How To Fit Hiking Boots

How To Fit Hiking Boots

Hiking is a long-distance walking activity in which your feet are the most-used part of the body. You will have to overcome rough and challenging terrain, so choosing footwear is very important. Fitting boots not only protect your feet but also help you conquer trails more straightforwardly.

Hiking skills and health are essential for hikers. But first of all, people need to get ready for their journey by well preparing supporting tools and equipment. It is the way you take loving care of yourself. This article will show how to fit hiking boots that will help you be more confident when overcoming obstacles on all hiking trails.

Basic Understanding of Hiking Boots

Basic Understanding of Hiking Boots


When buying hiking boots, which factors will you care about and take into consideration? If you are not a professional hiker who knows all about hiking footwear, you will go to the Internet to search for famous brands that most other hikers also choose.

It is brilliant because the reference to other hikers’ reviews helps you have more knowledge to choose the best hiking boot brand for yourself before going to stores. Many articles with the title named “Best Hiking Boots + year” are updated year by year to help readers know more about what they should buy.

You may see names of famous and popular hiking boot brands, such as Salomon, Merrell Moab, Asolo, and Lowa, in those articles. They are all very well-known brands with high-quality hiking boots, which are ideal fellows for your hike. Of course, their price also ranges from medium to high.

However, if you can not afford a pair of hiking boots from those brands, you can buy boots from a no-name brand. That’s ok, provided that they fit you and you believe that they can protect your feet and make you feel comfortable during your long hike. The brand is also necessary, but you should keep in mind: Fit before Brand.


Why should you spend your time and money on hiking boots? That is because boots play an essential role in your hike. Good and fit boots protect your feet from rocks and sharp obstacles, support your ankles, reduce risks of getting hurt, resist water to keep your feet dry and breathable and help you move faster and more confidently on trails.

Hiking Boots And Hiking Shoes: The Differences

Hiking Boots And Hiking Shoes
Hiking Boots And Hiking Shoes

I believe that hiking footwear is one of the most overlooked but least understood and one of the most valuable pieces of equipment that you should have if you take care of your feet, and your feet will take care of you. I am going to discuss two types of footwear in this article; they are hiking boots and hiking shoes.

The boot has been around since the world has begun from the military, frontier men, and cowboys. Even today, boots are ubiquitous among hikers. The reason why boots have been rung for a long time is that they work very well.

Shoes are very familiar and practical footwear not only for hiking but also for all daily activities. Hiking shoes have a unique design with a sturdy structure that is suitable for rough terrains.

Both hiking boots and hiking shoes are good and highly recommended for hikers. To choose the more suitable ones for you, let’s see how different they are.

The weight

Generally, boots are heavier than shoes because they look bigger and need more material to make. For example, with the same size, the boot usually weighs two and a half pounds just for one; meanwhile, the shoe weighs less than one pound for one. It means that the boot is two and a half times heavier than the shoe.

Try hiking with both of them for two different times, and you will feel how the boots can kind of wear you down, whereas the shoes could probably walk a lot farther and faster.

Ankle and arch support

With their overwhelming increased height compared with shoes, boots have excellent ankle support as well as arch support with sturdy soles.

The padding around the ankles helps to reduce the impact of external force on them and prevent injury-causing slips. So if you have weak ankles or bad ankles, boots with a high top and tight around are perfect and suitable for your hike. High quality hiking boots also can help to get rid of the plantar fasciitis and foot pain.

With the very sturdy soles of hiking boots, you will feel very confident when conquering rough terrains with sharp and dangerous obstacles without being worried that they may pierce the soles and hurt your feet.

Meanwhile, shoes are usually made of softer material which helps them be more lightweight. However, that also decreases the ankle support function of shoes compared to boots.


Hiking is an outdoor activity in which you have to go through various terrains and weather conditions. Hiking boots are usually designed with waterproof ability to keep your feet dry even when you have to cross a stream or hike in the rain.

Soaking or getting wet may damage your footwear and reduce its lifespan, so waterproof boots are more long-lasting and will be your fellow traveler through the end of the trail where other shoes may not.

However, once your hiking boots get wet, it will take you a longer time to dry them than that of shoes.


terms of airiness, hiking shoes undoubtedly overwhelm boots

In terms of airiness, hiking shoes undoubtedly overwhelm boots. Shoes are made of soft and high airy materials that help air from the environment can go in and out, dry your feet’ sweat and keep your feet breathable and clean.

On the other hand, hiking boots are made of waterproof material, which does not allow water and air to go through. That means your feet may quickly get hot and sweaty, especially in summer.


After a hike, your footwear may get very dirty with all mud and dust on them, so you really should clean your footwear not only for their cleanliness but also for their durability. The outside of boots is simple to clean; you just need to wipe it with a wet rag or put it under a running water tap to wash away all the dust.

However, it is pretty challenging to clean  stains inside the boots, and you may need special tools and skills or have it cleaned by professional shoe cleaners.

In contrast, it requires more effort to clean hiking shoes because mud and dust can sneak the ins and outs and even soak into the fiber. You might have to spend more time and effort to clean your shoes, especially when you did not do that right after you finish your hike but leave it for a time later.

