There are only two rules for buying hiking boots: good quality and good fit. But if it is that simple, why do so many hikers end up wearing poorly fitted boots?.According to Backpacker magazine, seventy percent of hikers wear boots that don't fit right -- and they often don't even know it.
Their boots leave them with blisters and sore feet, but they think that's just part of hiking. Not so. Pain is not a natural part of enjoying the outdoors.Boots that don't fit right can also lead to sore knees, ankles, hips, and back. After all, the 26 bones of your feet support the entire weight of your body and backpack.
Since your boots determine the comfort and support of your feet, which in turn support your entire weight, hikers generally agree that the most important piece of hiking gear is the boot.It is well worth it, therefore, to make the investment of time and money in finding the right boot. But what are the criteria to look for?.Quality:.
When it comes to boots, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive boots are made from cheap materials that bind, chafe, and fail to protect your feet from moisture and other hazards. Manufactures cut down on costs by cutting corners; you pay the price in terms of lost comfort, and it is never worth the money you "saved.".You will be able to find an excellent boot for under $200, but unless it's on a super-sale, you probably won't find a quality boot for less than $100.Features:.
Look for at least two sets of lace-hooks at the top. Lace holes make it more difficult to adjust your lacing for up-and down-hill stretches, and manufactures of good boots know this.The exterior material should be waterproof and durable. The interior material should be smooth; no chafing and no sticky, poking seeds.The tongue should be pleated to keep out water.
And the sole should have an effective traction design and be stiff enough for your typical use (trekkers carrying heavy packs need stiffer soles than day hikers, for instance).Fit:.Don't even think about "breaking them in." Although hiking boots pack-down somewhat and form to your foot, boots that rub or bind anywhere will never fit right.
Also, make sure that your toes have room. If they are touching the front of the boot at all, your downhill hikes will be painful, no matter how good you are at lacing.Of course, shop for your hiking boots wearing the hiking socks you normally use so their thickness is part of the fit.If you follow these guidelines, you will end up with hiking boots that will last for many years and make every hike a pleasure..Daniel Lebarge is a journalist and backpacking enthusiast. For additional tips and insights about boots, visit All Boots and All Camping - your premier online resources offering valuable information about hiking and camping gear.
By: Daniel Lebarge