You wouldn’t wear stilettos to play tennis any more than you would wear gumboots to a cocktail party. Similarly, you wouldn’t wear flip flops for on rugged terrain or hiking boots for a day out at the beach. It’s also important that if you’re going hiking, you buy the right kind of boots, specifically designed for the task.
Hiking is a challenging sport. It makes demands on your body as well as your mind and the last thing you need when you’re out in the middle of nowhere is to have your hiking boots fall apart or be entirely uncomfortable. You need something durable and long-lasting, a boot that can go the distance with you and even be in better condition than you are when you arrive! If you don’t take care of your feet, your hiking days will be numbered.
Considering the hugely varied terrains you’ll encounter when hiking, your footwear needs to be suitable for wet, dry, sharp, flat, hot and cold. Hiking boots are manufactured from materials that can stand up to these conditions and they are designed not only to protect your feet but to help you to walk long distances in comfort.
To adequately support the feet, hiking boots have to be quite stiff and they should also be shaped so that they support the ankles because twists are common, especially when walking on ground that is uneven or steeply sloping downward.
When shopping for your new hiking boots, it might be advisable to visit a store that specializes in this kind of equipment. You’ll get good quality for your money and the store staff will be able to advise you on the right type. Reading a few hiking boot reviews before you go is also very much recommended.
And don’t forget to wear thick socks! It’s no good having them fit when wearing business socks if you’ll be wearing extra thick socks when it matters most.
Where you intend to hike will have a bearing on the kind of hiking boots you buy. They’re available in lightweight for one or two day trips on easy terrain, mid weight for slightly rougher terrain and trips of around three days, extended for moderate to challenging terrain and mountaineering for challenging to extreme terrain. The two latter versions are also compatible with most snow shoes.
Your hiking boots also have to take into account the weight of the load you will be carrying. For a single day outing where you carry a small, light backpack containing lunch and snacks, you need something softer and lighter but for a heavier backpack and a longer trip, your boots should feature a stiffer mid sole and insole to ensure your feet are adequately supported.
Buying waterproof hiking boots is a good idea even if you don’t intend to go hiking near lakes, streams and ponds. Keep in mind that long grasses can be damp and wherever you go, there could be mud from a recent rainfall. Never use waterproofing waxes or sprays because they affect the boots’ ‘breathability’. Waterproof boots are already treated and so do not need an extra layer.
The most important consideration when buying hiking boots is comfort. You could buy the most expensive, biggest brand name boots in the world but if they are not comfortable on your feet, you won’t be hiking far. And make sure that before you embark on any trips, you wear your boots in for a few weeks to increase your familiarity and comfort.