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How to choose hiking boots (Tips for hiking)

How to choose hiking boots

How to choose hiking boots (Tips for hiking)

Choosing the right hiking boots is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable hiking experience. Here are some tips to help you select the most suitable hiking boots:

1. Understand Your Hiking Style:

  • Consider the type of hiking you plan to do. Different terrains and activities may require different types of boots. For example, a lightweight hiking shoe may be suitable for day hikes, while backpacking on rough trails may require more robust boots.

2. Know the Types of Hiking Boots:

  • a. Trail Shoes: Lightweight and suitable for well-maintained trails.
  • b. Hiking Boots: Mid-weight boots offering ankle support, ideal for various terrains.
  • c. Backpacking Boots: Sturdier and suitable for carrying heavier loads and traversing rough terrain.

3. Consider Ankle Support:

  • If you have weak ankles or plan to tackle challenging trails, opt for boots that provide good ankle support. This is particularly important when carrying heavy backpacks.

4. Check for Proper Fit:

  • Visit a specialty outdoor store to get professionally fitted. Ensure that there is enough room for your toes to wiggle but not so much that your foot moves excessively within the boot.

5. Try Boots with Your Hiking Socks:

  • Wear the same type of socks you intend to wear while hiking when trying on boots. This ensures an accurate fit.

6. Consider Waterproofing:

  • Decide whether you need waterproof boots. If you’ll be hiking in wet conditions or crossing streams, waterproof boots with Gore-Tex or a similar membrane can be beneficial.

7. Evaluate Traction:

  • Look for boots with a sole that provides good traction on various surfaces. Vibram soles are known for their durability and grip.

8. Test Flexibility:

  • Boots should be flexible enough to allow natural foot movement but firm enough to provide support. Flex the boot at the ball of the foot to check flexibility.

9. Assess Weight:

  • Consider the weight of the boots. Lightweight boots are suitable for day hikes, while heavier boots may be necessary for backpacking and more challenging terrains.

10. Ventilation:

- For warm climates, consider boots with breathable materials or mesh panels to prevent your feet from overheating.

11. Check Lacing System:

- A good lacing system allows for a secure fit and prevents heel slippage. Look for boots with multiple lacing options to customize the fit.

12. Test the Boot Volume:

- Ensure that the boots have the right volume for your feet. Boots that are too narrow or too wide can cause discomfort and blisters.

13. Break Them In:

- Once you've selected your boots, break them in before heading out on a long hike. Wear them around the house, on short walks, and gradually increase the duration.

14. Consider Boot Materials:

- Leather boots are durable and provide excellent support but may require more break-in time. Synthetic materials are lighter and often more breathable but may not be as durable.

15. Read Reviews:

- Check online reviews and seek recommendations from experienced hikers to get insights into the performance and durability of specific boot models.

16. Check Return Policy:

- Ensure that the store has a flexible return policy. Even with careful selection, boots may not be suitable for everyone, and it's essential to have the option to exchange or return them.

Remember that everyone’s feet are unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Take your time to find the boots that best suit your feet and hiking needs.

Every year thousands of mountaineers have a common dilemma, how to choose good mountain boots? In many cases, they are the first boots that are bought, and they are for minor routes or even the Camino de Santiago, but the doubt is always the same, and we do not want to make a mistake for a simple reason boots are not incredibly cheap. Today we give you a series of tips so that you can find your ideal mountain boots, but this does not prevent you from requesting an additional recommendation from a footwear specialist in your nearest mountain store.

Sometimes when I look for hiking boots, I find people trying to find nice boots, leaving comfort or the excellent finish of the boot as a second option (My girlfriend, for example). The design may play an essential role in dressing, but in the mountains, we must put it aside and look for the most comfortable and practical thing possible.

They will be your walking companions for a long time, and little by little, they will suffer much wear and tear that you won’t even remember how beautiful they seemed initially. The ideal is to try and try until you find your ideal boot. One, two, three times, or as many times as necessary, but never keep the first one you try on.

With this initial advice, I encourage you to continue reading so that you can find good hiking boots that meet your expectations, mainly for use in spring, summer, and autumn. We have divided it into the sections that we believe are the most important, starting with the exterior aspect.

External protections

It is the fastest thing to see in any boot and what we must pay close attention to. For example, check that the seams are reinforced, such as double seams (see photo). It has to have a good appearance and if they also come with rubber on the toe or heel, check that it is not glued with superglue, and sometimes you can even see the glue as a bad sign. It wouldn’t be the first time that the protections of a boot come off.

