Today's hiking boots are not your grandfather's combat boots. Advances in design and materials help produce high performance footwear. The boots you put on your feet are an investment in comfort and will affect your performance no matter how many mile you plan to hike.
Be aware that brand new hiking boots tend to cause blisters. The wrong time to realize you should have broken in your boots is not on the trail on day 2. Break in your boots prior to hiking in them, simply wear them around the house and around town for a week. This should put 10 to 15 miles on them. Note that if the boots are thicker soled, it may require more distance to break them in. As a precaution, ensure you bring along first aid items to help care for a blister.
Hiking boots are one of those items where you get what you pay for. This type of footwear is expensive for a reason - a lot of research and effort goes into developing high end boots.The general rule of thumb is to buy the best quality you can afford. Also look at how frequently you plan on using the hiking boots and spend a little more if you plan on hiking often.There is nothing like a good pair of hiking boots. Remember, boots provide support, protection and safety.
Selecting a Boot
Leather is still the best material. Top grain, treated leather is a must for durability and long life. There are also some hybrid leather and nylon combinations to choose from. Just remember that leather boots are least likely to change in shape and flexibility over time. They are also less susceptible to damage from the sun.
Good traction is important to protect against slipping and falling. Most boots come with deep treads. The deeper the tread, the better the sole will grip the trail over rocks and roots. The trade off is that deep tread soles also collect mud and can require more maintenance and cleaning throughout the hike.
Make sure the boot fits before you begin your trip. Wear it around the store and walk up and down stairs is possible. Have your foot measured by the salesperson. Be sure to shop around and consider buying on line. On line shoe stores can provide a real value and savings, just make sure you understand the return policy in case the boot doesn't fit. Reputable stores give you the option of returning or exchanging the boots for little or no fee.You can usually find deeply discounted, top quality boots on line because they have less overhead than local brick and mortar stores. Read reviews on the particular shoe and the on line store itself.
Decide how much weight you you want to carry around on your feet. You shouldn't make a choice based on weight alone but trimming ounces off your boots will tire you out slower and increase your overall energy. Just understand that going light can make your bones and joints suffer if you sacrifice performance and comfort that comes with a heavier boot.
Look for a Gore-Tex lining for waterproof protection. Today's top-quality hiking boots, are made with a Gore-Tex lining that keeps water out while allowing perspiration to escape
Enjoy your hike!