Sunday, November 16, 2014

Know parts of hiking boot to find best one

Hiking boots consist of eight general parts.
Photo courtesy of TheGiantVermin / Photoree.
When checking out footwear at a store, the salesperson may use various terms to describe the boot's parts. Or, to explain what is wrong with a pair you’ve tried on, you might want to know what a specific part is called to better communicate your concerns.

A hiking boot consists of seven general parts:
g Sole – This is the bottom of the boot that touches the ground. The sole should have rubber grooves that allow you to maintain your footing on rugged terrain. It also should be thick enough to absorb the shock of each footfall.
g Upper – The boot that fits around your foot is the upper. It should be sturdy and snug fitting to both protect the foot from branches, root and rocks and to support your foot. It usually is made of leather or a synthetic material, such as Gore-Tex. Always opt for a hiking boot that is water-repellent yet also breathes.
g Eyelets/laces – The eyelets are placed into the upper so that laces may be strung through them to keep the boot snug against the foot.
g Tongue – Connected to the upper, the tongue sits beneath the laces. It ought to be soft enough to prevent the laces from digging into the foot yet sturdy and wide enough to keep tiny stones, twigs and other debris from slipping into the boot.
g Insoles – Also known as footbeds, these are the pads inside the boot the sit atop the sole. The more an insole matches your foot shape, the more support and balance you’ll have when walking.
g Linings/paddings – At various spots on the upper are thick sections. These keep your foot from chafing against the material the upper is made of.
g Shanks – Either metal or plastic pieces are added to the upper to ensure the boot remains stiff. Shanks come in different lengths, usually half-length, three-quarters, or full-length.
g Scree collars – These prevent the Achilles tendon and ankle from chafing against the upper shoe’s material.

In addition, some hiking boots come with crampon connections. These allow you to add a crampon – a metal plate with spikes that makes walking on ice and rock climbing easier – onto your boot so that you have better traction on snow and ice. For day hiking purposes, crampon connections aren’t necessary.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.