Many models have a strap on the back to pass the cord and thus offer more significant support. I have hardly used it. It is also used to put on the boot more easily.

In addition, many boots have a reinforced rubber toe cap or even the entire bottom of the boot. It not only combats chafing but is also added protection against water. These boots usually have a higher price and are generally carried by the highest quality boots. Be careful; this sometimes increases the weight of the boot.

Material and weight.

Depending on the material used, the weight varies. The trekking boots made of leather are generally heavier and less breathable; with the new synthetic materials, the weight is reduced, and the breathability is increased. However, many boots combine synthetic materials with leather.

Sanity and split leather stand out among the most used materials, both synthetic and in leather. We can find nubuck or grain leather.

Cramponable or semi-crampon ball trekking boots:

If you take a step further in the world of trekking towards more technical winter routes, you will be assailed by the doubt if crampons can be adapted to the boots you use. Boots prepared for automatic or semi-automatic crampons have slits or corners on the heels and toes.

Automatic crampons require that the boots are prepared and have the necessary notches to place them. However, in semi-rigid boots with gaps in the toecap, you can adapt strap crampons to make routes through snow or ice.

What to consider when evaluating the size of your hiking boots?

Choosing the size of your hiking boots well depends on several details that you must consider, from the choice and placement of the socks to the foot’s space inside the boot or the way to tie them. These are necessary aspects to walk as comfortably as possible and go trekking without any inconvenience.

Read on. Here are some tips for finding the perfect size mountain shoe.

Try the boots at the end of the day.

You should know that during a walk, the feet will swell a little, so the boots must have a particular slack so that they do not fit too tight and cause blisters from rubbing.

Late afternoon may be the best time of day to try on some hiking boots. The most normal thing is that your feet are slightly swollen after the day’s activities and are at their most dilated.

When trying on the size of your mountain shoes, keep in mind to use the same socks that you would use for an excursion. In this way, you will test it in conditions more similar to reality.

Check that there is room in the toe of the shoe.

The simplest way to check that the size of the mountain shoes is correct is to remove the insole and place your foot on top of it. Check that your heel is well placed on the back of the insole, and then check that there is a space of one finger (of the hand) between the tip of your foot and the tip of the insole, no more and no less.

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Check that there is room in the back of the boot.

After verifying that there is a gap at the tip of the toe, it is necessary to confirm that the shoe’s fit is appropriate. To do this, loosen the laces on the boot and slide your foot in so that the toe touches the toe of the boot. In this position, with the boot lost, your foot on the ground, and the leg perpendicular, insert one finger between the heel of your foot and the shoe. Your finger should fit easily, with no extra room.

Shoes should not be too tight. With the boot unbuckled, one toe should fit perfectly.

Check that the shoes are not too tight.

To test the fit of hiking shoes, tilt your heel back, so there is no gap between your heel and the boot. Then, place the tongue in the correct position and tighten the laces by pulling on them, starting at the toe box and working your way up.

Avoid over-tightening the laces. The laces that pass through the fixings should not be too close together but in their natural position. Tie the laces all the way up because the idea is to check how the boots will fit you in conditions similar to those of use.

Try both boots

Our body is not symmetrical, and it is normal to have one foot slightly larger than the other. It can also happen that there is a manufacturing defect or that we notice a different sensation in one foot and another. Therefore, you should always try both boots.

Walk a bit with the shoes.

After adjusting and putting on your boots, as explained, stand up and pay attention to the sensations in your feet. From the first moment, you should feel that the shoe adjusts to the shape of your foot and, above all, a lot of comforts.

A mountain shoe must be comfortable from the first moment. Perhaps you have heard that shoes “have to be tamed.” If your hiking boots do not seem pleased to you from the first day, do not buy them, they will not be comfortable when you walk. When you’ve worn it for several days, it will lose some stiffness and gain some comfort.

Don’t rush

The sensation of comfort that mountain boots should produce is personal. Boots that are comfortable for someone will not necessarily seem so to you and vice versa.

The size of your mountain footwear is a fundamental factor for choosing the correct footwear. Take the time you need to buy the proper hiking boots for you. 

If you buy mountain shoes online, do you know how to measure the correct size of your hiking boots?

Now, what happens if you decide to buy hiking boots online? How can you measure its size correctly? The process is quite simple and is based on measuring the size of the foot. Put a sheet of paper on the floor, next to the wall. Place your foot on it so that your heel and the blade contact the wall. With a pencil perpendicular to the ground, mark on the sheet where the longest point of the foot reaches.

