Travel & Places Outdoors

How to Correctly Fit Hiking Boots

    • 1). Determine the purpose of your new boots. You will have to decide if you want the hiking boots for low-impact recreation in the woods, or if you want them to cover many miles across rugged terrain. Perhaps you want to be able to run in them. Once you determine your hiking goals, you can go shopping.

    • 2). Select the proper weight of the boot. Lightweight boots do no provide as much support, but are much easier to walk in. As a rule of thumb, the more harsh your hiking conditions, the heavier the boot you should purchase.

    • 3). Select a boot with full ankle support. Hiking shoes do not cover your ankle and should be avoided. No matter what kind of hiking you plan on doing, you will need full ankle coverage.

    • 4). Select a boot with as much water resistance as possible. Wet feet become uncomfortable, can quickly blister and will fatigue you faster. No matter where you hike, you will want dry feet.

    • 5). Select leather or man-made materials for the top. In general, the lightweight hiking boots for casual users are constructed of man-made materials. If you are planning on doing a lot of high-impact hiking on rough terrain, you will want to select a full-grain leather boot which will last much longer.

    • 6). Select the material for the sole. The sole of the boot will also be determined by the type of hiking you wish to do. Heavy, waffle-shaped soles are designed for rough terrain, while slightly textured soles can be more suitable for leisure hikes, as they are not as heavy and stiff. The more rugged the terrain, the stiffer you will want the sole to be to provide the most support for your feet. Quality boots also have steel shanks built into the soles for added safety and stiffness.

    • 7). Try on the boots. Put on the boots and lace them tightly, while wearing two pairs of socks (one thin and one thick pair) that you would wear while hiking. You should be able to fit a single finger down the back of the boot without the finger feeling stuck.

    • 8). Walk around in the boots, making sure they don't rub against parts of your foot in a irritating way that could lead to a blister. Make sure that your foot does not slide up and down inside the boots. If the store allows it, try walking in different areas and on different objects (stairs, bumpy items on the ground to represent rocks, etc.) This will allow you to get a feel for the amount of comfort and ankle protection the boots provide. You should not be able to feel any small objects through the soles. If you can feel a small, rock-like object, the soles are too thin and flimsy.

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