April 30, 2020

Choosing your first pair of hiking boots or switching to a new brand, can be a tricky process with the many types of styles and brands on the market. To make sure your dream hiking boots marry your feet and match the terrain you will be hiking through, read the below tips on how to choose the correct hiking boots. Ensuring you choose the perfect fitting hiking boots will make all the difference to being happy and comfortable on the trails.

The Buying Process

The golden rule is to always purchase from a reputable and credible outdoor retailer. This will eliminate choosing boots from a store that are not outdoor experts, stock rip-off and cheaper boots which will not provide the right support. Credible retailers also should stock a variety of good hiking brands making sure you have a good selection to meet your activity and budget needs.

The Floor Salesman

Never underestimate the valuable knowledge of a floor salesman at a reputable outdoor retailer. They should have good knowledge on a wide range of styles and functionalities which can guide you to choosing the right boots for your feet. 

Type of Hiking

Before purchasing the correct hiking boots, make sure you know for what type of hiking you will be using your boots for. Different boots can be used for serious rock climbing, scrambling or gentle paths. 

Hiking Conditions

The same goes for the type of conditions you will likely spend most of your time hiking in. For example, hiking in wet and rainy conditions might require a full grain leather upper and waterproof lining such as the HI-TEC Altitude OX waterproof or the newly landed Altitude Infinity waterproof. 

If you are likely to be walking the Camino and need hiking boots for hot dry hikes you might look for a more breathable boot with a mesh inlay such as the Altitude Lite 3 or the Ravus Quest. The latter can also be waterproof but bear in mind by waterproofing a boot you are compromising the breathability of the boot.

Try on both boots and take 1 size bigger

Make sure you try on both left and right boots in the store with the same hiking socks and innersoles you plan on wearing with your boots. Also ensure to buy your boots at least 1 size bigger than your average footwear size. This is because hiking boots will swell over time and in turn, allow your feet and toes to be able to wiggle inside and allow for good circulation.

Should my boots feel uncomfortable?

We do not believe hiking boots should feel uncomfortable in anyway when you first try them on. Boots must be comfortable from the beginning and our recommendation is if they are not comfortable from the onset, request to try on another style or brand.

Look for hiking boots with good grip

If you turn the hiking boot around and look at the thick rubber sole, you should see deep indentations. Lugs are very important in hiking boots as they improve the stability and traction of your boots. HI-TEC hiking boots are known for aggressive lugs for superior grip on rough and smooth surfaces. This is also a good time to ask whether the hiking boots have any special technologies to facilitate better grip. HI-TEC uses M-D TRACTION which is a multi-directional lug designed for performance and provides protection and durability.

What about the midsole?

The midsole is the middle part of the hiking boot which sits between the outsole and the innersole. The midsole should give you great cushioning, so aim to look for a compression moulded EVA midsole and if you are carrying a little extra weight form the holidays, try a plain EVA insert. HI-TEC uses

Toe Bumpers and Alloy Eyelets

Make sure the hiking boot has a toe bumper to protect your toes and rustproof hardware lacing system. The lacing hardware are referred to as eyelets, should be made from a metal alloy such as brass to prevent them rusting.

A few other Tips 

Finally, always keep your receipt and check the warranty period on the boot. Good boots should have a decent warranty, and any technical defects received during the warranty period should be sorted out hassle free by the hiking boot brand.

Images by The Secret Adventurer

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