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Selecting YOUR perfect pair of hiking boots.

October 15, 2015

Not all shoes are created equal and this is especially true when it comes to choosing the proper hiking shoe. While we all want to look great when heading out on the trail, feeling great is far more important! So, with this in mind we have made a short list of questions to consider:

  1. Where will you be hiking?
  2. What type of surfaces will your trails consist of?
  3. Will you be hitting the bush, brush, creepy crawlies, etc?
  4. How much weight will you be carrying, and for how long?
  5. Do you need extra support in the ankles?
  6. What weather conditions will you be using them in?

Types of Hiking Footwear

Full-cut Hiking Boots are great for all types of hiking especially if you are covering rough terrain, are traveling with a medium to heavy pack, will require additional support in the ankles and/or are encountering wet, muddy or snowy conditions.

Hiking Shoes are best for day hikes or shorter trips. Depending on your experience and personal comfort levels these may be used on rough terrain as well as groomed trails and of course all your daily around town adventures.

Mid-cut Hiking Boots Like the idea of more ankle support and water protection, but don’t want to go into a full-cut heavier boot? Mid-cut hikers bridge the gap between shoes and boots and are well suited for a wide range of hiking and light backpacking trips.

Trail Running Shoes are best for trail running and day hikes on smooth or groomed surfaces, as a quick drying option for in and out of creeks, streams and puddles or an alternative to a traditional running shoe for everyday lifestyle comfort.

Things to consider once you have chosen the type of hiker you will need:

When shopping OutdoorsOriented.com, consider a brand, or better yet, a style you’ve worn or tried on before to aid in selecting the right size and fit.

Your shoes should feel like an extension of your feet. Make sure your choice holds your foot well with no slipping forward or heel lift within the shoe. To help prevent blisters and banged up toes and toenails, your toes should never touch the front of your shoe. Remember our feet tend to swell in a bit on longer hikes and in hotter climates so we recommend that you try on boots at the end of the day.

Fitting and Sizing - Once you have narrowed down the type of hiker you require, let the comfort guide you and select what feels best on your foot. To be sure of this you'll want to spend some time in the boots. We encourage you to try lots of options to ensure you've got the best pair for your feet. Consider aftermarket insoles (i.e. Superfeet or Sole). If you wear custom Orthotics or already have insoles you like to use make sure to bring them along with you to try with your short list of hikers. Lastly, don't forget that the correct sock is a necessity in maximizing the fit and performance of your shoes or boots.

Weight and Support - We recommend you choose the lightest shoe that meets your needs for support and traction. This depends largely on how far you are traveling, the type of terrain you expect to encounter, and how much weight you will be carrying. A good rule of thumb regarding the weight of your shoes was stated by Sir Edmund Hillary after an Everest Expedition, and has since been validated by science "It requires five times as much energy to move weight on your feet as it does to move weight on your back."  In essence, if you have 2lb shoes instead of 4lb shoes you have essentially lightened your load by 10 lbs!

Waterproofing - We all have a desire to keep our feet dry and comfy whenever possible. We therefore ask you to consider the following; Dry feet are cooler in hot weather and warmer in the cold temperatures. Plus wet feet are extra prone to blisters. Therefore in hot climates a non-waterproof option may be best for its increased breathability, but where wet conditions exist try to select a boot with a waterproof membrane. Regardless of your choice remember a good hiking sock will do wonders in moisture management.

So now that you have the perfect hikers, get out there and enjoy this beautiful fall weather! We always love to hear and see what adventures our customers are experiencing, so please don't forget to snap a picture and share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @OutdoorsOriented or simply email us at info@outdoorsoriented.com