Firstly, let us make one thing clear. Both men and women have the same parameters to choose from when buying hiking boots. The features to look for do not differ. Therefore, this post holds good for both genders.
When you go hiking, you encounter all sorts of unexplored terrain, which can be uneven, and where you come across pits and have to wade through pools of water.
The characteristics will, therefore, differ in both types of walking gears.
Hiking boots are also referred to as hill boots. People who go mountaineering call them mountaineering boots. These are all synonyms and refer to the same type of boots.
Boots used when climbing, hiking, hill climbing or rock climbing, or walking on very uneven ground, rocky terrain, and possibly unexplored surfaces need some extra features as compared to the walking shoes.
You may be stepping on pebbles, and stones, in small ditches and uphill surfaces. Hiking boots are made to help you do that with more comfort and ease.
Hiking footwear extends more upwards and covers the entire ankle. They are firm and support the ankle so that the ankles do not twist or strain because of the uneven movements of the ankles on the uneven surfaces.
Hiking boots are mainly used for climbing, mountaineering, hiking, and hunting. They hold the foot and leg straight without hindering their movements. Their particular design gives the best possible fit and makes your hiking experience more pleasurable and comfortable.
You could go backpacking carrying your gear on your back. These excursions could extend beyond one day and involve long hikes. All the more reason you should take extra care when you go to buy your hiking footwear.
The tips given below serve as a guide for both men and women when buying your hiking footwear. Look for the following features. You don’t want a footsore after a hike instead of blister-free feet.
How to select good hiking boots? 12 Features to look for
1) Where do you go to buy your hiking boots?
The best place you could go to buy your hiking boots is a store that has multiple brands and a wide variety of footwear. This will help you look for hiking boots that will have all the features described below.
2) Choosing the size
Try on the hiking boots, which correspond to your normal shoe size with your hiking socks on. Walk around, flex, and extend your toes several times. Do your feet feel comfortable? If not, try a bigger or smaller size. Walk around in the store for at least 10 minutes. Your feet must feel absolutely free and comfortable.
3) Foot support
Your hiking boot must be rigid to support your ankle and your foot from all sides to prevent your foot from being damaged due to twisting while walking on uneven surfaces.
They must be light to reduce the strain on your foot and leg muscles. The ideal weight of hiking boots is 2 pounds. However, any pair that is less than 3.3 pounds is considered lightweight.
5) Arch support
The boot must support the arch of your foot firmly and not allow the arch to flatten under pressure. Make sure you can insert your own custom insole, which you can try and be able to choose the most comfortable fitting one.
A cushioned insole of foam will help here. You should feel your arch of the foot is supported well. You must insert the insoles when and before you purchase your boots.
Insoles wear out over time. You must replace them as soon as this happens.
6) Toe space
There should be a comfortable distance, say about half an inch, between the toes and the inner front portion of the shoe. This prevents your toes from being cramped and allows for comfortable movement of the toes when you hike.
Your hiking boots must be made of water-resistant material and not allow moisture due to exposure from a wet hiking surface to seep inside the boot. Moisture can cause blisters on your feet.
To attain this, your shoes must be made of a waterproof/breathable membrane or treated with an exterior chemical treatment. It could be Gore-Tex or a similar lining such as eVent that offers waterproof qualities and breathability.
8) Outer sole
The outer soles of the boots must be made to grip the walking surface. Hard rubber with deep lugs is best. These will help you to walk comfortably on rocky terrain, which can be slippery.
You should use laces made of nylon-braided cords. This will ensure a comfortable firm fit. Tie your laces tight without hurting your feet. You can check how to tie your laces at mountainwarehouse.com
Your hiking boots should have padded scree collars, which will protect your Achilles tendon from injury due to chafing. Scree collars are found at the top rear end of your hiking boot.
11) Type of leather
Ideally, your boots should be made of breathable leather. This allows the sweat and the moisture to evaporate through the material of the boots and keep your feet dry.
12) Hiking socks
Lastly, wear your specially chosen hiking socks before you try out your boots.