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Q&A

What do I need to look for in good, quality hiking boots?

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My wife and I are going to buy some hiking boots as we've been using regular tennis shoes anytime we go on a hike.

What are the things I need to keep in mind when looking for a good set of quality hiking boots (materials, type etc)?

We generally go temperate hiking, so don't need something that protects against terrible cold. Also, we do walk along rivers and occasionally will get wet.

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This post was sourced from https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/q/101. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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3 answers

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My experience in this field is quite limited, but this is what I'd look for:

  • Light - Hiking boots should be as light as possible. Believe me when I say that walking around when carrying a ton sucks.
  • A proper sole - and by proper I mean one that isn't too hard or too soft. Too hard will provide little to no traction on slippery surfaces, and one that is too soft will wear out quickly.
  • Water resistant - It would be hard to speak of water-proof, but hiking boots should definitely be water resistant. A quick slip should not render your feet completely wet.

And as a sidenote, do wear those boots in before a long hike. And if there is little time, carry some duct-tape, as was mentioned in this article.

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  • Correct size. That might sound obvious, but consider also width and height (of the instep). Each make is a bit different, so there's a need to try on many before you find one that fits really good. For all-day trips get boots one size larger than your usual office shoes are.
  • Vibram sole
  • If properly maintained, leather upper is much more waterproof and durable than fabric/suede. Unfortunately, it is also heavier.
  • The fewer seams the better. Boots with many seams, holes etc. usually are not very waterproof :)
  • Gore-Tex inside is a big plus. Especially for multi day hikes in wet weather, when shoes won't fully dry overnight.
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Are you sure you need boots? I absolutely love my trail running shoes (La Sportiva Wildcats). They are much lighter than boots, and while they aren't water proof, they dry out very quickly due to being mostly mesh uppers. On hot days, you can literally feel the breeze through the uppers. It is very nice for me as my feet tend to sweat a lot in boots.

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This post was sourced from https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/108. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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