How to Choose the Best Hiking Boots

Do you love hiking, or are you maybe just getting into this hobby? Whether you are new to hiking or you have been doing it for ages, one thing is certain: you need to have good hiking boots. Of course, many people are not quite sure just what they should be looking for in their boots. Since there are so many options out there, it can become confusing rather quickly. The following tips should give you a better idea of just what you should be looking for in hiking boots.

Types of Hiking Boots

There are many different styles of hiking boot available today, and different types of boots are going to be better suited for different types of hikers. Let’s take a look at the options.

Day Hiking: Those who are simply going out for a day hike might like what is referred to as hiking shoes. These have similarities to sneakers in terms of how they feel, but they tend to be bulkier and durable enough for the woods while remaining lightweight.

Backpacking: Boots for backpacking are going to work well for many different types of terrain, and they tend to be a fantastic all-purpose hiking boot. They will typically have a high cut that wraps around the ankles. This will give them more support. They also tend to be very durable. They can work well on-trail or off-trail, and many backpacking boots are going to be waterproof.

Rough Terrain: For those who are going to be spending most of their time on very rough or snowy terrain, mountaineering boots tend to be the best option. They have great durability, and they are going to offer the highest quality support and ankle protection. Many of the boots that fall into this category will be waterproof and/or insulated. Some mountaineering boots will also be compatible with crampons, which makes them excellent for traversing mountains, ice, and snowpack.

Consider the Cut

You must also consider the height, also called the cut, of the boot. The one that is right for you will depend on the type of hiking that you are doing.

Low: Low cut boots (4-5” height) have quite a bit in common with running shoes, which could be a good solution for those who are going on

short hikes that are on easy trails. While these might be comfortable, one of the main cons of these types of boots is the fact that they do not provide as much protection and coverage, or support to the ankles, that taller boots do. These will typically be best suited for easy trails and day hiking, not as much for rough terrain.

Mid: The mid-cut boots (6-7”) are going to provide you with some additional support and protection for the ankle. They also help to keep you a bit safer from branches, thorns, and other items you might encounter on the trail. Mid-cut boots are usually going to need some breaking in before you head out for a day on the trail. While they are more durable than many of the low cut boots, they tend not to last as long as the high cut boots.

High: For those who like to explore both on and off the beaten path, having a high-cut boot (8” and up) is going to be the best option. They will provide fantastic support, as well as more protection from the elements. These boots tend to be a bit heavier, which means they could slow you down slightly or cause fatigue to set in sooner. Some models can take a long time to break in, and if you do not take the time to break them in properly, there is a chance they could cause blisters.

Choosing a Good Material

Choosing a hiking boot that is made from the right materials is important. There are several options that you can consider.

Synthetic: You can choose hiking boots made with synthetic materials, such as EVA or polyurethane. These are usually fairly lightweight, and they do not take too long to break in. One of the only real cons to this type of material is the fact that it is not very durable, and it may mean replacing your boots more often.

Full grain leather: Full grain leather is another option, and many quality boots are made from full grain leather because it is so durable. However, a boot made entirely from this material will be heavier than the other options, and it does not breathe as well.

Split grain leather and nylon: Boots that are made from a combination of split grain leather and nylon (or another synthetic) are the best of both worlds. These types of boots tend to be lightweight yet durable. Leather is used for the bulk of the boot, while synthetic meshes are added to improve breathability. You will find that in many cases, these boots tend to be cheaper than the full grain leather option.

Other Things to Consider

Of course, you will also have plenty of other elements to consider when it comes to choosing your hiking boots. Many of these will come down to a matter of preference. For example, do you prefer boots that lace up, or do you want zip boots? Are you going to be in an area where you feel waterproof boots are a necessity? Consider the ventilation, drainage ports, lugs, and even the color and overall design of the hiking boot to make sure it is what you want.

When researching boots, read reviews or talk to people who have worn and used them to give you a better understanding of how they are going to fit and hold up under real use. Also, if buying online, be sure to purchase from a seller that provides free exchanges like US Patriot Tactical in case they don’t fit right.

You now have some more knowledge that you can use when it comes to making a decision on the boots that you want for your hiking excursions. Take your time to find the boots that are ideal for your needs, and that will work well for you.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Valerie Johnston

Valerie Johnston has over a decade of experience in writing over survival skills, homesteading and self-sufficiency. With a Bachelor's in Agriculture, she enjoys helping others learn about their options in homesteading and survival prep and how to apply it to their lives.

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