What should I look for in a hiking boot?
Hiking boots have so many great features these days, you might feel like you don’t know where to start in looking for a pair. The following points can give you some top tips to look out for when shopping for yours:
- Upper Material. Leather is more durable and waterproof than synthetic materials, but less breathable.
- Waterproofing. The more waterproof your boots are, the less breathable they are likely to be. Breathable membranes, such as GORE-TEX, can help keep you cool and dry.
- The outsole. The sole of your boots can have anti-clogging, shock absorption or other features to make hiking easier. Take a look at the treads and toe protection, too.
- Weight. Check the weight of boots before you buy them. If you aren’t planning anything strenuous, a lightweight walking boot is better.
- Support. Hiking boots that support your ankle can offer better stability for uneven ground. Some also have memory foam tongues and cushioning for comfort.
For more advice, take a look at our full walking and hiking boots buying guide.
What are the best boots for hiking?
The best hiking boots for more serious walks need to be durable and waterproof, yet breathable and lightweight. You need a quality sole that won’t bend too much, but still gives you freedom of movement. If you are ready to cut straight to finding your perfect pair, see our blog posts for the best women’s walking boots and the best men’s walking boots.
Hiking boots vs hiking shoes
What is the difference between hiking boots and walking shoes? And how do you know which ones you need? Walking shoes are generally lighter and rest below the ankle making them better suited to shorter walks in drier conditions with less demanding terrain. Walking boots offer more support and are better for uneven ground.
If you like to do a variety of walks, it might be best to have a pair of both on hand, so you can have the appropriate gear to choose from.
See our range of walking shoes here or read our blog post on whether you should buy walking boots or walking shoes.
Are walking boots waterproof?
Waterproofing is very dependant on the material being used. Leather walking boots do the best job of keeping water out, and the top range ones also feature breathable membranes, such as GORE-TEX, allowing moisture from inside the shoe to escape while keeping outside elements out.
Synthetic hiking boots also come equipped with great waterproofing features, too. As they are much more breathable than leather walking boots, they are preferable for drier and warmer weather. However, many also come with waterproof linings or a mix of suede, leather and synthetic fabrics, helping you be ready for all elements. Gaiters can also help keep you dry if you know you are heading into soggy territory.
Whichever waterproof hiking boots you choose, make sure you take care of them with waterproof cleaning products. Find out more about how to clean walking boots.
What size walking boots do I need?
It’s often said that you need to buy walking boots in a size bigger than your regular shoe size. This advice originates from the fact that your feet swell throughout the day and when you are warmer. For this reason, you should try walking boots on at the end of the day to get a better idea of how they will fit during a walk.
You should not buy hiking boots that feel too loose; they should feel snug and comfortable at all times. You should also make sure you try them on when you are wearing appropriate hiking socks to get the perfect fit.
Shop a great range of hiking boots and walking boots online now at Winfields Outdoors to find a fantastic range from leading brands at great prices!