If you’re serious about hiking then take the time to find a pair of quality hiking boots. Since you’re on your feet almost the entire time and the terrain can be rugged, the time and money spent on your boots is well worth it. Not only do the right boots provide comfort and support but they also give you the traction you need to prevent falls and injury.
You need a solid base on which to walk so good support is essential. Hiking puts a great amount of strain on your feet and ankles. Bad support not only causes sore feet but since your back muscles aid your leg muscles, your back will tire and become sore. A proper hiking boot will provide you with a solid base that gives you stiffness and the proper amount of spring.
When shopping for a hiking boot make sure you buy the appropriate size. Try on boots and make sure you’re wearing hiking socks which are thick and usually made from wool and/or cotton. Do not compromise fit for price; a little discomfort will surely turn into major discomfort on a hike. Expect hiking boots to feel different than shoes; they will feel stiff and a bit heavy for support reasons. In any case, they should fit like a glove. Don’t think you can “break them in”. If you are thinking of buying hiking boots when you arrive at the airport in Salzburg or Zurich, you’ll be in trouble!
Size and fit are not the only things to look for. Excessive moisture and prolonged periods of excessive heat or cold causes blisters and chafing. For these reasons, look for boots that are made with water resistant materials such as leather, rubber and composites. Gore-Tex is a new synthetic material that keeps you warm while allowing your skin to “breathe” so moisture doesn’t build up. Also make sure your boots have a gusseted tongue so rocks and dirt don’t get in while you’re on your hike.
If you’re still unsure what boots are the best for you, ask fellow hikers what they wear and which boots to avoid. You can also use the internet to search for reviews; make sure the reviews are completely independent and not supported by a manufacturer.
There are a few different kinds of boots for different kinds of hiking so if you want to progress to more difficult hikes then consider buying more than one pair of boots. Keep in mind that the quality of the boot varies greatly. You usually get what you pay for so don’t be weary about spending a few hundred dollars on a pair. They will last several years and provide the comfort and support you need.