The first mistake I made in buying a new pair of hiking boots was buying them in my size. When we first started hiking I didn't know much about hiking or gear. We went to a local sporting goods store to try on hiking boots. I wanted something cute and comfortable. I knew I wanted high tops for the ankle support. Unfortunately, there wasn't many cute ones to choose from but I found a pair that was comfy and high top. I purchased a size eight. In dress shoes/boots I normally were a seven and a half. I went up a half size to compensate for the thicker hiking socks.
Out on the trail, I quickly learned that my hiking boots were too small. When you're on a flat trail or go up a steep hill they fit just fine but coming back down that incline your feet slide forward in the boots smooshing your toes into the boots. Yes, I said smooshing. I'm from Texas and we say that. Needless to say, my little piggies weren't very happy with me. No matter how tight I laced them, you can't beat gravity, and my foot would slide.
I logged plenty of miles in those boots but the next time we went hiking boot shopping we went to a store more equip for selling hiking boots. It had a ramp you could walk up and down when trying on the boots. This time around I purchased a size 10! Much better! No more toe smooshing!
Above all, size is the most important thing to think about when ordering or purchasing hiking boots.
Two reasons to rethink your size:
- Thick socks
Something else to consider, waterproof boots. Darren and I both have completely waterproof boots. Not rain boots but waterproof hiking boots. At first, we weren't sure if we would need waterproof or not but it sure has been nice especially since we are waterfall chasers. We have been able to walk right through shallow streams, right up to waterfalls and even wore them on the rugged beaches of Northern California when the water was freezing our toes were still dry! I personally don't think the waterproofing makes them hotter than usual, maybe it is the great wicking socks that keep our feel cool.
Purchasing hiking boots is completely optional obviously but I can tell you first hand that my high tops have saved me many times from sprained ankles on rugged or rocky trails. We have seen people in all types of shoes out on the trails. From dress boots, to flip flops and everything in between. I can't imagine doing that to my feet. I want to enjoy my hike and keep my feet safely blister-free for my next hike!
Our current boots our older models now but are similar to these:
Another option for you may be trail running shoes. My current favorites are pictured below. I am not currently running any trails but the tread on the bottom serves the same purpose when hiking those trails. I love that this shoe comes in cute colors and is very reasonably priced. I just ordered these pink ones from
Amazon. These shoes have outlasted my normal running shoes because of the thicker tread. When we are at home, we walk on a roughly paved road two-four miles every evening. The tread on these can handle it!
Overall things to consider when shopping for hiking boots/shoes:
- Size Matters
- High top vs. Low (we recommend high or mid)
- Waterproof vs. Mesh
- Sock type