoy hiking at various trails around the world. While their experiences differ widely, one element unites them; proper hiking boots. Here’s how to buy the perfect hiking boots for that hiking trail you’ve got your sights on!
- Pick a style
There are different styles of hiking boots. Each style fits in a particular terrain and specific weather conditions.
Light hiking boots are simply ruggedized running shoes. They have a low ankle and a perforated upper. They have a good grip and are designed for easy trails.
Backpacking boots are waterproof, have a high ankle and use hardened rubber soles. They are made of split-grain leather enhanced with Gore Tex. This style is ideal for easy and intermediate hiking trails.
Mountaineering boots are designed to traverse sharp rocky terrain. They have a very high ankle brace and are made of full-grain leather. These boots have cushioned inner layers, Gore Tex insulation and pins for snowshoes. Furthermore, they have steel toe caps. These waterproof boots are designed for mountain climbing.
Pick the most applicable style of boots for the hike you intend to engage in.
2. Utilize the right material
Material is of paramount importance when picking some hiking boots. The right one keeps your feet cool and comfortable. Hiking boots are made of the following materials; synthetic fabric, split-grain leather and full-grain leather.
Synthetic fabrics include polyester and nylon. They are used to manufacture light hiking boots. Synthetics are easy to break in and dry quickly. However, they are not waterproof.
Backpacking boots are made using split-grain leather. It is breathable and flexible. On the downside, it is not waterproof. Full-grain leather is a top-level material for hiking boots because it is waterproof and durable too!
Whether you are scaling your local mountain or traversing the Savannah, pick the right material for a great hike.
3. Choose the right cut
The ankle height of a pair of boots is known as its cut. Some boots have a high cut, others have a mid-cut one while the rest have a low cut.
Low cut hiking boots are like rugged sneakers. They are best used on well-maintained hiking trails. They offer no ankle protection and are prone to debris entering their interior part.
Mid-cut boots have a slight elevation around the ankle area. They provide some support for your ankle during steep inclines on your hiking trail. In addition to that, mid-cut hiking boots also provide buffering against debris.
High cut hiking boots have maximum protection for your ankle. They have a steel brace and waterproof upper. They are best used for challenging hiking trails with dangerous terrain.
Pick the cut that fits your needs. Make sure it is comfortable and fits well for maximum service delivery.
4. Try the boots on
With hiking boots, the proof is in the pudding! After choosing the material, cut and style, fit is the next element to consider. Try the boots on, tie the laces firmly and stand on level ground.
How do the boots feel? Is there enough room in the toe box for you to wiggle your toes? There should be. Take a short walk in the boots. Does your heel float above the base as you stride? It shouldn’t. If the boots meet this criterion, they are a perfect fit for you.
5. Take them for a spin
In the world of hiking, there’s a rule that boots should never leave the box and head straight to the trail. You have to take them on a test run to find out how they feel.
Wear them around the house or out and about on errands. This should help you to break them in enough for your upcoming hike. It also gives you a chance to find out how well the boots fit your needs. If you encounter some challenges, you can go to the store and ask questions about them. Furthermore, you may even swap them for a different pair.
We always encourage a thorough test run for your hiking boots!
For hikers, it’s all about conquering the trail! The only way to do this is by wearing the right boots. We’ve covered the selection process for you. By following our tips, you can purchase the perfect boots for your impending hike!