Also, keep in mind to make sure your shoes are the right size, wear thick socks when you take your measurements, and do so at the end of the day when your feet are the most swollen. Repeat this procedure with both feet, using the longest measurement as a reference.

Measure the end of the sheet to the pencil mark. That measurement will be a fitted shoe size. To that measurement, add the height of the width of 1 finger (1.5-2 centimeters) so that the shoe fits you comfortably.

How to choose the ideal boot for high mountains

When choosing our high mountain boot, we must consider a series of factors that will make us decide which is the most suitable for the activity we carry out.

Duration of activity

The longer the duration of the activity, the more robust the boot will have to be since there is greater exposure to wear. The weight of the boot and its comfort also count a lot.


We have to be clear that the terrain in which we are going to be, is the one that determines the boot that we are going to use, since the steeper it is, the higher the shaft of the boot must be; more critical will be the firmness of the sole that will cover hardnesses that go from the most flexible to the total rigidity. Depending on the slope, the sole engraving will be of one design or another, and finally, depending on how rocky the terrain is, it will include reinforcement on the toe and rubber bands on the sides and heel.


The climate in which we will be is undoubtedly decisive for the correct choice of boot. For dry and hot temperatures, membranes will be dispensed with, and porous fabrics will seek to facilitate perspiration. In contrast, otherwise, waterproof materials will seek humid and cold terrain accompanied by membranes that make it sweat. The more complex the environment, it may include a heel and toe tab for crampons. It may consist of an integrated gaiter. The more the outer fabric will opt for plastic materials, the more warmth and thermal insulation. It may even include padding and booties Internal.


Integrated leggings and their zippers

If the boot has an integrated gaiter, it must be highly resistant to abrasion due to the friction caused by sharp rocks during climbing and resistant to perforation in case we inadvertently stick the crampon so that it doesn’t tear. They should also preferably be waterproof and necessarily windproof so that they retain heat and we do not lose temperature at high speed in the face of solid and icy mountain winds. For this reason, light windproof fabric or a super resistant but porous fabric does not work for us.

The weak point of the integrated leggings is their zippers. Again, these mustn’t let air pass through to maintain the internal temperature. The most effective zippers are watertight and heat-sealed with rubber and those that have a velcro fold or flap to cover the zipper on the outside. The system will be even more effective the more redundant it is, so we must value the one that also has internal flaps. If they do not have any protection against the wind, the hiking boots will provide us with less shelter.

internal loot

The inner bootie is used only in double boots, either plastic or leather. The function of the inner boot is to isolate the foot from the cold outside and keep it warm and as dry as possible; Therefore, it must be made of breathable materials that expel moisture to the outside. The inner booty mustn’t fit too tight as it could hinder blood circulation in our foot, which will make us more prone to frostbite when temperatures are shallow. For this reason, we must assess that the booty being well tied to our foot, in turn, allows the blood to flow correctly.

Finally, the remaining factors that will improve the boot’s performance will be the feeling it gives us and whether it has rubber, silicone, or polyurethane on its sole to allow us to use it for short walks outside the store without having to change our walking shoes. for the snow


The reinforcements around the boot are essential to increase the useful life of the boot, protect the foot from possible cuts with crampons and maintain more excellent waterproofness.


It is one of the essential parts of the boot because if it has good styling and grip, it will allow you to walk and climb more safely on all types of terrain.

In the market, we find some types of soles for high mountain boots, but the most famous is the Vibram sole, which has a variety of models depending on the use and technicality of the footwear; some of the models used by various brands are detailed below. In the market.

Mulaz: This sole is recommended for safe walks on all types of terrain. 360° helical tread makes it especially effective on ascents and descents. Comprehensive support at the “Climbing Zone” tip is instrumental in rocky passages where grip is essential Guarantees lateral stability.

Teton: Designed for mountaineering, this sole offers the best grip in all types of conditions. Thanks to its heel line, there is traction on all terrain and Powerful braking. Safe even in mud thanks to its large number of channels.

Dualgrip: Made with the famous Vibram Mont rubber, it is widely recognized for its high resistance to abrasion and grip on all types of surfaces. This sole offers excellent grip thanks to “Elliptical Teeth Vibrate Multi-Traction.” Its open design keeps the exclusive free of debris. The rubber toe cap provides extra protection when crossing moraines and rocky terrain.

