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Tips for Hiking Boot Shopping

Choosing hiking boots may not be as easy as it seems. There are many things to consider, and what may feel perfect in the store might not actually be on the trail.

Hiking Shoe Types

Light Hiking: A burlier counterpart of running shoes, these hiking boots are more appropriately termed shoes. They’re good for day hiking, though a lot of many long-distance backpackers prefer this style for super-light fit too.

Mountaineering: If you’re planning adventure on some glacial trails, rocky territory and the like, mountaineering botos are the best for you to buy. They’re designed for heavy loads and withstand the toughest terrain.

Backpacking: These boots work on a variety of on-the-trail and off-the-trail terrain. If you’re out for a multi-day hike, this is the pair that’s best for you, with their tough sole and durability getting you through nearly any condition.


Synthetics: Nylon and polyester and the usual materials used under this type. They are well-loved for their light and easy fit and their quick drying time, but they tend to be not that water-resistant.

Split-grain leather: This material is still highly breathable even being half leather and half synthetics. However, it isn’t as water-resistant compared to 100% leather, and neither is it as durable.

Hundred Percent Leather: Mountaineering boots are typically with 100% leather. It’s a highly durable material that’s just right for shaky terrain. But it is known for being heavy and less breathable.


Low-cut: These hiking shoes are lot like running shoes. While ideal for easy, casual hikes, this cut makes you more likely to injure your ankles. Hence, boots in this cut should only be worn on well-maintained trails.

Mid-cut: This style gives more ankle support and balance, and also better buffer from trail debris.

High-cut: Because of its great balance and ankle support, this cut is the best there is for the most challenging and even dangerous trails.

Size Considerations

Most people get so amused by a product’s bells and whistles that they tend to take the fit for granted. As you try on a pair of hiking boots, give them the size test to ensure that the fit is right for you. Take note that a floating heel is the major cause of blisters, which is something you should avoid at all times.

Test Run

Lastly, don’t ever take new boots directly to the trail. Break them in by wearing them in your house or as you run some errands. This is how you determine whether they are indeed the right fit for you. If they aren’t, look for another pair at the store and swap.

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