Hiking boots are an essential part of any outdoor enthusiast’s gear. They protect your feet when you’re walking through rough terrain, and their hard soles give you traction when the trail is slippery.

This article will help guide you through all aspects of buying hiking boots-from deciding which type of boot to buy to taking care of them once they’ve been used a few times. We’ll even talk about how best to break in new hiking boots!

Types Of Hiking Boots

There are 3 basic types of hiking boots as follows:

Low Cut Hiking Shoes

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Low-cut models with flexible midsoles are ideal for day hikes. For long-distance hikers, some ultralight backpackers opt for trail-running shoes.

Boots For Day Hikes

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These are mid-cut to high-cut and are suitable for short backpacking excursions with light loads. In contrast to stout backpacking boots, they lack the support and durability of flexible, easy-to-break-in hiking boots.

Backpacking Boots

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Used for multi day tours in the backcountry, they can carry heavier loads of gear. There are many high-cut leggings with excellent support that wrap above the ankles. 

Designed for on- and off-trail use with stiffer midsoles than lighter footwear, they are durable and supportive.

What Are The Benefits Of Buying Hiking Boots

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  • Hiking boots protect your feet from rough terrain
  • Hiking boots give you traction on slippery trails

What Kind Of Hiking Boot Is Best

There are three categories for hikers depending on their preference in weight carried per footstep:

Midweight, Lightweight and Heavyweights.

As we will discuss in more detail below, every type has advantages and disadvantages.

Midweight Boots

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Weigh between 500 grams and 900 grams per boot (about a pound), while lightweight boots are usually around 400-500, and heavyweight boots average 800+ ounces/pair. Here is the breakdown of why each type might be best for you.

These boots fall right in between lightweights and heavyweight boots when it comes to weight and durability. They are a good option for average hikers who don’t need the extra protection of heavyweight boots but still want something more substantial than lightweight hiking boots.

Heavyweights (800g+)

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The weight savings of these boots usually comes at the cost of durability. If you’re looking to carry less weight over long distances or through very rough terrain (e.g., off-trail hiking), then this boot will suit you.

Lightweights (400-500)

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This type offers a good balance between weight and durability while still keeping some weight savings over heavier boots. They are most popular with day hikers and casual backpackers who need a lightweight boot to keep their pack weight low but don’t have very demanding needs for durability or traction on rough trails.

How Do I Know What Size To Get

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There are several different options available to ensure that you get the right size.

First, you can measure your foot just like when measuring for shoes.

 If this option is too inconvenient, then there’s also an alternative-simply go down one full shoe size from what you normally wear in athletic or running shoes (e.g., if you usually wear size 11 running shoes, you should get a size of men’s hiking boots). 

If you’re still not sure what to order, then there is one more option that your feet is measured at an outdoor sports store when you try on different types of footwear.

Sizing charts will help you know what size is fitted for your feet.

How To Take Care Of Hiking Boots

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You must clean them after every use and apply the leather protector cream on a regular basis to protect them from moisture damage. If it gets wet, then dry with paper towels or cloth only; don’t rub as this may scratch the waterproofing.

Keeping them away from direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place may prevent the colour from fading or cracking.

What Is A Good Price Range For Me To Look At When Looking At Shoes

This is a very good question, and it really depends on your budget. If you’re looking to spend under $100, then we recommend checking out Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, which has some of the best reviews for an affordable boot.

If you want something more advanced with Gore-Tex waterproofing, then check out the La Sportiva Men’s Makalu GTX Hiking Boot.

For footwear that is even more advanced, lightweight, and has additional cushioning, have a look at the Salomon Quest Prime Waterproof Mid Goretex Hiking Boot. We recommend clicking here to check the current price as it has the best reviews for a boot in this category.

If you’re looking to spend over $200, then we recommend checking out Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot, which has great reviews for its high quality

Do You Have Any Tips On How To Break In My New Pair Of Hiking Boots

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First, try to avoid wearing your hiking boots in the rain or snow as this may cause damage.

During the breaking in process for new boots, it is also a good idea to wear thick socks and ensure that they are snug around your foot but not too tight to prevent blisters.

You can break them by walking on soft surfaces like dirt trails, grass etc.

You can also use a boot stretcher to help speed up the process of breaking in new boots. Try to wear them around the house or when you are doing errands as often as possible if you don’t have time to do this. Wearing thicker socks will definitely help with the break-in process and reduce any chafing.

FAQ'S

Can I break in hiking boots by wearing them around the house?

Yes, you can definitely break in your new pair of hiking boots at home. You can also try using a boot stretcher to help speed up the process.

What is the best way to wear my new hiking boots?

You can break them by walking on soft surfaces like dirt trails, grass etc. You can also use a boot stretcher to help speed up the process of breaking in new boots.

When it comes to hiking boots, how should they fit?

A boot should fit properly so they can put roughly one finger between your heel and the back. The boot is too large or too small if they get significantly more or less than that. 

What's the best way to take care of my new shoes?

You can clean them after every use and apply leather protector cream on a regular basis to protect them from moisture damage. Do not wear hiking boots in the rain or snow, as this may cause damage.