Your Ultimate Guide to Hiking Boots7.25.2023
How to Choose the Best Hiking Boots for You
Hiking boots are the essential item to have when on a trek, whether that’s through the thick brush of wilderness or on rocky terrain in the southwest. Not having a pair is a sure-fire way to get in some serious trouble, which is why understanding their uses and benefits is incredibly important – for both beginner hikers and experienced pros.
In this blog, we’ll be discussing all things hiking boots: what they are, why they’re necessary, and how to break them in before your next grand hiking adventure through the Smoky Mountains National Park!
Hiking Boots vs. Traditional Sneakers: What’s the Difference?
You wear tennis shoes to play tennis, you wear gym shoes at the gym – so, what do you wear while hiking? That’s right, hiking boots.
While many people may feel comfortable wearing a pair of sneakers on a hike, we don’t recommend it. Hiking boots differ from traditional sneakers in many ways, including their design, functionality, and longevity.
Hiking boots are expertly designed with larger and thicker tread in order to protect against dangerous slips and falls that can occur on textured ground. Because of this, they’re also thicker and more supportive than traditional trail runners in order to protect your ankle and joints.
Trail runners or traditional sneakers are more lightweight than hiking boots, which is perfect for solid, even ground like a running track. They’re also more versatile and can be used more than just exercise. Hiking boots should really only serve the purpose of hiking and aren’t designed for athleisure wear.
The Benefits of Hiking Boots
Now that you know the difference between hiking boots and traditional trail runners, let’s take a look at their many benefits and how investing in a good pair can really save you time, money, and stress in the future.
- Better Support and Protection – Unlike traditional shoes, hiking boots typically offer far greater ankle support, which can help to protect against ankle sprains from slips and falls on the trail.
- Breathability and Durability – Hiking boots are typically made with nylon and split-grain leather or suede, making them extremely durable and breathable. The natural fibers of the leather is combined with nylon mesh, which means, with proper care, they’re able to last anywhere between 500 to 1,000 miles.
- Greater Tread for Trails – The most important part of a hiking boot is tread. This feature is responsible for gripping uneven surfaces and preventing falls while on rocky terrain. Hiking boots are uniquely designed with thick tread that will provide unmatched traction on a variety of surfaces.
How Should Hiking Boots Fit?
Hiking boots should fit you the same way a traditional shoe would – snug on the sides with room for you to wiggle your toes. While exercising (or on a hike) your feet will often swell and expand, which is why it’s important not to purchase a pair of boots that are too small. If anything, you’ll want to find a pair of boots that are maybe a half of a size larger in order to accommodate the swell in your feet.
How to Break in Hiking Boots?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not actually that difficult to break in a pair of hiking boots; all you need is just need a little patience and a good pair of socks.
You can break in hiking boots in a variety of ways: walking around the house, wearing large socks and going for very short hikes repeatedly, or taking them on a casual adventure around town. Depending on how frequently you’re wearing your boots, this process usually takes a couple of weeks, so be patient!
How Much Should You Spend on Hiking Boots?
If you’re new to hiking and want to invest in a pair of boots that will stand the test of time (or that of a rough trail), you’ll want to initially pay more and get a high-quality pair. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to spend $200 for a single pair of hiking boots.
In general, you should look to spend around $50 to $100 on a good quality pair of hiking boots. To help them last, make sure you’re consistently cleaning them and keeping them in a cool, dry area.
Take Your Hiking Boots on an Adventure to Cherokee, North Carolina
Ready to take your hiking boots on an adventure you’ll never forget? Come visit Cherokee, North Carolina and witness the beauty of the Smoky Mountains National Park combined with the history of the Cherokee people.
There’s never a dull moment (or a boring trail) when you’re here, so pack up the family and friends and plan your trip today!