Four tips to find your perfect hiking boots
If you’ve been thinking about buying hiking boots, you’ve probably wandered how to choose the hiking boots that are best for you. After all, on the trail you’ll encounter rocks, roots, mud, mountains, streams (you know, the great outdoors), but those elements aren’t readily available when trying on boots in the store. However, there are 4 things you can do to help re-create trail conditions and choose the hiking boots that are best for you.
Wear the socks you’ll be hiking in
When trying on hiking boots, be sure to wear your hiking socks. The sock you wear plays an important role in how your footwear feels. You can test this at home: grab any shoe and on one foot, put on a dress-sock and on the other put a thick hiking sock and walk around. Notice how the shoe fits and feels differently on your foot? This is because your socks play a big part in how shoes and hiking boots fit your feet. By wearing the socks you’ll be hiking in, you’ll be able to figure out how different boots fit and feel when you are on the trail, which is probably the most important thing to consider when you are choosing your hiking boots.
Likewise, if you wear orthotics or other insoles, you’ll want to wear them when trying on your boots.
Walk up and down hills
Blisters on your feet are typically caused when your foot slips repeatedly in the same spot – causing friction and pressure against your skin. Your foot will slip the most when you are going up and down hills when hiking – so mimic this the best you can when trying on hiking boots. Many places that sell boots will have a fake hill, about 3 or 4 steps tall, that you can use to test the boots. Make sure that you go uphill and downhill a few times each to see if your foot slips in the boot. If your foot slips too much, move on to the next pair of hiking boots.
Wear your backpack
Hiking boots respond in different ways when weight is added to them and the boot’s rigidity and support are designed according to their use. “Light” hiking boots are typically made for less-rugged terrain while “heavy” boots are designed for carrying heavy loads (i.e. carrying a backpack). Think about what kind of hiking you are going to be doing and buy the appropriate boots. Then take a backpack that’s loaded with the weight you’ll generally be carrying and put it on and walk around while wearing the boots (make sure to walk up and down hills, too). Ensure that the boot you buy gives you the stability and support you’re looking for when hiking.
Shop at the end of the day
When we are outside and being physically active, our feet swell up. This means that you’ll need a little extra space in your hiking boot to accommodate this swelling. The best way to mimic the foot-swell that will occur is to try hiking boots on at the end of the day, after you’ve been up and moving for many hours.
Follow these four tips, and you’ll be able to choose the hiking boots that are best for you.