Top tips to Buying Hiking Boots or Shoes

No questions, choosing the right hiking boots will make for happy hiking, trekking, backpacking. Wearing ill-fitted boots will make your grit your teeth step by step, ruining your hiking adventures. 

In this article, we’ll explain the things to consider when fitting footwear to ensure you get a shoe that not only suits your needs but most importantly fits your foot. Our top tips for buying hiking boots will help you make an informed decision.

Choose the type of boot

Low-cut shoes: Fine for lightweight travel, though they provide less roll-resistance for ankles and leave feet more vulnerable to debris invasion from scree, grit, sand, or mud. A good choice for lighter loads on maintained trails.

Mid-cut boots: These wrap around your ankles and offer some buffer from debris. They’re a smart pick for shorter multi-day trips with moderate loads.

High-cut boots: High-cuts enhance balance and ankle support on irregular trails or terrain. If you routinely carry heavier loads (40+ pounds) or hike off-trail, they make sense. Take the time to break them in thoroughly before a long-distance trip.

Top tips to buying hiking boots

Fit of boot

The best time to try on shoes is at the end of the day, or after a long walk. Your feet are usually a little larger at the end of the day than first thing in the morning

Hiking boots should feel snug in all areas of the boot, no allow no room for rubbing. A floating heel is the main cause of blisters, which you want to avoid.

If you have previously worn a brand that has been a comfortable fit, probably best to stick with that brand. Most boot companies tend to use a consistent foot model over time, so the fit is likely to be similar. 

It’s also essential you try on any potential hiking footwear with the socks you intend to wear them with. A hiking sock that’s too thin or too thick can make a big difference to the overall fit.

If you are in a store, take your time and try on a few pairs of boots. Narrow selection to two pairs.

Top tips to buying hiking boots

If you are in the store, take your time to stroll through the store. Walk up and downstairs. Find an inclined surface and walk on it.

When you push your toes to the front of the boot, you should be able to slide two fingers down either side of the Achilles tendon. While walking, your heel should not lift. If they do, check the lacing. The boot might not the be right fit. 

If your toes feel squished or cramped, probably not the right fit. 

Facing down-hill on the ramp you don’t want your toes touching the front of the shoe, nor do you want to be sliding forward too much.

Taking them home

Once you have made your choice, take them home and wear them around the house. Take them for walks around the park. If they still feel comfortable and no blisters then they should be okay to wear hiking. If not, take them back to the store and try another pair. 

We suggest wearing merino socks as the best protection and comfort. Synthetic or cotton socks are less comfortable, retain moisture that leads to blisters. 

Top tips to buying hiking boots

Final thoughts

Getting the right boot fit is important, will make or break your hiking trip.  We hope our top tips for buying hiking boots will help you make the right decision.

Before you go hiking clip those toenails, keeping them trim. Just in case the boots do start rubbing your feet pack some bandaids which can be applied during hiking. Petroleum jelly can also be used by applying a thin layer on toes to prevent blisters. 

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