How to Choose the Right Pair of Hiking Boots

choosing the right hiking boots

When hiking, your feet and ankles bear the brunt of the pressure. Wearing the wrong pair of hiking boots can cause your feet and ankles discomfort or even long-term injuries. Here are tips to help you find the perfect pair:

Consider the Cut and Style

Hiking boots are a general term for a shoe designed specifically for outdoor use. There are three main cut and style options:

  • Low-cut hiking shoes are great for light activities such as short hikes or leisurely walks on the trail. They offer good cushioning and traction but do not provide much ankle support.
  • Medium-cut day hiking boots are designed for more challenging terrain and provide more ankle support than low-cut shoes.
  • High-cut backpacking boots work well for long hikes where you carry more weight in your packs. They sit higher on the ankle for added stability and are made from more durable materials.

Get a Good Fit For Comfort and Safety

While buying a pair of boots online may be tempting, Horizon Foot and Ankle Institute recommends visiting a store to try them on first. If you plan on longer hikes, you may need to go up a size or two to account for swelling in your feet. A good fit should be snug but not too tight. The boot should flex with the shape of your foot while still offering stability and support.

Select a Balance of Comfort and Durability

The material of hiking boots can vary greatly, from full-grain leather to synthetic fabrics. Full-grain leather is the most durable and will last longer than synthetic materials. But it can also be more expensive and heavier. Synthetic materials may not last as long but offer many advantages, such as being lightweight, waterproof, and breathable. Gore-Tex is also a popular choice due to its waterproof, breathable membrane, which helps keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Consider the Outsole

Your choice of outsole depends on the terrain you will be hiking on. Choose a lug pattern with deep grooves for rocky trails for maximum traction. These give you more grip on slippery surfaces and help protect your feet from sharp rocks. They are ideal for mountain trails with steep hills and switchbacks. For more even terrain, choose a boot with a moderately deep tread pattern for better grip while offering some cushioning.

Test Them Out

Once you’ve narrowed your choices to one or two pairs, it’s time to test them out. Wear the boots around the store for a few minutes and pay attention to how they feel. Look for pressure points, heel slippage, or other signs of discomfort. If the fit feels good, take them on short hikes to test their grip and cushioning. Check the boots after the first few hikes for any signs of wear and tear to determine their durability.

Contact Horizon Foot and Ankle Institute for Foot Care

If you experience foot and ankle discomfort during your hikes, contact Horizon Foot and Ankle Institute for professional foot care. Our experienced podiatrists will help diagnose the issue and provide treatment to get you back on your feet quickly. Schedule an appointment today and get your feet ready for your next adventure!