Do I Need Hiking Boots: Why You Need One and How to Buy One
One question that new hikers are always asking is, "Do I need hiking boots?". Most of you would probably say that regular shoes will do the trick because all you need is enough protection for your feet.
Basically, choosing footwear for hiking is a matter of personal choice. Some people prefer using tennis shoes, while some are just using their regular shoes for hiking. So, what is the reason why a lot of professional hikers are using hiking boots? Why do you even need a pair? And how do you even know if you’re buying the right pair?
If you are hesitant to buy hiking boots because you see your friends wearing their regular shoes for hiking, you should know the importance of wearing hiking boots, why they are different from other shoes, when do you need one, and how to choose the perfect pair.
What Are the Benefits of Hiking Boots?
You cannot decide whether to use a pair of regular shoes or hiking boots if you do not have any idea about the unique features of hiking boots. As such, here are where hiking boots excel:
1. Foot and Ankle Support
When you are hiking, your feet will carry all the weight of your body, including the things you have on your backpack. It means that the pressure would be on your foot and ankle.
If you will use a regular pair of shoes, the chances of foot and ankle injuries are higher. Hiking boots are designed with adequate support to prevent this from happening.
Most people would say that it is quite contradictory given the fact that hiking boots are a bit heavy. They may be uncomfortable at first, but if you get the hang of them, you will realize that hiking boots are comfier than regular shoes when you are hiking.
Similarly, most manufacturers craft their hiking boots with lightweight but sturdy materials. They also incorporate features for comfort and breathability.
3. Made From Tough Materials
Hiking is very challenging and it can be dangerous at times. The terrain can change multiple times and it can easily damage your regular shoes. Hiking boots are made from the toughest materials which can withstand different terrains.
Hiking boots can be used for almost any kind of weather. If it is raining, snowing or when the weather is sunny, hiking boots can provide the comfort and protection you need when you are hiking.
5. Leg Protection
Have you experienced accidentally stepping on a stone and broke your legs because your shoes folded on the side? It happens to hikers regularly and believe it or not; most people who experience this are the ones who are not using hiking boots. This kind of footwear has protection on the side so that your legs will remain straight even if you are carrying a heavy backpack.
Is It Worth Your Money?
Hiking boots are costly. We all know about this. They are definitely more expensive than regular sneakers, and most people think they are not worth their money.
However, it will depend on your current circumstances. It might be a waste of money for you, but for hikers, hiking boots are essential.
There are two scenarios that would explain the worth of your hiking boots:
You Hike Regularly
If you are hiking regularly, you definitely need to buy hiking boots. Some are very easy, and you can literally just wear regular shoes, but regular hikers don’t usually go for the easy trails. They always look for more challenging places.
If you are still a beginner and you want to hike regularly, you should invest in high-quality hiking boots.
Harder trails would require you to have the proper support on your feet. As a matter of fact, your hiking buddies would even suggest that you buy your own hiking boots.
If you haven’t experienced any ankle or feet injuries, it is excruciating, and it would take weeks or even months to heal completely. Spending a few bucks for hiking boots won’t hurt, especially if it can protect your feet and ankle from injuries.
You Are Not a Regular Hiker
Why do I need hiking boots if I can wear regular shoes when hiking? This is usually the statement of people who are not hiking regularly. It is understandable because you don’t have to invest in expensive hiking gears if you won't use them often.
If you only hike once or twice a year, it is not really worth it to buy expensive hiking boots. If it is kept in storage for a long time, the quality will start to deteriorate. Actually, hiking boots last longer if they are used regularly instead of kept in storage.
Do I Need Hiking Boots?
Now, if you consider yourself as a regular hiker and you can’t decide if you should get hiking boots, here are some reasons why it is better to get one for yourself. We always say that using hiking boots is a personal choice, but it provides so many benefits that you cannot pass up.
Here are some of the things that you should know:
1. Comfort and Injury Prevention
We already mentioned this earlier, but it is always the primary reasons you need hiking boots. Injuries can happen anytime when you are hiking, but wearing hiking boots can lessen the chances of being injured.
Regular hikers find comfort in wearing hiking boots. It is because they don’t have to be wary when stepping on sharp rocks or when they are walking on tall grass. Hiking boots will keep them protected.
2. The Changing Terrain
Before you start hiking, you usually check the trail and the terrain on the location. You need to know the terrain of the area because it will allow you to prepare the right gears for the hiking. Some trails would require you to bring gears for mountain climbing, while there are too rocky trails.
