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When searching for the perfect hiking boot, there are several things to take into consideration before making your purchase. What type of trip you will be
using the boots on as well as the boot material and fit. Once you’ve gone through each category, you will have a good idea of the boot that will work best for you.
Type of Trip
There are three different boot weights to match the type of trip you will be embarking on:
Lightweight - If you’re going Hiking on a day trip or a short overnight trip
Midweight hiking/backpacking – Used for hiking on or off trail with a light to moderate backpack load. This weight is more supportive and durable than the lightweight.
Extended Backpacking/Mountaineering - This weight is intended for hiking on or off trail with a moderate to heavy backpack load. This weight has a high level of foot and ankle protection and is all around durable.
Choose Proper Materials
Full-Grain Leather— This boot is highly water-resistant as well as thicker and heavier than a split-grain boot but very durable and supportive. Typically, this boot is used for extended trips with a heavy load and difficult
terrain. Full-Grain leather does require to be broken in, so allow enough time for a breaking in period.
Split-Grain Leather & Nylon Mesh—A full-grain leather is literally split into two sections thus creating a lighter and more breathable boot ideal for warm to moderate weather. They tend to be lighter than full-grain
leather boots and thus take less time to break in. This boot is best suited for use on short to modest backpacking trips.
Synthetic—Synthetic boots are lightweight and flexible. They provide a high level of comfort without compromising protection. These boots are well suited for short hikes.
Waterproof barriers– This is a lightweight liner built right into the boot to enhance the boot’s resistance to water.
Foot Measurement – Have both feet properly measured using a Brannock device. Once you know your size, you’ll have a starting point for trying boots on. Fit a boot to your largest measurement should you have one foot
larger than the other. An extra sock or insert can be used to fill extra space in the boot of the smaller foot.
Socks – Be sure to try the boot on while wearing type of sock and sock liner you intend to use while on your trip.
First Impression – Test the initial fit of the boot by lacing up the boot first and then stand up. The boot should be snug against the ball and insetp of your foot but not so snug that flexing the foot forward is uncomfortable. Also, your heel should be held firmly in place. Try a half size
down if your foot feels like it is “floating” inside the boot. A half size larger should be tried if your toes make contact with either the side or front of the toe box or if your foot feels cramped.
Test Walk – Take a walk around to test for any looseness, foot movement and/or heel lift. A well fitted boot will hold your foot in place without constricting them. Next, find an incline and test for foot slippage. A
good fit would prevent your foot from sliding forward too easily as well as prevent your heel from moving from side to side.
Investigate your options – It’s a good idea to try several different boots on before deciding on your final pair. Each boot will grab your foot differently, so it’s ideal to be able to try different models.
Boot Care Tip: Drying
Boots should be dried completely after each use. If the boot is dirty, it is best to first dry the boot then brush loose dirt off. It can damage the boot to set it near high temperatures or fire. They should be stored in a dry, warm