When it comes to hiking, there is nothing that can improve or hinder your performance as much as the fit of your boot. Whether you’re a beginner who wants to hit a few light trails or a seasoned expert taking on the Appalachian, the fit of your boot is of the utmost importance. To ensure you enjoy maximum comfort and help you avoid blisters, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get the perfect fit.
Go to a Specialty Retailer. Take a trip to a specialty store, whose employees know their way around the different types of hiking boots and how to fit them. It’s always better to take advice from someone who knows boots (and hikes in them), rather than someone who will give you the box and walk away. Definitely don’t buy online without trying them on in person.
Bring Your Socks. Remember to try boots on with whatever socks you plan on hiking in—wool hiking socks tend to be quite a bit thicker than everyday cotton socks and the boot will fit different.
Get the Right Fit. Some say it’s best to go at the end of the day, because then your foot has swelled and you won’t buy a size too small, but if you go in the morning just keep that in mind. Instead of judging the distance of your toes from the front, tap your toes into the front of the boot and judge your distance from your heel to the back. You should be able to fit two fingers between your heel and the back of the boot if you’re trying on boots earlier in the day.
Take Your Time. Walk around the store for a while, try to climb some stairs if possible and just get a feel for the boot. If something feels strange, don’t ignore it.
Consider Insoles. The right insoles can improve fit, boost support and make the boot more comfortable. Consider buying specialty insoles –and keep in mind you can have your insoles custom-fit to your foot.