Sunday, May 1, 2016

About Hiking Boots

About Hiking Boots

Men and women who enjoy the outdoors should invest in a pair of sturdy hiking boots. The best pair of hiking boots is relative, depending on the function, trail terrain, weather and weight of gear. There are many types and styles of hiking boots available for active hikers. Learning about hiking boot benefits, types and features can assist hikers of all levels of athletic ability purchase the right pair.


    A properly-fitted hiking boot has many benefits. The American Hiking Society calls footwear "the single most important piece of equipment" for hiking, so always consult with an educated boot sales professional at a reliable store to determine the right type for one's needs. A good hiking boot lasts a long time, protects feet from harsh weather conditions, assists in carrying light to heavy backpack loads, contributes to conquering tough hiking terrain and ensures foot comfort the length of the journey.


    Purchasing the correct hiking boot size and fit is very important to reap maximum benefit. There are a few preventative measures that can be taken to avoid purchasing boots that are too small. First, go to a well-respected store to purchase hiking boots, such as REI or Eastern Mountain Sports, where the sales associates are knowledgeable and active hikers themselves. Consider trying on hiking boots in the late morning or afternoon, after your feet have had sufficient time to naturally swell. Bring proper hiking socks to the store and try them on with the hiking boots, as hiking socks can be thicker than regular wear socks; this will help avoid purchasing a pair of boots that are too snug on the feet. When trying on hiking boots in the store, fit boots properly (toes should not touch the front of the boot), and walk around. If an incline is available to customers, walk up and down a manufactured hill to experience the boot at work. Note that brand sizes may be inconsistent and not all boots work well with different foot shapes, so do not purchase hiking boots without trying them on first.


    Consider hiking boot quality before purchasing. Hiking boots need to hold up to the function promise (and keep potential injuries or blisters at bay) on challenging, moderate and leisurely hikes. Study brand names, such as Chaco, Merrell or Zamberlan. These boots are often put through rigorous testing methods to verify quality, reliability, comfort and durability. Read brand reviews on consumer research websites and hiking magazines. Usually you get what you pay for, so investing more money upfront can result in many years of comfortable hiking boot usage.


    There are many different types of hiking boots available to accommodate many complex layers of outdoor activity. Know your hiking needs and the hiking boot type features to determine the right boot. Consider hiking sandals, such as Chaco or Teva varieties, for foot breathability in warm climates and easier hikes. Running outside? Trail running shoes give greater foot stability than regular sneakers, have extra padding for tougher terrains and protect feet from the elements. Hiking shoes are generally the entry-level type of hiking boot, offering foot support and flexibility. According to REI shoe experts, these boots are best for light hiking. Looking for a good boot for light-to-moderate backpacking loads? Choose a hiking boot that has tougher leather and synthetic materials, is more rigid (to provide foot, bridge and ankle support) and that takes a little bit of time to break in comfortably. Heavy boots, designed for extensive backpacking trips, give proper support while carrying heavy loads over long distances for an extended period of time. These boots are sturdy, reliable, protective and can withstand challenging weather and terrain conditions (such as mountaineering). The complexity of hiking boot types warrants a credible sales professional to help assure the proper type and fit for one's hiking needs.

Expert Insight

    Utilize the American Hiking Society and local hiking resources to assist in proper hiking boot purchase. Honestly evaluate your hiking skill level to determine the proper shoe immediately and a style that can transition to more strenuous hiking conditions. Consider how often hiking boots may need to be replaced and how to determine when this is necessary, such as examining sole tread, lack of comfort and worn linings.

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