John Muir Trail at Thousand Island Lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness, High Sierra, California.

Pro Tips For Buying the Right Hiking Boots

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Boots are the most important piece of hiking or backpacking gear you will buy: You can live with a mediocre pack or a cheap tent (as many of us have), but poorly fitting boots are often a trip ender. Trouble is, boots are also the most difficult piece of gear to get right. Getting a good fit is only the first step, and a good retailer should help you do that. (First tip: Don’t settle for a mediocre or poor fit in boots—if they don’t feel good, they aren’t good.) The questions I get most often from readers focus on which type of boot to buy.

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2 Responses to Pro Tips For Buying the Right Hiking Boots

  1. Voyage Thirty-four   |  March 18, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    I’ve done a number of off-trail routes in Alaska wearing neoprene socks and running shoes. Stream crossings, boggy areas, etc., are not a problem as my feet stay warm and dry. At the end of the day, I turn them inside out and dry them out for the next day; running shoes dry fairly quickly as well. Living in Kodiak, Alaska, I’ve found the only truly “waterproof” boots are boots like Xtra Tufs, Muck boots, etc. I’ve tried hiking in wet areas with hiking boots and they just got waterlogged and heavy and never dried out.

    • michaellanza   |  March 18, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      I’m sure all of what you’re saying is true. I’m about to head out on a canyon hike in southern Utah where I’ll hike in water a lot and don’t plan to have dry feet, so I’ll wear neoprene socks. But the water will be snowmelt, quite frigid, so I expect my feet to feel chilled at times–not warm. Some hikers would not like that cold, wet feeling all the time, and waterproof boots do keep feet dry in many situations. I just took a very wet, four-day hut trek in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, an extremely wet place. My Gore-Tex boots kept my feet dry the entire first day, through a lot of off-trail hiking in wet vegetation and mud. My feet were wet for the remainder of the trip because we waded through water knee-deep or deeper.

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