How to Pick Out the Right Hiking Boots

By February 12, 2017Uncategorized

Picking out the right Hiking Boots can often times feel like a daunting task if you’re unsure which way to go. Here is a quick guide to help get you pointed in the right direction to find your dream boots.

They Should Match Your Hiking Ambitions

If you’re an avid day hiker and rarely carry any load during your hike, big bulky backpacking boots likely aren’t necessary for you. However, if you’re planning to hike the Appalachian trail and spend several days with a heavy pack on your back — a pair of low-cut light hikers won’t cut it.

They Should Fit YOUR Feet Comfortably

Everyone’s feet are different. While you’re best friend swears by the “brand x” they’ve worn for years, that doesn’t mean the “brand x” fit is the right one for your feet. Getting inside a store and trying on multiple pairs from various brands is a great way to ensure you find the shoe that meets your foot’s needs best.

Types of Hiking Boots


Light Hikers

  • Low-Cut
  • Flexible midsoles
  • Offer less support
  • Typically constructed of split-grain leather and synthetic breathable material

You would want to consider a light hiker if you are:

  • Planning to primarily day hike
  • Carry little to no weight
  • Someone who has already built up considerable strength in your feet, ankles, calves, and legs so you’re not relying on your shoe to provide a lot of support


  • Mid to High Cut
  • Stiffer midsoles and construction
  • Offer more support and protection
  • Heavier

You would want to consider a mid-hiker if you are:

  • Planning a longer day or weekend hike over rough terrain
  • Carrying a reasonable amount of weight
  • A beginner or occasional hiker who needs more support for less-developed muscles, or who is prone to rolled ankles or tweaked knees.

Backpacking Boots

  • High Cut
  • Stiffer midsoles and construction thank Hiking Boots
  • Offer a substantial amount of support and protection
  • Require a longer break-in period

You would want to consider a backpacking boot if you are:

  • Planning a multi-day hike through the backcountry
  • Carrying a heavy load
  • An experienced hiker who needs more support for the long weight-bearing travel ahead of them.

Fit Tips

  • Try on boots at the end of the day: Our feet normally swell a bit during the day’s activities. Trying shoes on at the end of the day helps to avoid buying shoes that are too small.
  • If you wear orthotics — bring them: Orthotics will affect the fit of the boot since they typically raise your foot up within the boot.
  • Wear appropriate socks: Like orthotics, socks have the ability to affect the fit and feel of the boot. The dress sock you wore to work isn’t going to match the feel and fit of the boot like when you’re wearing your thicker hiking sock.
  • Toe-box:
    • You should feel plenty of space in the toe-box
    • Your foot should not feel squished on the sides, but you also don’t want to feel like you’re swimming in them.
  • Shoe Length:
    • If you slide your foot forward, you should be able to fit your index finger between your heel and the back of the shoe.
    • It should fit snug enough that you don’t feel any heel lift or slip as you walk
    • When you roll up onto your toes or walk at a downward incline your toes do not hit the end of the shoe
  • Spend some time in the boots: Walk around the store, up and down indoor stairs, around your house or on an inclined treadmill. This allows you to detect any possible deal breakers that you don’t want to pop up when you hit the trail.

Boot Fitting Clinic

w/ Salewa

Thursday, March 16th 2017

5:30-8pm (presentation 6pm-7pm)

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