I explore a few important points you must consider before buying a pair of hiking boots.
Right Fit – Most Important
The fit is the most obvious point to consider when choosing a pair of hiking shoes or boots. As a matter of fact, picking a pair which don’t fit well leads to blisters. In turn, these blisters turn the enjoyment of you hike into a nightmare. For this reason, when you buy your shoes, wear them around the house for a few days. If they’re comfortable and don’t give you blisters then they’re the right for for you. If not, send them back and get a different size or a different pair altogether. Finally, this point may seem obvious but as I hike I’ve seen countless other hikers with their shoes off playing with blister plasters. I’d rather be enjoying the views and taking pictures!
The second most important point to consider when buying hiking shoes is if they’re waterproof. Walking with wet feet is not fun and also leads to blisters even when the shoes fit. True, a little bit of rain won’t soak through your shoes. I find walking through wet grass, puddles and unavoidable bogs are the main culprit in getting your feet wet. As a result, make sure your hiking boots are made from a waterproof material such as Gore Tex.
Grip is extremely important because if your hiking boots slip on flat surfaces you could fall over. Not only is falling over embarrassing but you’ll also get your clothes dirty and could cut or injure yourself. Lastly, get a hiking shoe with good grip so you can confidently walk without the constant worry of losing your balance.
If you’re only walking short distances then you don’t really need to consider sole comfort. In contrast, if you’re walking long distances sole comfort is incredibly important. A combination of a hard sole and a hard surface will take its toll on the underside of your foot during a days hike. Consider inserting some comfort insoles into your shoes. Your feet will thank you at the end of the day, especially on a multi day hike such as the Pennine Way.
How They Look
Some people don’t care how their hiking shoes look. However, f you’re like me, how they look is extremely important. Logically though, the fit and cost are of course more important. You won’t look cool sat beside the hiking trail treating your blisters!
Will you be walking on country roads? If so the I recommend brightly coloured hiking shoes with reflectors so traffic can see you. Are you hiking and looking for wildlife? I have a pair of green camouflage hiking shoes which do not attract the attention of birds or animals when I’m out photographing them.
Hiking Boots or Hiking Shoes?
For me personally, I always choose hiking shoes over boots. Hiking shoes are more comfortable, light, quick drying and easy to pack. However, reasons to consider hiking boots are they give you more ankle support. Additionally, you can stand deeper in puddles and bogs.
Good Luck Finding the Perfect Hiking Shoes / Boots
Once you’ve found the perfect pair of hiking shoes it’s time to go out an enjoy nature. Whatever the weather and whatever the terrain, the perfect hiking boots will guarantee you maximise your experience in nature.
Read about the most beautiful day on the Pennine Way.