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Hiking Boot Fitting Tips

Proper fit and footwear selection will make any trek more enjoyable. Boots that hammer your arches, blister your heels, and pinch your toes will transform your weekend into torture. To avoid this needless pain, follow some time-tested guidelines.

  • Ask for one of the most experienced boot fitters. They can offer more guidance when you have a tricky fit problem. If they aren’t there, make an appointment to see them later.
  • Either bring your own sock combination or plan to by a new set at the store. That way, you will be wearing the same socks to try on the boots that you’ll be wearing on the trail. Volume is a very important factor in boot fitting and your socks will make a difference.
  • Get measured! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a size 10 for the last 10 years. Have your foot measured using a Brannock device with a standardized size scale. Manufacturer sizing is not universal and an experienced boot fitter will be able to select the correct size for you. Most of all, trust your feet, not a number.
  • Try on boots near the end of the day. Your feet will be swollen from standing or sitting all day. This will resemble the feel you will have on the trail. Make sure to leave enough time before the store closes to walk in some boots.
  • Take your time. Try on as many different styles as you can before choosing and walk for several minutes in each style. It may take some time for pressure points too appear. Your last choice may be the perfect fit for you and comfort is far more important than looks. Pay close attention to the comfort of the tongue and the heel as  a majority of the problems will appear in these two places.
  • Once the boots are laced up snug, you shouldn’t be able to kick your toes into the front of the boot. Slightly tap the toe of your boot on the ground. If your toe is hitting the front of the boot, they’re either too small or, in most cases, too roomy of a fit.
  • You are the only person who will know if the fit is perfect. The salesperson is there to get you close and give you as much guidance as possible. From there you need to trust your feet. Value the comfort of the boot above all else.
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