How Should Hiking Boots Fit? 6 Tips to Follow
How should hiking boot fit? You almost don’t need to worry about the looks. Once it’s comfy and durable, you’ll walk several miles without hurting your feet.
See, my first hiking experience didn’t go well. Though I had a fun and healthy experience along the line, the joy is incomparable to the pain of the blisters on my feet. Not until I returned home that I notice the origin of the whole issue was my wicked pair of hiking boots.
If you’ve experienced the same or want to avoid it in your first hiking, here’s how to choose the hiking boots perfectly made for you.
How should hiking boots fit?
The goal for choosing the perfect hiking boots is to prioritize comfort over features/look. If this is your first time buying your dreamed hiking boots or you have similar experience to what I described above, here’s how your hiking boots should fit before settling for them.
1. The shoe length should fit.
First things first, you’ve got to check if the length of the boots is moderate. If you ever slide in your leg and your toes bend inside the boot, don't go further; just drop the boot. That pair isn’t for you.
A comfortable pair of hiking boots should accommodate your feet length and leave some space for adjustment. Here’s how to check:
- Check your feet for the longer ones if you've got them in varying lengths.
- Now, put on the socks you intend to wear for the hiking.
- Loosen up the shoelaces, insert your longer foot, then stand on your feet.
- You should sense the comfortability right now, but that’s not all. Push your foot in the sense that your toes hit the front wall of the shoe.
- Now, let someone insert a finger into the space left behind your heel.
- You can also do the same by yourself if you've got no one to assist you.
The goal is to make the space accommodate a finger passively. If yes, then you’re on point. However, the space shouldn't be too wide to accommodate two fingers or too narrow that it can't take one.
2. Don’t overlook the shoe width as well
Checking for only the length isn't enough to make your near-perfect pair of hiking boots. If the boot is too wide, you'll likely get blisters; and if it’s too narrow, your body won’t appreciate the severe pain you’re about to put your feet into.
So, how should hiking boots fit in the width? It’s simple; just ensure the width is neither too tight nor loose but snug.
To confirm that,
- Keep the foot inside the boot, then lace it up.
- Try moving your legs normally to ensure the boot isn’t squeezing your feet or crushing your toes.
- Also, your feet shouldn't be sagging inside the boot.
If you got that right and you still feel well, chances are you’ve got your perfect pair of hiking boots. But that’s not all.
3. It's time to check your heels too.
One reason I got painful blisters after my first hiking experience was because my heels didn’t stay in their position. Normally, you should be able to lace up your boots in such a way that they hold your heels tight. If not, you'll have a lot of friction in your journey, and you won't like its aftermath.
Most hiking boots hit above the ankle a bit with curves, allowing you to end the lacing there. However, that's not all; you can use it to hold tight your heels, so they don’t end up swaying here and there while walking.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Lace the top of the shoe snugly till you reach the curving point on the shoe.
- Now, instead of continuing the culture to the rest of the top, pause there. Lace the curved top tightly in such a way that it holds your heels firmly.
Doing that helps reduce friction inside the shoe. Hence, eliminating foot pains up to an extent during your hiking.
4. Time to test run the boots!
You're going to walk for several hours in several locations while hiking. So, it makes sense to test run the boots now before settling down to purchase them as your long-term hiking companion.
After putting all the tips above in their places, try on the shoes indoors for a couple of minutes (usually 15-20 minutes) to see if they fit. If they do, you probably won't have problems during your hiking.
By trying them on, I mean you should simulate embarking on a regular hiking journey. If the boots fit well right now, you are optimistic of not returning with bruises and blisters when you go for the “real” hiking.
Also, you'll want to carry your backpack — like you're ready to hike now — while trying out the new shoes. Your weight will increase when you're fully loaded and would expand your feet inside the shoes.
So, you must try the shoes at home, carrying your regular backpack before heading out on your journey.
5. The boots should fit in the evening as well.
Your feet are likely going to enlarge after a long day. The change is more apparent if you’ve been sitting or even walking for a while. So, it makes sense to test run your hiking boots then. After all, you'll be walking for several hours, and your feet won't remain the all through.
What that means is, testing the boots when your feet are in their "normal" size isn't enough. Another round of test when your feet has enlarged would give you the perfect picture of what to expect when you embark on your footslog.
6. Besides fitting, the material of the shoe matters too.
After you've ascertained your new pair of hiking boots fits well, also ensure they can breathe freely.
You may be tempted to get a pair of waterproof shoes, but that's not a great deal since you'll be walking for several hours and your feels will become wet.
If the sweat coming from your feet can't escape natively because of the waterproof material, then you should reconsider.
For summertime hiking, we recommend boots made with breathable materials like mesh. In that way, they dry up faster when wet.
7. Hiking is fun – only if you have the proper boots.
Just like what happened to me on my first hiking, your pair of hiking boots can either make or break your day. If you’ve got a pair of comfy hiking boots that fits you without cutting through the corners, you’ll walk several miles without feeling discomfort.
And if you’ve got the wrong hiking boot earlier and don’t want to make the same mistake now, the tips mentioned above should help you out.
One thing to note is to always prioritize "comfort over features/looks" when shopping for your dreamed hiking boots.