How to Pick the Right Hiking Boot
By Paul Graham
When it comes to choosing hiking boots, some people have no idea what to buy. They often resort to just buying the most expensive ones even if they do not know how the boots will perform. So how do you select the right hiking boots?
1. Determine what kind of boots will suit you best
There are different types of boots designed specifically for different hiking needs. Before buying a hiking boots, consider the type of hiking activity that you will be engaged in and the support and features that you will need.
These boots are often called the stomper and are versatile and durable. Heavyweight boots will give you ample protection and support and these are suitable for rough terrain. One downside though is that these boots can exhaust you because they usually weigh 5 pounds.
These are slightly lighter than heavyweights. Middleweights usually weigh 2 pounds and are the most suitable for most hiking trips. If you are hiking on moderate terrains, these are the perfect boots for you.
As the name implies, these boots are light thus providing more comfort and breathable. These are perfect for casual and short hiking trips because they provide less support and protection and wont be able to handle rough terrains.
2. Choose what material you want
Boots are made from different materials. Some people value comfort and breathability over durability and support. Its up to you what type of material you want. Here are the most common materials used in boots.
Different styles and design of boots have water barriers and these are built into the boots to improve its water resistance. Water resistance of boots is most especially important for long hiking trips and for rough terrain.
Split grain leather and nylon mesh
Boots made from this type of materials are less water resistant but are more comfortable to wear. Because of the lightness ad breathability of the materials used, it allows more air to pass thru. These boots are also cheaper.
Full grain leather
this material is best used during long hiking trips and rough terrain because it is durable and tremendously water resistant. It is not as lightweight as the other materials and can leave your feet feeling exhausted if worn for a long period of time.
3. Consider the structure
The way the boots was constructed is important to ensure that you are buying a quality boots. Some boots are cheaper because they were constructed poorly. You can opt to buy these types of boots if you are on a tight budget but doing so will mean you have to sacrifice a few important features and the boots wont probably last long.
Seams The stitched areas of a boot are called seams. Single stitched boots are not necessarily bad but wont last long. They are also cheaper. Double stitching is better but if you have the extra bucks to splurge, go for a boots with triple or quadruple stitching.
Welting is done when the upper is attached to the sole. The best performing boots are stitched and some are stitched and cemented at the same time. However these kids of boots are quite expensive so your next option is welting by cement. If you are going for less expensive boots, welting is done by vulcanizing.
The sole has three parts; the insole, the midsole, and the outsole. Softer outsole material is best for rocky terrains while harder outsole material is best for grass and dirt.
4. Check if the boots fit you
Choosing the right boots for you means that you got to have the right fit. Not only will this be a major factor in comfort, it will also allow you to experience the best performance your new boots can offer.
5. Wear your hiking socks
When fitting some hiking boots, wear your socks that you use when going hiking. This is to ensure that you have the right fir when your socks are on. Good socks cushion and protect your feet. Just like hiking boots, hiking socks are made from different materials that are suitable for different hiking activities and terrain. Choose one that will suit best the type of hiking you will be engaged in.
6. Try them on
Try the boots if you feel comfortable wearing them. Take a walk and check if the boots are either too big or too small. A bad fitting boot may cause blisters.
A good hiking boots should keep you comfortable and should be right for the type of hiking trip. Choosing the right materials and style will ensure you that you will have a fun and hassle free hiking.