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An essential element of any hike is the comfort of your feet. Whether you plan to take an afternoon hike down a local trail or a multi day hike across rugged mountain terrain Outside Sports has a hiking boot for your next hiking adventure. Shop in store or online for men's hiking boots and women's hiking boots from top brands including Salewa, Scarpa, Adidas, Lowa, Merrell shoes and more.

Hiking Boot Fit: Three Important Factors

How a boot fits is, without question, the most important factor when selecting a hiking boot. A good fit correctly addresses the 3 aspects of your foot:

1) Length: Your toes should wiggle easily inside your hiking boots or hiking shoes.

2) Width: Your feet should not slide around inside your hiking boots; nor should they be compressed from the sides creating what is known as "hot-spots".

3) Volume: The "bulk" of your foot should fit securely inside the hiking boots.

Matching the volume of the hiking boot to your foot is the most critical part of getting a good fitting boot. This has everything to do with controlling heel slip (blisters) and toe bang on downhill hiking (black toenails).

Hiking Boot Fit Guidelines:

  • Your heels should stay in place when you walk uphill.
  • Your feet should not slide forward when you walk downhill.
  • You should not be able to feel your toes hitting the end of the toebox.
  • You want just enough room to be able to wiggle your toes inside your hiking boots.

If, however, a boot feels like a winner, take it home and wear it around the clean confines of your home’s interior for several hours. If the boot still feels comfortable, you’ve made a good choice. That’s the goal: to find hiking boots that fit like a dream.

Types of Hiking/Tramping Boots

The first thing to determine when choosing your hiking boots is to consider the kind of activity they will be used for. Hikers who spend a few hours on a well-packed track will need a less complex hiking boot than a backpacker on a 7 day hike.

Light Hiking Boots

Light hiking boots are geared towards novice to intermediate hikers, those that attend one to two-day hikes and carry a light backpack with only essential supplies. These boots are generally lightweight and flexible with limited support.

Technical Hiking Boots

Technical hiking boots are geared towards the more experienced hiker who attends multi-day hiking trips over various terrains and who carries a heavy-weight backpack containing supplies for the length of the hiking trip. Buy your ideal hiking backpack here.

Breaking in Your Hiking /Tramping Boots

The key to breaking in new hiking boots is to take things slowly. Remember, your feet aren’t as tough as your new boots, so if you rush things, your feet are likely to pay the price. Different hiking boots will require different amounts of break-in time. Lightweight hiking boots may feel perfect right out of the box, while heavier more technical hiking boots may require weeks to soften up and form to your feet.

When it comes to breaking in your hiking boots there is no such thing as a "quick fix", there is no fast or easy method to do this. To do a good job, you have to put in the time. So allow yourself some time before your next hiking adventure and buy your hiking boots in advance. Come in and see us at one of the Outside Sports stores in Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau or shop online for your new hiking boots.

When to Replace Your Hiking Boots

You can harm your feet, and possibly other areas of your body, if you continue to wear shoes that no longer offer the support they once did, so if you're walking in boots or shoes that have passed their prime it may be time to drop into Outside Sports or to shop online for your next pair of hiking boots or hiking shoes. Please contact us if you need further help with choosing the right hiking boots for you.

Make Your Hiking Boots Last Longer

Here are some top tips for increasing the life span of your hiking boots:

1) Rotate Two Pairs of Hiking Boots - It’s a good idea to have two or three pairs of hiking or running shoes that you can alternate between. You’ll find they’ll last much longer in the long run.

2) Use Them Just for Hiking - Wearing your hiking boots or hiking shoes around the house or around town will wear them down more quickly. Save your hiking or running shoes just for exercise and hiking.

Shop in store or online for men's hiking boots and women's hiking boots.

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