Choosing a hiking boot is not easy. And if you are a first-timer, it is more difficult. If you visit your local shops, search online for best hiking boots, or read online reviews, you will notice that they are just advertising the most expensive ones, not the durable and comfortable ones.
Hiking boots come with different features and price ranges, which makes it hard for a beginner to decide! If you can look at the right place, you will see some of the highly-priced ones are not that highly features as expected! Yet, you will see that there are also different hiking boots available, which are offering a lot of excellent features at a reasonable, and sometimes at a cheap price! All you have to do is know the difference by knowing how to choose hiking boots?
In this article, we will provide you all the tips needed for choosing a perfect hiking boot. Without further ado, let us proceed to the main part!
How to choose a proper hiking boots
There are different types of hiking boots to choose from! To choose a type, you have to decide on which type of camping you are going to use it, light or day hiking? Backpacking? Or Mountaineering?
Related: Best women’s hiking boot review.
Light or day hiking:
Mid to high cut boots are made for light or day hiking. They require a little break-in time. Though they lack support and durability as they are made for short trips and light loads. They are flexible than hiking shoes but also heavier.
Specially designed for light hiking with sticky rubber soles and anti-abrasion toe rands. They are basically the low cut and mid-cut hybrids. They are a great choice for light loads.
If your trail is known and well maintained, then you can go for a low-cut or mid-cut boots. These shoes feature stiffer soles and better traction than running or walking shoes. But they can be a bad choice for slippery or rocky terrain.
These rough trail ankle-high boots are best for aggressive and extended day hiking. They are lightweight boots with waterproof/ breathable liners for good ventilation and made of fabric or leather combination or split-grain leather. Leather hiking boots can be an ideal choice.
Off-trail boots are the best choice for heavy load backpack trips. They are made of full-grain leather, offers above ankle support and rigid sole stability. They are durable and waterproof too.
The high cut boot is designed for backpacking into the backcountry. They offer great ankle support, durability, and stiffer midsoles. But footwear is lighter. This type of boot is a good choice for on or off-trail trips. Remember, they are heavy and need to be break-in to make them blister-free and flexible.
To get to the peak of the mountain, under heavy load, you will need a boot with a full-grain leather upper, minimal seam, great traction, stiff nylon midsoles, and overall comfort. And surprisingly all these features are included in a mountaineering boot.
Now that you know about the types of hiking boots, but it is not sufficient for choosing a boot! You have to choose the right fit! Without the right fit, you could get blisters, black toenails, etc.
To get the right fit, you have to get the right socks first, because some socks like hiking socks can alter your boots fits, and cause pressure problems!
At first buy the socks, which you would be wearing on the trip and wearing those socks, do your hiking boots shopping.
Buy the boot that fits you perfectly and comfortably.
- Avoid a boot with a narrow toe-box, it might cramp your toes.
- Make sure the boot’s “last” matches your foot’s shape and volume. Boot’s “last” is the wooden foot around which the boot is shaped and constructed.
- If you have a high arch, then you might need more arch support foot-bed.
- If your previous shoe’s sole show extreme wear on the inner or outer side, then you might need orthotic support for your ankle and arches.
- Make sure your tongue padding is roomy yet relatively stiff.
Pros: Durable, Abrasion-resistant, Water-resistant.
Cons: Heaviest, Less breathable, Less flexible.
Nubuck and suede:
Pros: Buffed leather, Soft, Flexible.
Cons: Less durable, Less water-resistant.
Means made of polyester, nylon or polyurethane
Pros: Thick, Light-weight, Breathable, Flexible, Cheap, Dries faster than leather.
Cons: Less durable, Less water-resistant.
Pros: Adds breathability to footwear, Lowers weight.
Cons: Less durable.
Waterproof breathable membrane:
It is often sandwiched between inner and outer layers of the uppers to make boot waterproof, while still keeping it breathable.
Toe cap or rand:
It’s a rubber bumper that protects your boots from damage after accidentally hitting it into rock or log.
It prevents dirt, water from sneaking inside of your boots.
Midsoles indicate the durability and longevity of a boot along with the quality of the ride it will provide.
Offer traction when hiking in different terrains.
Before buying the hiking boot, make sure it is a perfect fit, and of course, offers all the necessary features! And thanks for reading this article!