Regular shoes won’t be able to last long on the changing terrain since they are made for the flat ground. As such, if you try to wear them on a hike, they will break apart before you even reach your destination. This is something that you don’t want to happen.
Like what we mentioned in number two, regular shoes don’t have the durability to last a regular hike. As a matter of fact, if you buy brand new sneakers, they might break on your first major hike.
Hiking boots, on the other hand, are made for different terrains and weather condition. The best quality hiking boots can last for a long time with the right maintenance.
Hiking boots are made from the toughest materials which can withstand the harsh environment when you are hiking. Stepping on sharp rocks, walking on sandy and muddy trails, walking on steep grounds and traversing shallow rivers--all of these are possible if you are using hiking boots. Can your regular shoes do that?
4. Keep Feet Dry and Warm
Most hiking boots are waterproof. Well, even if they don’t have any waterproofing features, you can always do the waterproofing yourself.
Can you use your regular shoes when it is raining or snowing in the trail? No, your feet will be soaking wet if you use your regular shoes on a rainy day. When it is snowing hard, your standard shoes won’t be able to provide the warmth that you need for your feet.
When you are walking on muddy trails, your hiking boots will prevent water from seeping through your shoes. Although hiking boots are only made for hiking, they are the right gear to wear for your feet.
5. Better Grip
Hikers love hiking boots because they provide better grip than regular sneakers. If you try wearing sneakers on your hike, there is a chance you might slip when walking on slick rock, sand, or snow. You will encounter a lot of slippery areas when you are hiking, and you don’t want to meet an accident just because your regular shoes are slippery.
How to Buy Hiking Boots
If you are convinced that you need to buy hiking boots, you need to know how to find the best one. You cannot simply buy any pair of hiking boots. There are different brands in the market, and there are features that may be present in a certain brand and not on another. You need to know what you need when you are hiking.
Tip #1: Ask for Help
Before you go to a store to buy hiking boots, the first thing you need to do is to ask for help. If you have friends or family members who are hikers, you can ask them to go with you so they can help you buy the right hiking boots.
You have to remember that these boots are costly so you cannot make a mistake unless you have a lot of money. Take them with you, and they can help you choose the right hiking boots.
Tip #2: Look for the Perfect Fit
You don’t need hiking boots that are too tight, and you don’t need to put in an allowance when you are fitting the boots. You need to look for the perfect fit for your feet.
Always bring at least two types of socks when you are fitting. You need to wear socks when you are fitting because you can’t wear hiking boots, barefooted.
Put socks on and wear the boots, and then, put a thumb on the toe box while you are wearing the shoes. If your thumb went through, it means that the boots are too big for you. On the other hand, if your foot is having a hard time breathing, it means that the boots are too tight for you.
Tip #3: Walk and Run with the Hiking Boots
The next step is to try to walk and run while using hiking boots. The goal is to make sure that you are comfortable wearing them. The first thing to do is to wear both pairs and walk around the store while wearing it. Try and wear it for a few minutes and check if your ankle is going up and down while you are walking or running.
Next is to look for a slanted part of the store and walk through it. When you are hiking, you will encounter a lot of slanted trails, so you have to test out the hiking boots for those conditions before you buy them.
Tip #4: Check the Hiking Boots for Possible Damages
This is the most crucial part when buying something. Actually, it does not only apply to hiking boots but to all the items that you are going to buy in the future.
Always check the product if there are any damages. There are times when the stitching is not well-done, or there are some abnormalities with the design. Don’t be shy to ask for a new pair if you noticed some problems with the one that you are currently looking at.
Tip #5: When Buying Online, Be as Keen as Possible
Shopping for a pair of hiking boots online is very common since most of us really don’t have enough time to go to the mall and stores. With that said, always check the features, read reviews, and reach out to customer service to ask questions.
Size-wise, it is advisable to measure your feet and learn about the size chart of the manufacturer. Get one which is a half-size bigger than your feet so that there is room for socks.
For hikers, hiking boots are essential as they provide the support and protection they need for their feet while hiking. A lot of unforeseen circumstances may happen while you are hiking, so you need to be prepared all the time.
Hiking boots can be beneficial for the regular hikers, while the ones who only hike once or twice every year may not really consider buying one for themselves. If you did plan to buy hiking boots, make sure that you know how to find the best one. Hiking boots are costly so it won’t be a good idea just to buy the first pair that you see on the store without checking it.