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Are you facing a dilemma concerning which hiking boot you should pick? I do admit that finding a suitable hiking shoe is difficult because there are many features we should consider.
Boots are the hiker’s most important gear. If you wear boots that are not suitable, it may jeopardize your whole hiking trip. For example, if you bought a set of cheap hiking boots and use It for mountaineering, you will have a pretty bad experience hiking up the mountain.
If you are choosing your hiking boots based on rumours, popular features or through a friend’s recommendations, the choice you make will not be that accurate.
In this article, I will layout several tips that I would highly encourage you to consider when picking a pair of hiking boots. If you understand these 5 tips fully, you can be sure that you are on your way to picking the right pair of hiking boots.
Choosing the best vegan hiking boots
Now, we have companies using synthetic materials to help make the boots feel lighter and more flexible. As of now, we do have a choice for choosing the best vegan hiking boots without compromising good performance. In fact, there is a range of shoes from low-cut to mountaineering shoes, which are made from synthetic materials or rubber. If you like to find out more, you can check out this article, which reviewed the best vegan hiking boots. It’s definitely one important aspect for you to consider.
Tip 1: You Need To Choose a Suitable Type Of Hiking Boot
Many years ago, hiking footwear were generally big and heavy boots. Now, we have a wide variety of hiking boots to choose from.
Hiking boots are generally classified into 3 categories:
(1) Train running shoes
Manufacturers of Trail Running shoes designed them so that you can run on dirt trails. If you are looking for a shoe that’s really lightweight, trail running shoes will be a good fit for you.
Although most of them are really light, they provide sufficient friction which allows you to move through different surfaces with ease.
(2) Hiking shoes
Hiking shoes are often low-ankle and it’s sturdier than trail running shoes which give your feet the support it needs when hiking.
(3) Day hiking boots
These are hiking boots with a mid-cut ankle, which provides better ankle support and balance. This helps to ensure that the debris along the trail doesn’t get into your shoe.
Day hiking boots will require more break-in time than low-cut boots.
(4) Backpacking boots/ Mountaineering boots
These high-cut boots are more suitable for those going off-trail and are seeking optimal balance. These boots are made to help you carry heavier loads especially when you are going on trips that last a few days.
Tip 2: You Have To Understand The Terrain You Are Hiking
You need to choose the pair of boots based on the terrains that you want to hike. Sometimes, sticking with the simplest and lightest boots can do the trick. However, there are situations where you may want to get shoes with extra features although it weighs more.
Here are some terrains that you may face:
If you are going through a trail that is well-kept, I will highly recommend boots that are low-cut. Besides looking stylish, low-cut boots allow you to move more freely. Your legs wouldn’t feel too sore and there wouldn’t be any blisters too.
Usually, low-cut boots do not fare well with wet terrains. Unless the boots are made with GORE-TEX membrane, it won’t stand a chance against a wet terrain. In this situation, I would highly recommend that you get a pair of Gore-Tex socks to help with water-proofing.
Do note that trail shoes are only suitable for basic hiking only. Although they are really comfortable to run in, you may want to consider other types of shoes for activities which are more intense.
If the trails aren’t cleared up well and you will likely face obstacles along the way, I would recommend getting ankle-high boots. These are also known as mid-height boots.
Higher shoes are able to give better ankle support, which would be helpful if you are carrying a heavier backpack.
If you are trudging through a sloppy mountain or a snowy terrain, a mid-height boot will be more suitable too. The twigs and sand will not be able to get into your boots if it’s mid-height.
If you want to venture through paths that are seldom wandered, you will need boots with above-ankle support and one that provides rigid stability. As the terrain gets rougher, the criteria for you to choose a suitable pair of boots get more stringent as well.
The ideal pair of boots that you are looking for should be able to withstand several days’ long backpacking trip even with a heavy load. Ideally, the boots will be able to offer ample protection to your feet and withstand the rough terrain.
For Mountaineering, you should only opt for mid-weight or heavyweight boots. Usually, they tend to offer more ankle support, they have a stronger sole and will give better protection when you are on the trial. The only downside is that shoes made for mountaineering are often pricier.
Also, it’s important to ensure that the boots you wear for mountaineering are broken in or else you will get loads of blisters.
Tip 3: Getting The Right Fit
Although this tip sounds like common-sense, due to its importance, I thought it would be useful to mention it again in this post.
If you get a fitting shoe, you can avoid blisters, blackened toenails or sprained arches. I can write a whole article which talks about getting shoes with the right fit but here are some salient points I would highly recommend that you take note of:
Getting a suitable pair of socks
In fact, getting the right pair of socks with suitable features can help you get through your hike with greater ease. If your socks are too tight, your feet will tend to get blisters.
If you want to be more specific, you need to look at details such as the toe seams or overall thickness of the socks.
Getting boots with the right fit
For the boots, I will highly recommend that you avoid narrow toe box which will cramp your toes.
Also, you have to ensure that the boot is manufactured to match the shape and volume of your foot. Even if the boots are solid, the fact that they squeeze your feet will allow the boots to torture your feet.
Other good habits include buying boots which are larger 1 size. There’s no harm done in getting a bigger pair of boots unless it’s too loose. As long as it’s able to fit securely on your foot, that should be sufficient.