It’s important to evaluate a new pair of hiking boots while you’re still in the store.  There are 3 important checks that will go a long way toward ensuring your new boots are right for you.

1. Socks Are More Than Puppets

The first check is to try on the boots while wearing hiking socks similar to what you would wear when hiking.  The Smart Wool shown above are my favorite.  The boots should feel comfortable while standing.  If they are uncomfortable now, don’t assume “breaking them in” will fix this.  If you’re uncomfortable wearing demo socks and don’t want to buy another pair just to try on boots, bring a pair from home!

2. Test Drive Those Inclines

The second check is to walk UP a sloped surface.  Top outdoor stores will have a “boot ramp” to help simulate this.  As you walk up the ramp, pay close attention to the action of your heel in the boot.  While a little give is okay, you do not want your heels to move up and down against the back of the boot as this will turn into a painful blister when hiking.

Now walk down the inclined surface.  This simulates walking down a mountain and your foot should not slide forward pushing your toes into the boot.  If your boot is tied tightly and your toes still touch the front of the boot while descending those boots are not for you.

3. Many Feet, Many Brands

The last tip is to try on as many different boots AND brands that you can.  Just like with running shoes, boots come in many different styles. No matter what a name a particular boot has, it’ll be similar in design and fit to other boots of the same brand.

North Face boots will fit drastically different than Asolo.  The price is not the important part of brand comparison, the fit is.  Price will generally tell you how rugged the boot is, but there’s no sense in shelling out premium dollar for a brand name.  Try on multiple boots from different brands- and in different stores.  You’ll find they carry slight differences in products.

In my experience, I’ve found Asolo to be amazing boots and fit my somewhat wide, hobbit feet extremely well.  I bought my Asolo Fugitive GTX boots at Eastern Mountain Sports (@EASTERNMNTN) in Nashua.  They’re pricey, but were the first boot that my feet felt naturally comfortable in- ever.  North Face boots have worked great for my wife’s small slender feet.

It’s a very personal and unique fit you’re going for here.  No one can recommend on fit, only price, durability and the rest- Just remember that 3 miles from the trail-head, after a long day of hiking, price isn’t going to matter if your foot is a giant blister.

With these 3 quick tips in mind you can grab a pair of socks and hit the stores.  You can be confident that the perfect fit is out there and it’s waiting for you to take ’em on the trail!

  • Ty Vaz

    It also depends per person, like in my case i got mine online and broke into them, have them for over 4 yrs now, a pretty off brand called Raichle =) love em tho.

  • http://www.CaseyCheshire.com/ Casey Cheshire

    Hey buddy! Thanks for the comment- had you worn Raichle before you bought them online? In a previous pair of boots, etc? And I agree- there's nothing quite like wearing boots that really fit!

  • Anne

    REI has a rocky slope for such checking out purposes! :)

  • http://www.CaseyCheshire.com/ Casey Cheshire

    Good to know! Thanks for the info :)

  • http://tyvaz.wordpress.com Ty Vaz

    Not at all, and they were my first hiking boots, hiked with them all across the adk as well as paintball 😉

  • http://www.CaseyCheshire.com/ Casey Cheshire

    Well then you definitely lucked out! I don't recommend buying boots online to anyone- lol, you're the man Ty!

  • http://tyvaz.wordpress.com Ty Vaz

    sure did… really comfy and cool boots

  • http://www.rachatdecredit.net rachat de credit immobilier

    It's important to evaluate a new pair of hiking boots while you're still in the store. There are 3 important checks that will go a long way toward ensuring.

  • http://www.walkingsticksandcane.com/ Tristan Benette

    Bringing a pair of socks from home works every time, Casey. Let me add that bringing a hiking stick will be a great idea and help you with your boots, too. It has tons of uses: it will give you balance while crossing creaks or rivers, if you are carrying a heavy load, help you maneuver when crossing downed trees over trails, break or prevent a fall, reduces stress shock on knees and hips, etc.