How to choose the right pair of hiking boots

A little guide to help you find your ideal hiking boots!

Walking through the woods on a vigorous hike, travelling through shallow waterbeds or across spring snowfields gets more and more exhausting with every step. Do you know if your feet are as excited as you, or not? – It’s imperative that they have the right hiking boots with the correct padding and protection.

We know that choosing the right pair of hiking boots can transform into a daunting experience. Keep in mind that you should forget about looks and think twice if your friends recommend you something because their feet are not identical to yours.

The most important features to consider are:

  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Weight
  • Stability
  • Warmth
  • Water resistance

It’s better to opt for boots, even though they are heavier,  instead of shoes, because are more protective and provide more support.

Most hiking boots are generally composed of textile with leather, suede or synthetic reinforcements. Usually, the proportion of textile to other materials is lower to provide more support and protection.

What’s the ideal fit for hiking shoes & boots?

If your feet don’t move around when you walk, but you can wiggle your toes without them touching the front of the shoe, you’ve found the right pair of boots for you! Wiggle your toes and start your adventure!

It is crucial to try the boots with a pair of socks similar to the ones you intend to wear on your adventure. Socks can have a significant influence on the overall fit of the boots, that’s why you should consider hiking socks because they are going to provide you with added cushioning and temperature control. A big plus: they are anti-bacterial!

The terrain importance

To get the ideal pair of boots for hiking, you will need to understand better the terrain you are going to explore. If you are hiking in rough terrain, you will need a pair of hiking boots with gaiters – these will cover the vulnerable tops of your footwear to protect your feet from the elements entirely. Gaiters for hiking are usually lightweight and breathable and will offer the necessary protection against rocks, grit and light rain.

If you are a light hiker, you should seek out a boot that feels light on the feet. These types of boots are comparable to hiking shoes with a higher ankle shaft height.

Icy-cold and wet or hot and dry?

Hot, dry climates – you will need some boots that will keep your feet fresh and sweat-free. Now the focus is on airflow, not on waterproofing.

Icy-cold and wet climates – you will need waterproof, well-insulated boots. Crampons that are flexible are a must.

Types of cuts and hiking boot styles

Because hiking boots come in different cuts, you should pick a pair that is ideal for your kind of adventure:

  • Low cut – for lightweight, casual hiking. These boots are best worn on well-maintained trails. In this case, the best is light hiking shoes, which are perfect for day hiking.
  • Mid-cut – more ankle support and balance for the ones who are going to deviate on more difficult terrains (backpacking boots – built for the multi-day trek for a variety of terrain)
  • High-cut – the best for adventurous hikers, who are thinking about exploring potentially tenuous ground. (mountaineering boots – designed for rocky territory, glacial trails, snowy paths).

Hope this little guide will help you find the hiking boots that are going to be your best companion on any hiking tour. If you choose smartly, they will take you for sure on many adventures!

Stay safe and see you on the trail!

Author: Walking Holiday Ireland

Cliff Waijenberg is a passionate hiker, nature enthusiast, and the proud founder and owner of Walking Holiday Ireland. Cliff has always been captivated by the Emerald Isle's breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural history. His love for the outdoors and genuine desire to share Ireland's hidden gems with travellers worldwide led him to establish Walking Holiday Ireland.