Thursday, February 19, 2015

Signs boots you might buy don’t fit properly

Before hitting the trail, always test and break in your hiking boots to ensure
they fit properly. Photo courtesy of Photoree.
Among the biggest problems novice hikers face is finding a boot that fits properly. It’s also a significant issue for long-time hikers whose favorite brand of boots is no longer sold. In either case, if the boot doesn’t fit just right, the enjoyment of the hike will be quickly diminished.

One good test to use while in a store is to tightly lace the hiking boots on your feet. If there’s more than a quarter-inch (on small feet) or a half-inch (on large feet) of lacing between the eyelets, the boot isn’t wide enough. If there’s less than that amount, the boot is too wide.

Once you get the right width, walk around the store with the boots on. If they feel uncomfortable in any way, they are the wrong kind to buy; don’t let the salesperson convince you that the boot will become more comfortable once broken in.

Even if the boots felt comfortable in the store, always wear them around the house and yard to break them in and so you can see if they fit properly before heading into the wilds.

After walking about the house or yard for an hour or two, check your feet 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.

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