How to find the best hiking boots

Jumping at the top of Kilimanjaro, Earth's Edge

If you’re heading off on a bucket list expedition, one of the most important things you’ll need is a pair of the absolute best hiking boots. Choose correctly, and these will change your life while you’re trekking up Kilimanjaro or to Everest Base Camp. But choose the wrong pair, and you’ll be cursing your poor decision making with every painful, blister-inducing step.

So, how do you choose the best hiking boots?

Decide which kind you need

This all depends on the kind of terrain you’ll be walking on. If you’re on relatively easy ground, you won’t need as much support. But if you’re on rough, uneven terrain (like Everest Base Camp or Kilimanjaro) you’ll need excellent grip and good ankle support, so choose a boot that has a very rigid sole. Despite what you might think, ankle support comes from the soles, rather than the height of the boot. Shoes like runners, with a flexible sole, are of no use at all on uneven terrain.

Hiking Kilimanjaro with Earth's Edge

Think about temperatures

If you’re going to be climbing at higher altitude and in colder climates, a pair of double lined boots is a must. They may be the only thing standing between you and frostbite! In other climates, you’ll get by with an excellent pair of hiking socks. Whatever you buy, make sure they’re waterproof. There’s nothing more miserable than soggy socks on a hike!

Set a budget

A good pair of hiking boots will last years, which is something worth bearing in mind when you’re setting a budget. Sure, the best hiking boots might be a little more expensive, but if you’re going to be wearing them on hikes in ten years time, the cost per wear will be far better than a cheap pair that fall apart in a year.

Go to a shop

Those online sales might be tempting, but the fit is absolutely crucial when it comes to hiking boots. The best idea? Go to an outdoor gear shop, where the expert staff will know exactly what you need. Tell them your plans and they’ll be able to find the best hiking boots for you. Be sure to wear hiking socks when you’re trying them on, too, as they can affect the fit.

Break them in

This part is crucial! Wear your boots around the house a few times before taking them outside, to make absolutely sure the fit is good. If you’re not used to wearing sturdy hiking boots, they might feel a little odd at first, but they should never pinch or rub. Breaking them in before you set off on a big expedition is the most important thing – taking brand new hiking boots on a big trek is just asking for trouble!

Found the perfect hiking boots and ready to take them for a spin? Check out our expeditions to Kilimanjaro here.

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