Fitting a Boot
Always bring the type of socks you plan to wear while hiking to the store with you. If you wear thinner / thicker socks to the store than you normally would when hiking, it will be difficult to determine if the boot
Time of Day
– Keep in mind that feet tend to expand/swell throughout the day (due to walking on them).
– If you cannot wiggle your toes, the boots
are way too tight. A roomy toe box will really pay off on steep down hills. A tight toe box will result in blisters on the top of your toes and the outside of your feet. If possible, walk down a steep ramp in the store (or outside) to determine if the toe box is too small.
– You want limited movement in your heel. This is where the support and control of your boot
In the store
- Have you ever noticed that every store's shoe / boot
section is carpeted? This is because it makes the shoes feel softer. Go find some concrete.
Features MaterialsFull-Grain Leather
– Water-resistant, high durability and more stiff (which provides support, but less flexibility).
– Lightweight, soft, low-cost material. Limited water-resistance.
- Primarily used for mountaineering and ice climbing.
– (i.e. Gore-Tex, Breathable Fabric) Enhances the water-resistance of a boot
while maintaining the breathable characteristics of the boot.
Just because a boot
is made of waterproof materials does not mean that you can stand in a lake all day. Boots
that are made of waterproof materials may leak at the seams and the connected areas between the boot
and the sole. Select boots
with a minimal number of seams. Stitched soles tend to be more durable than cemented soles. If your boot
has a Gore-Tex liner, that liner was tested individually in an aquarium for waterproofness.
with removable inserts will permit you to dry your boot
faster by removing the insert and then pulling the tongue of the boot
forward to allow the maximum amount of air to circulate through your boots.
Never use waterproof sprays or waxes on boots
made of breathable fabrics. The boots
are already water resistant and waxes will prevent the boots
Select a lugged sole made of high friction rubber (hard synthetics
are normally a bad option).
Speed-hooks permit you to quickly tie and untie your boots. Select a boot
that uses them.
Load Carrying Capability
A stiffer midsole and insole provides the support needed to carry a heavier load. A full-grain leather boot
is stiffer, adding support for a heavier load. Softer boots, trail runners
or running shoes will be more flexible for light, fast trips.
Women’s versus Men’s Boots
traditionally have a narrower last and higher instep. Do not become obsessed with the concept of what sex your boots
are attributed to. Buy a boot
your feet, not the sex, name or color of the shoe.
– brush off mud and dirt after use. You may ruin your boots
if you leave them dirty for an extended period of time.
– placing newspaper inside drenched boots
will help to expedite the drying process. Do not use heat (fireplace, heater, etc) because you may melt or damage the boot.
Storing Boots in your Tent
Do not place your boots
directly in your tent
because you will track mud into your tent, sleeping bag
etc. Many hikers leave their boots
in their vestibule. When leaving your boots
in the vestibule, your boots
are likely to be dry in the morning, but they are also likely to be full of bugs.
One alternative is to invert your sleeping bag’s bag and place your boots
in there. Close the bag and place it in your tent.
bag (inverted) works as well. Make sure you invert any bag you wish to use so that you do not place mud on your sleeping bag
when re-stuffing it.
Wet feet lose heat faster than dry feet. Wet feet allow your feet to slide around the boot
(more than dry feet) resulting in irritation and blisters.
Regardless if you have waterproof boots
or not, water can seep down your socks into the main body of the boot.
If you plan to travel
in extremely wet conditions, wear gaiters
between your waterproof boots
and waterproof pants.
Boots versus Running Shoes
If you have weak ankles, go with hiking boots. Hiking boots
provide more support and warmth than running shoes.
If you are traveling through a warm climate and in easy terrain you can consider running shoes. Running shoes with lightweight socks can reduce your chances of obtaining blisters in a hot climate (where your feet would sweat inside boots).
If you plan to travel
through a cold climate, hiking boots
are almost always elite. Running shoes will also not work as well for river crossings.
Do not wear cotton socks. A common mistake is that people will buy high end, breathable boots
and then wear non-breathable, moisture absorbing socks. This places you back where you started.
Most hiking socks are a combination of wool and synthetic
materials. High end socks come with padding, which can increase cushioning on your feet.
When trying on boots, always wear the same type of socks you plan to wear while hiking.