If you like to hike as a hobby, it's important to take the time to select a good hiking boot. Hiking can be hard on your feet; therefore, whether you backpack far back into the woods or simply like to walk small trails, you'll want to wear footwear that keeps your feet healthy. There are several things to consider in selecting a hiking boot that's ideal for you.
1. Solid Sole
Look for a boot with a thick, hard sole. The sole protects your feet from rocks and branches on the ground when you're hiking. Otherwise, you may have sore feet after going just a short distance.
To test for a firm sole, press the bottom of the sole with your thumb. If the sole feels weak in the middle, move on to your next choice. You can also try twisting the sole of the boot. If the sole twists too easily, the boot may not provide adequate stability and protection against uneven ground you step on while hiking in the woods or mountains. A boot with a more rigid sole does a better job of protecting your feet.
2. Stiff Top and Sides
Choose a hiking boot that has a stiff top to hold your ankle in place. If you can bend down the top of the boot with your hands, it's not going to give you enough ankle support, and you could end up with a twisted ankle when hiking across rough terrain. Select a boot with sides that you can't bend down either. The sides of a boot should be stiff enough to keep your foot steady inside the boot – something that helps you maintain your balance as you walk. Some hiking boots have extra padding that makes them heavier to wear, but they help keep your feet stable.
3. Adequate Arch Support
Good arch support is important for the health of your feet, even when you're wearing hiking boots. That's why you need insoles that provide support for your arch.
Although many hiking boots come with a generic insole that doesn't provide ideal stability or comfort, you can buy aftermarket insoles that will give your feet added support and make for a more comfortable fit. If you have extremely high-arched feet and want to prevent foot problems, a podiatrist can make custom inserts for your new hiking boots.
4. Proper Fit
Once you find a hiking boot that will do the job you want, it's important to get the right size. The quality of a hiking boot doesn't mean much if you don't have the proper fit. For one thing, a fit that's too loose can lead to painful blisters.
When buying boots, try on more than one size until you find the best fit for your foot from toe to heel. You don't have the right size if your toes hit the front of the boot when you walk downhill and your foot slides forward.
There also shouldn't be too much space between the sides of your feet and sides of the boot. When you try on the boot, stand and move your toes to the very front of the boot. Do this test with the laces loosened and untied. There should be about a finger width between the back of the boot and heel of your foot. You don't want more or less space than that; otherwise, you may need a smaller or larger size boot.
Once you lace up the boot, if you can move your foot around too much inside, the boot is too wide. However, there should be enough space between your toes and the front of the boot to allow for wiggle room, but not too much. Conversely, while hiking boots should fit snugly, tight boots can cause bunions, ingrown toenails, and toenail fungus. Talk to your podiatrist, like http://www.betterfootcareohio.com, if you have foot health concerns.