Tips for Getting the Best Fitting Hiking Boots

Recently, I found myself watching one of these survivalist shows. You know where this lone guy goes hiking with nothing but a pocket knife. Anyway he’s walking in the hot desert sun with no water, no shelter, no equipment and no shoes. I thought to myself, “yeah, right. That’s really going to happen.” Any hiker worth his salt is going to tell you; “Don’t go hiking unless you have proper footwear, and in the case of desert hiking, well, tennis shoes just aren’t going to cut it. You need a good pair of hiking boots. They are a major staple of any hiker’s wardrobe. So let me tell you about our experience when looking for that perfect pair of hiking boots.

hiking bootsMy husband needed new hiking boots.  The hiking boots he owned were getting old, but more importantly, he was getting blisters and some pain when using them.  I figured maybe his feet had changed since he bought them.  So, off we went to the store, and the sales guy there was very knowledgeable.  He explained everything as he was fitting the boots.  We learned a lot and thought we would pass the info on to you.

  • Apparently, it is best to go shopping for boots in the evening. Most people find that their feet swell a little during the day, and you need to compensate for that swelling when buying boots.
  • It’s best to buy new socks when you are buying the boots. Apparently, when your feet sweat, the salt breaks down the fiber of the socks, which causes more blisters and actually wears out your boots quicker.
  • The boot should be snug at the ankle, heel and front of the foot, but there needs to be lots of room at the toe. To check, with the boots not laced up, you slide your foot forward until your toes are touching the front.  You should be able to get a finger in behind your heel.

The sales guy noticed that my husband has a small bunion on his left foot, so he gave us some tips about how to fix the boots to avoid pain there.  He also told us about other techniques that help with other problems.

  • For bunions, he said to turn a chair over and use one of the legs. Take the laces out of the boot and put the boot upside down over the leg.  Then rub the boot back and forth in the area of your bunion.  You can wet the shoe there to make stretching easier.  Then, try the boot on and see if there is enough room for your bunion now.  If not, do the process again.
  • You can lace your boots so that you skip a set of eyelets. This is good if you find there is too much pressure over your instep
  • If you have extra wide feet, you can freeze your boots! What you do is take two bags doubled together, and then stuff them into the boot.  Then, you lace up the boot and pour water into the bags.  You put in enough water to fill the bags below the ankle and tie off the top of the bags with twist ties.  Then, put the boot in the freezer overnight.  When the water turns to ice it expands and stretches the boot.  The sales guy said some people have to do this several times if their feet are really wide.

We thought it was really great to get all of these tips.  Hope they help you too.