Break-in time

New hiking boots may be pretty hard and can cause blisters on your feet for some first time using. These blisters are just a nuisance in everyday life, but you should take care of them if you go on a remote trail since they can become a calamity.

Therefore, when buying a new pair of boots for your coming hike, you should break them in before you hit the trail. That break-in time will make the leather softer and prevent causing hurt to your feet on the long hiking distance later.

On the other hand, hiking shoes do not require a break-in time since they are already made of soft material, and you will not have to endure blisters caused by new shoes.

For more information , let’s watch a helpful video on:

Hiking Boots vs Shoes vs Trail Runners

How To Fit Hiking Boots

Whatever you choose, boots or shoes, the most important thing you have to pay attention to is the fit. Do not pay for a new pair of boots just because of their appearance or style. What you need the most from hiking boots is their comfort and fit to support your feet on the trail.

I recommend you to go directly to stores to try on boots before buying since just surfing the image on the Internet is not enough for you to get a fit pair of boots. I will show you some notices when trying new boots so that you can know whether those boots fit you or not.

#1 Toes

When you are trying on new boots, the first thing to remember is to put both boots on and do not lace them up yet but just wiggle your toes around. Your toes need to have enough space and feel unrestricted. Make sure that you can spread your toes evenly to the ends of the boots.

#2 Heel area

When you stand up, you should be able to push your toes right to the front of the boots. Try to get your index finger down the space between your heel and the back of the boot; if you can do so, that means the boots’ size fits your feet length.

Another test you can do as well to make sure that you’ve got the right fit for the boots is to stand up and gently rock to and from, on the balls of your feet, then swing back to your heels.

Crouch down and bend forward. You will see whether your heels are lifting out the back of the boot. I believe that no one wants to see any heel lift at the back when wearing boots and shoes because if that happens over a period of time, the friction may be caused, which can create blisters.

#3 Size

Choosing the right size for your hiking boots is very important. Do not buy too small or too big size. If your feet, for example, are between size 7 and size 8, you can choose a half size.

#4 Simulating walk

Once you take your new hiking boots home after having tried them on at the stores, you should wear them around the house for a minimum of two hours because that simulates a four or five-hour walk.

If there is any problem occurring, at least you have worn them in the house and got the label still on. You can bring them back to the store and try on another pair. Whereas, if you have just taken them out and worn them straight on the hill and they end up not being quite right, then you obviously can not bring them back.

#5 Laces

When people lace boots, they usually go right up to the top and then tie a bow at the top. It is fine. The only problem with that is it does not put pressure on the correct area of the boot. I understand that what you want to do is lock the heel down into the back of the boot, but what it does is just pull pressure around the thinnest part of the ankle.

So I will give you a straightforward trick. Just pretending you are lacing the boots upside down, go down the heel lock, cross over and then go right to the very top of the boot. Go around again and tie the boot at the bottom. There are like 1001 ways of lacing boots differently, but I feel this one is the simplest.

For more information , let’s watch a helpful video on:

How to Fit a Hiking Boot

How Do You Know The Boot Fit You?

Only by trying them on can you know whether the boots fit you or not.

  • Sit down and try both boots on your feet.
  • Feel the space for your toes. Make sure that they are not restricted.
  • Stand up, then crouch down and bend forward to see whether your heels lift out the back of the boots.
  • Walk around your house with new boots to feel whether your feet get hurt or uncomfortable or blisters created.

A pair of boots that meets all those above requirements is what you need to buy because they really fit you and can support you on all trails.

How Are Hiking Boots Supposed to Fit?

Remember, fit before brand. Fitting is always the most crucial factor you should take into consideration when choosing hiking boots. Hiking boots are not cheap; they require a remarkable amount of investment, so make sure that you can comfortably use what you pay for.

Never buy a new pair of boots just because they look trendy or because their brand is famous. You can still wear out-trend or even ugly but fitting boots because they can support your feet during your hike. However, expensive and high-end boots but not fit are useless for real hikers unless you have money and are into collecting boots.

Keep in mind all the notes I mention in section 4 then I am sure that you can have a perfect pair of boots for your hike. If you need further assistance, you can ask the boot fitter at the store and they may give you useful advice to choose fitting hiking boots.


Should I wear special socks with hiking boots?

Some people may not attach much importance to hiking socks because they think that just good hiking boots are enough. They are wrong since the correct type of socks may prevent blisters and stinky feet, especially in summer.

Leather hiking boots vs. synthetic hiking boots, which one should I get?

Each has its pros and cons. For example, synthetic boots have a more modern and active appearance than leather ones, and they are also cheaper and lighter. However, the stability of leather hiking boots is found to overwhelm that of the synthetic. So, consider all the pros and cons and choose which is more suitable for you.

Why fitting hiking boots becomes very important?

Boot fitting is essential since hiking boots have direct impacts on your health, your comfort, and your ability to complete your hike as well. Therefore, fitting carefully before buying and using them for your actual walk.