It’s always important to look after your feet when you walk long distances. Hiking, however, is a different matter altogether.
Best Hiking Boots (January 2021)
Those who enjoy hiking across plains, valleys, ridges and even mountains are going to need extra support. It is not just a case of comfort; it is a case of durability and protection.
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Hiking Boots: A Buyer’s Guide For 2021
In this buying guide, we will take a look at the most important things you’ll need to bear in mind when shopping for hiking boots. You might be a first-time hiker or a seasoned trekker. In any case, do make sure to keep a few essentials in mind before you go buying boots ad hoc.
We’ll also answer a few commonly asked queries at the end of our guide to help clear a few issues up for you.
Why Buy Hiking Boots?
One of the most common queries, in fact, is ‘do I really need hiking boots?’. Plenty of people will seem fairly happy to venture off on a long nature trail with only a pair of trainers or comfy shoes on their feet. Ultimately, they are not going to protect you on rough terrain, and certainly not for long periods. If you care about your feet and if you care about your ability to hike, you will take the time to make sure you pick a pair of boots which will support you.
Hiking boots are designed for long term use and extensive walking. Traditional boots or other footwear will dig in or rub after long periods. The best hiking boots will generally have ankle support in the form of cushioning, will have stiffness in the sole for better grip and tread on natural ground and soil, and will also be waterproof. Waterproofing your feet is so important when you are walking for long distances. Wet feet can develop sores, which can get very nasty if left untreated.
Hiking boots, too, should give you relief while walking. Hiking and walking should be a relaxing hobby, not an ordeal where you are in extreme pain or discomfort throughout. Therefore, it makes genuine sense to look for a firm, durable boot with leading technology. This will help to protect your feet against all weathers and will make sure you can continue walking without straining or immense fatigue.
Things to Look For
Not all hiking boots do the same thing, nor do they all have the same features or assets. Therefore, it’s a good idea to start comparing, especially between brands. Here are a few factors you should be looking for when shopping around for hiking apparel for the first time. You might even put the following tips to good use if you’re a seasoned walker, and are looking for a little more support!
Weight and Heft
You should certainly think about the weight of your boots before buying. The general rule of thumb for walking boots is that if you’re a brisk walker, think about looking at shoes which are 500g or lighter. Any heavier than this is recommended if you intend to go on longer hikes or more intense journeys. This is because the heavier the boots are, the more support you will be given to carry heavy items and to carry on for longer.
If you’ve already looked around at hiking boots, you may well have come across a special grading system. This is the ‘B’ scale, and it helps buyers to understand what to expect from durability and performance. It’s ranked as follows:
B0 or B:0 boots are for standard walking, and for non-intensive hiking. Don’t wear these if you’re likely to head off on long, rugged adventures!
B1 or B:1 boots are a little more suited to adventurous walking. They can be flexible and are likely to be used in short bursts, for example, if you need to cross a snowy terrain.
B2 or B:2 boots go one step further. These boots are ideal for use with crampons and are perfect for mountaineering.
B3 or B:3 boots are the most rigid of the lot, and are ideal for climbing as well as traversing rough terrain. If you’re going to scale large peaks, you’re going to need support from a good B3 boot.
It may seem odd at first that ‘technology’ would come into something as innocuous as a hiking boot. However, plenty of big brands have developed boot technology to better support our feet. For example, boots with NestFit offer greater comfort, while Gore-tex is seen as the popular standard for keeping water out of our shoes. You may also want to control odour and sweating with CleanSport NXT, for example.
Ultimately, technologies are your choice – they are not always essential. However, do make sure to compare, contrast, and see what other buyers have to say.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even if you’ve been hiking before, you may still have a few queries about how to pick the perfect pair of boots. Take a look at a few of the more commonly-asked queries below.
What’s the Difference Between Hiking Boots and Everyday Footwear?
While everyday footwear is great at protecting our feet from the elements, hiking boots are built for longevity and durability. They are designed to be comfortably snug, to keep out water, and to reduce fatigue. Normal boots will only ever take you so far.
How Much Should I Pay for Hiking Boots?
This will vary from brand to brand, and, of course, where you buy them from. However, you can expect to pick a nice pair of boots up for as little as £30. You can expect to pay upwards of £200 for the most intuitive technologies.
Is It Worth Paying More?
If it means having access to greater comfort and water control, we’d say yes. You shouldn’t ever put off looking after your feet. However, do read what other buyers have to say.
Buying a pair of hiking boots doesn’t have to be difficult! Take a look around at the best brands and leading technologies. You may be able to find yourself a great deal!