Laces and lacing system

In addition to these generic designs, several models are developed, especially for various brands of boots. The activity conditions the hardness of the sole. The more vertical it is, the more its rigidity must increase, becoming rigid to climb. It is so since a soft sole on very steep terrain would force a hyperflexion of the front third of the foot, which could damage our fingers and cause us much pain. On the other hand, walking with a rigid sole on flat ground overloads the leg muscles more and can hurt the sole in the long run. That is why it is essential to have the right to do.

The more the boot holds our foot, the less chafing we will have. For this reason, you must have a practical and comfortable lacing system. If the rivets for the laces have a metal sphere, it acts as a pulley and facilitates more adjustment than conventional rings (while damaging the laceless when under tension).

The laces will be better if they have a water-repellent treatment and their jacket and core as if they were a small rope. A high thickness will make it easier to untie but will increase the weight (for those who look at each gram with a magnifying glass). Regarding their shape, they should be cylindrical instead of flat since the latter are less resistant and more difficult to untie. Finally, we must look for synthetic materials since we will have a cotton cord permanently soaked in anything that has some snow, puddles, or wet vegetation, and its resistance will decrease.

Fixation for Crampons

High mountain boots are made to use with crampons, so they have fixings for them. Some shoes have crampon fixation only on the heel. This type of hiking boots can use semi-automatic adjustment and strap crampons, and we have hiking boots that have the fixing for crampons both in the heel and in the toe of the boot, this type of boot will be able to use any crampon on the market.


We can find two types of high mountain boots in the current market, mainly plastic boots and leather boots.

plastic hiking boots

Most of the plastic boots are made of Pebax, a plastic that is quite resistant to wear and tear and is highly flexible.

“Pebax is the commercial name of a type of thermoplastic elastomer or TPE (material with properties between those of a plastic and a rubber). It is a derivative of Polyamide (Polyamide-Polyether copolymer) but with superior properties in terms of elasticity (even at low temperatures), lightness, impact resistance, etc. It is used in parts that require good dynamic properties and resistance to low temperatures.

Friends, it is an engineering material developed for certain specific applications including hiking/ski boots (there are various grades of PEBAX depending on the specific application).”

The advantages of plastic boots are their lower price than those made with other materials, more excellent torsional rigidity (interesting for crampon), greater longevity, lack of maintenance, and, above all, the impermeability of the exterior.

The disadvantages of plastic boots are that their volume is more significant, lower precision, and higher weight. And above all, they are less comfortable walking on the snow during the approach, such as ascending a corridor or a mixed itinerary.

The weight logically varies somewhat depending on the model and its insulating capacity. Almost all are around 2,500 grams, the complete pair of number 42 EU. The plastic expedition boots, whose extreme temperature range is usually -30°C without boot covers.

They can be a reasonable choice for someone who will do a non-technical ascent in pretty cold conditions. For example, the Alps in winter or light expeditions to peaks of 6,000-7,000 meters).

leather hiking boots

Without a doubt, leather boots are much more comfortable during snowless approaches or climbing challenging routes. There are hyperlight boots that only weigh 1,600 grams for a pair of 42 and that for one-two day activities at temperatures not below -10ºC are pleasant to wear.

Leather boots with synthetic padding can work down to -20ºC, logically depending on their construction and user, and leather boots with integrated boot cover up to -30º/-40º.

The most established current trend for technical ascents with quite cold weather is acquiring a waterproof-breathable membrane boot. It is made of water-repellent leather 2.8 to 3.2 millimeters thick. Its thermal insulation is based on an overlap of up to 7 layers if we add the materials of the outer boot cover and the inner padding of the boot.

Logically, the thickness of the leather influences how ‘hot’ the shoe can be, but it is the synthetic materials that have the most significant role. Aramids/super polyamides (the best-known Kevlar), high-tenacity polyamides (Ballistic Cordura and similar), and coagulated polyurethanes for microfiber-type. Synthetic leather is occasionally used in the outer cut of the boot, which lightens the whole but is less insulating than synthetic leather for Natural skin.

Responsibility for the interior is taken by boots made of thermo-bonded fibers such as Primaloft and Thinsulate, in double or triple layers, ubiquitous in mountaineering gloves. Suppose it includes boot covers or an outer guide integrated into the cut. In that case, Cordura appears again -or similar high-tenacity polyester, EVA in thicknesses up to 6 millimeters maximum, neoprene in thicknesses from 1 to 1.

How to choose hiking boots Tips for hiking

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