It takes time to find the perfect pair, but it is worth it on the long hikes.
Your Step-By-Step Guide to Buying the Perfect Hiking Boots
Hiking and backpacking are wonderful outdoor activities that allow you to connect with nature, get some exercise, and explore the world around you. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just starting out, one of the most crucial pieces of gear you'll need is a good pair of hiking boots. Choosing the right hiking boots can make a world of difference in your comfort and safety on the trail. In this guide, we'll walk you through the key factors to consider when buying hiking boots, including sizing, sock choice, waterproof options, and price considerations.
Getting the right size for your hiking boots is paramount. Ill-fitting boots can lead to discomfort, blisters, and even injuries. Here's how to find the perfect fit:
Measure Your Feet: Start by measuring your feet, as foot size can change over time. Use a Brannock device at a shoe store or follow an online measurement guide to get an accurate measurement.
Consider Toe Space: Your hiking boots should have enough room for your toes to wiggle without being too loose. Aim for a thumb's width of space between your longest toe and the front of the boot.
Try Them On: Always try on hiking boots before purchasing. Wear the socks you plan to use while hiking and walk around the store to test comfort and fit.
Pay Attention to Width: Different boots come in different widths, so make sure you choose a width that matches your foot shape. Some brands even offer models in various width options. Some brands run wide to begin with, so talk to your salesperson about foot shape.
The Right Sock Choice
The choice of socks can greatly impact your hiking experience. Selecting the appropriate socks will enhance comfort, moisture management, and reduce the risk of blisters:
Material: Opt for moisture-wicking, breathable socks made from synthetic fibers or merino wool. These materials help keep your feet dry and comfortable. Cotton is not your friend in outdoor apparel.
Thickness: Choose sock thickness based on the season and terrain. Thicker socks provide more cushioning and insulation in cold conditions, while thinner socks are suitable for warm weather. Buy your boot according to season and then your socks to match with the fit of your boot
Fit: Ensure your socks fit snugly without wrinkles or folds, as these can cause friction and blisters. Look for seamless sock options to reduce rubbing.
We carry both Smartwool and Darn Tough.
Waterproof or Not?
The decision to go for waterproof hiking boots depends on the type of hiking you plan to do and the climate of your region:
Waterproof Boots: These boots are ideal for wet and muddy trails, stream crossings, or hiking in rainy conditions. They prevent moisture from entering the boot, keeping your feet dry. Conversely, they will keep all the moisture in your boot as well. A wicking sock is very important with waterproof boots.
Non-Waterproof Boots: Non-waterproof boots are often more breathable and better for warm, dry conditions. They are also lighter than waterproof counterparts, making them suitable for shorter hikes or backpacking trips in dry areas.
Hiking boots come in a wide range of prices, so it's essential to find a pair that suits both your budget and hiking needs:
Budget-Friendly Options: Entry-level hiking boots are more affordable and suitable for casual hikers or those on a tight budget. They may have basic features but can still provide comfort and durability.
Mid-Range Boots: Mid-range boots offer a good balance of quality and affordability. They are a popular choice for regular hikers and often feature advanced technologies for comfort and support.
Premium Boots: High-end hiking boots are designed for serious hikers and backpackers. They come with top-notch materials, advanced support systems, and are built to withstand rugged terrain.
Investing in a pair of hiking boots is an investment in your outdoor adventures. By carefully considering sizing, sock choice, waterproof options, and price considerations, you can ensure that your hiking boots will provide the comfort and performance you need on the trail. Remember that the perfect hiking boot for you may not be the same as someone else's, so take the time to find the one that fits your unique needs and preferences. Happy hiking!