Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Items to consider when buying hiking boots

Our feet mark the most important “piece of gear” any hiker can have. After all, if your feet are sore, the hike quickly will become a death march rather than a pleasurable activity. This is even truer for children, who typically lack an adult’s ability to resist physical pain to achieve a goal. Given this, selecting a good boot and being aware of footwear issues is vital for any hiker.

Choosing a good hiking boot is hardly a simple matter, though. While the mechanics of the foot are essentially the same for every person, individual shape, gaits and preferences means that a hiking boot one person swears by will be a nightmare for another to wear.

To make the best possible decision for purchasing hiking footwear, you’ll need to know a little about the types, cuts, sizes, and parts of a hiking boot. Understanding a little about socks also is useful.

But ensuring your feet are taken care of on a hike isn’t just a matter of selecting the right boot and sock. You’ll also want to know a little about taking care of your boot following a hike and how to avoid and treat foot-related injuries when out on the trail.

During just the past few years alone, I’ve hiked well over a few thousand miles on trails with surfaces ranging from hard asphalt to desert sand a few inches deep, from perfectly dry, compacted paths to muddy, root-laden routes. Because I approached each of those hikes with footwear at the forefront of my planning, my feet neither were uncomfortable nor suffered an injury. I hope you’ll approach your footwear with same zeal so that when hiking you can focus on the reason you hit the trail – the fresh air and beautiful scenery.

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