If you’ve just started to discover a love for hiking, you should know that the shoes you put on your feet are very important. Choosing the right fit and style of hiking boots for you is a sort of matchmaking experience. As you look for your dream boots, they need to be in sync with how and where you hike, as well as the shape of your legs and feet. Before you buy that pair, you need to make certain that they are indeed the perfect fit.
With so many phrases like 'arch support' thrown out there as you look into hiking boots, it can be easy to get confused fast. Ranger Mac will go over a few tips to help you make the process of buying your hiking boots easier and more enjoyable.
Comfort is Key
The most important thing to think about overall is comfort. Forget about the brand, the price, the built-in tech, and anything else other people tell you. If the boot does not feel good on your feet, then simply do not buy them. Keep in mind that everyone's feet are different. Although the lump in the middle of the shoe that provides arch support is great for many feet, if yours are relatively flat, that same "support" will turn into an uncomfortable lump.
You should never buy a pair of hiking boots without trying them on first. It’s been proven by scientists that people use oxygen more efficiently when they exercise in comfortable shoes. So not only will your feet thank you for the comfortable hiking boots, but your lungs and the rest of your body will as well!
Walk Around in your Hiking Boots
After you think you’ve found the right hiking boots for you, put them on and walk around in them for a while around the store. Use this time to gauge your comfort level in the boots. The walking part is very important, rather than just standing, because the boots may feel comfortable while you are staying still, but may kill your feet once you start moving around in them.
Take your time walking around the store. Go at a pace that you may go while you are hiking. Make this into a mini test of how the boots will work for you out on the trails. You want to come away from this shopping experience with a sense for how the boots actually feel.
Test Out All of the Boots
In comparison to your everyday shoes, many hiking boot you put on your feet will feel good immediately. This is thanks to all the padding and support added to them. This does not mean you should jump the gun and buy the very first pair you try on.
Make sure you try on at least 7 to 8 pair of hiking boots. This will give you a good sense of the different types of brands and models of boots. It’s best to know all your options before you buy.
Ask a Local Hiking Boot Retailer
There are a lot of good hiking boots out there, and it can be overwhelming to make a choice. A good retail employee can be a great help in narrowing down your choices. Tell them what you are looking for and where exactly you plan to go hike. This will help them point you in the right direction for the right hiking boots.
If you find someone who is a good listener and knows their footwear well, they can show you the things you might like while leaving the end decision up to you. Some footwear sellers are also trained to look at your gait and be able to tell what kind of support and shoe shape you require for the most comfortable fit.
Trust Your Gut Reaction
You can read all the reviews and ask all the retail employees you want, but you need to be the one to make that final decision. Don't base your purchase entirely on a magazine cover or a good review from someone else. You need to make sure you buy the boots because they fit perfectly and are made for the type of hiking you want to do. No one else is more of an expert on your comfort and needs than you.
Running Shoes are an Option
Running shoes for hiking? Yep. If you’re looking and just cannot find the right boot, you could also look into running shoes. If you find that the running shoe has more comfort and flexibility for you, then go ahead and get it.
Sure, running shoes do not have the ankle support that hiking boots would, but they can be more comfortable and just fine for those short day trip hikes, especially if they are on relatively flat trails. Picking a running shoe is just like picking a hiking boot: try on several pairs and make sure to walk around the store in them.
If you end up wanting to do more hard-core hiking, you’ll probably want to go back and revisit boots after you get your feet wet with running shoes.
In short, picking the right hiking boot is a personal preference and one that takes time. These boots will last you for a long time and will take you many places. Make sure they’re right for you and something you're completely happy with before making a purchase.
If you want more info on hiking, check out Ranger Mac’s other blogs. This one goes over some great online resources to help you find hiking trails near your location!