Thursday, June 6, 2013

When to replace your kids' hiking boots

Always break in new boots before going on a hike.
(c) Jennywoo / Dreamstime Stock Photos
Both you and your kids always should wear your boots around the house and yard to break them in and so you can see if they fit properly before heading into the wilds.

Afterward, check your feet and your kids’ to see if there is any rubbing against the skin. Particularly look for redness on the top of the foot, the back of the heel near the Achilles tendon, and on the toes. Redness in any of those spots is a sign that the boot doesn’t fit right. If that’s the case, return the footwear and try another size or brand.

Half the battle with kids is getting them to like the boot you buy for them. You’ll want to bring them along not just to try on the boot to see if it’s a good fit but to purchase something they’ll like.

As kids’ feet grow, you could find yourself buying new hiking boots a lot, probably a pair every year. You’ll have to decide based on the trails you traverse and the frequency of your hikes if sneakers are good enough. To help keep costs down, you can waterproof kids’ shoes with sprays, as a less expensive alternative to buying waterproof footwear.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.