As you prepare for a hike, one of the most important things to consider is the type of hiking shoes/boots that you buy. There is a huge variety of hiking boots and consequently, there is a bigger chance of you getting the wrong boots.
The wrong choice of boots could give you sores, blisters or twisted ankles on your feet, effectively grounding you and ruining your hiking experience while the rest of the crew continue with the adventure.
One important thing to note here is that the boots that work for someone else might not work for you. Therefore, it is important to figure out on your own which ones best suit your feet.
Heavy boots tend to weigh you down and cause a lot of fatigue while on the trail. The worst thing is that as you go on with the hike, the boots’ weight effect will have multiplied because you get more and more tired while the weight is still maintained.
To put it into perspective, consider lifting the same weights in the gym when you are just beginning your workout vs when you a couple of minutes into your workout.
There is even a popular saying among hikers that says “one pound on foot equals five on the back”. Therefore, be sure to select lightweight boots.
2. Waterproof or not
Waterproof boots are the better option. When water penetrates into shoes on normal walking days, it causes your feet to produce bad odor and in extreme conditions, form blisters.
Hiking causes more stress on the feet and so this bad odor and blister formation would be on high gear. The best boots ideally should have waterproof, breathable materials so that perspiration can also escape, leaving your feet dry.
3. Padded collar
Boots with hiking collars provide a lot of comfort by supporting the ankle. Padded collars are an added plus and would be a good feature in hiking boots.
4. Gusseted tongue
The tongue sticks out above the laces to prevent debris from entering the shoe. A gusseted tongue is quite thick and firmly presses on the foot to do a better job at keeping any form of debris and sand from entering the shoe.
This is definitely a must-have in hiking boots to prevent discomfort from unwanted elements inside the shoe.
5. Arch support
A proper boot should have an arch support to keep your feet from flattening out under your body weight. You should make sure that the boots’ insole provides good arch support to prevent your feet from hurting.
A rand is a tough rubber lining located around the outer edge of the shoe where the outer sole meets the boot canvas. It is an important part because it protects the boots’ impact areas as well as protecting your toes from impact with rocks and tree stumps.
Apart from all these comfort features, ensure that the boots fit. When trying out hiking boots, buy a pair that gives the toes a little extra space while also fitting comfortably around the rest of the foot.
It is recommended to try them out while wearing your hiking socks and walk around the store, especially up and down stairs. This simulates a hiking experiences and you will certainly feel if the boots exert uncomfortable pressure on your feet.