When it comes to hiking, one of the most necessary things is the fit of your hiking footwear. The whole experience of your hiking majorly depends on your hiking shoes.
While there is plenty of hiking footwear, it might get confusing for hikers to choose the perfect one from so many available options. Irrespective of what footwear you are choosing, the footwear should fit perfectly in your feet. Otherwise, chances are not only that the experience would be gruesome, but also you might face danger or blisters while hiking on challenging surfaces.
How will you find the perfect hiking footwear? Read our article on The Ultimate Guide to Fit your Hiking Shoes to find out.
Tips for finding the perfect fit for your Hiking Shoes:
The type of your feet
This might sound weird to some, but knowing the type of your feet is very important to find the perfect fit for hiking shoes. Some people have high arches; some have flat feet, some have wide feet or bunions.
Knowing this particular feature of your feet might help you to choose your fit. Besides, it will help the salesman to narrow down options for you.
Timing of visiting the store:
As weird as it sounds, but the timing you are trying your shoes out affects a lot in finding the perfect fit. Visit the shop at the end of the day, when your feet are swollen from walking. Usually, while hiking, our feet swell up, so it is better to try shoes when the fit is increased in volume. It might help you to get the perfect type of hiking shoe.
The finger test:
This is a famous trick among hikers to know if the shoes fit well or not. When you are trying out a shoe, before lacing, put your index finger in between the heel area of your feet and the shoe. You should be able to slip your finger without applying any force.
If it requires you to force your finger, then the shoe is probably tight for you. On the other hand, if you can slip your finger without touching the back of the hiking shoe, then undoubtedly, the shoe is too large for you.
When you lace your hiking shoes, make sure you lace them tightly but not restrictively. After lacing, if you think your feet are feeling suffocated, then the shoe size is small for you. Additionally, after lacing, if you think there is a lot of room inside your shoes, then the size is large for your feet.
Ideally, once you lace your shoe, your feet should not feel like they can slide ahead. Again it also should also not feel as if the blood circulation between your feet would stop.
Test the flexibility:
As you plan your hiking route, ensure that your boots are flexible enough to move smoothly over different types of terrain, such as soft terrain and rocky terrain. Hiking on rocky jugged surfaces with running shoes can be utterly painful.
The perfect type of hiking shoe for you also depends on your skill level and how far you're hiking. Some hiking shoe stores keep rock and other features that are helpful in determining if the shoes have enough strength and flexibility to handle walking over different types of terrain.
Walk around the store:
This step is the most important one while buying your shoes. Do not visit the store when you are in a rush. Spend a good amount of time before you find the perfect fit for your hiking shoes. Walk around the store.
Try to understand if you are feeling comfortable walking around while wearing those shoes. Some retailers also have rocky incline camps so that customers get a better idea if the shoes suit their needs or not.
Apart from hiking boots, other types of hiking footwear do not need a break-in period. But we recommend you try them on your home before you actually go hiking with them. It is a great chance to change your shoes before it is too late. Besides, it gives your feet the scope to cope up with the new shoes.
Online shopping is not the best way to find the perfect fit for your boot. While you may find a lot of information about the hiking footwear you want to buy online, you do not have the chance to practically try them before buying. Moreover, you cannot rely on reviews as well.
Because the size of the feet and the feeling of comfort varies from person to person. Therefore we recommend you repeat purchase online instead of getting an absolute new pair of hiking shoes.
Hiking Shoes for people with plantar fascia:
According to some studies, 1 in 10 people suffer from plantar fasciitis at least once in their lifetime.
The plantar fascia is a coarse connective tissue that extends from the bottom of your feet to the heel of your toes. The tissue is built to take the stress a man places on their feet. Although the ligament is strong enough to withstand force, sometimes too much pressure might tear it. When the ligament is broken or torn, a certain inflammation arises, which is named plantar fasciitis.
Some factors to consider while buying hiking shoes:
While buying hiking shoes, keep in mind certain key factors such as ankle support, water resistance, durability, traction, weight, breathability. When you are looking out for hiking shoes, at first decide what type of footwear will suit your needs.
Unlike before, the options to choose your hiking footwear is not only limited to hiking boots. You can choose from hiking shoes, hybrid hiking shoes, trail running shoes, approach shoes, mountaineering boots, backpacking boots.
But the question is which one do you prefer?
If you are someone who wants to save every ounce, then hiking boots is not the option we would recommend. If your hiking trail is not uneven, in fact, if it is light, day hiking, we would recommend you to go for trail running shoes. Trail running shoes are featherlight weight. The experience of hiking would be really comfortable and fun with these types of shoes.
On the contrary, if your hiking trail is uneven terrain and if you are a newbie in hiking, go for hiking boots. While they might be a little heavyweight but they would provide you with ankle support, stability, and grip. If you have years of experience in hiking, go for hiking shoes.
Additionally, someone who has a weak ankle joint or a previous injury should not opt for anything else rather than hiking boots. Hiking boots provide the right amount of ankle support, so they would be a perfect fit for anyone who is suffering from such a problem.
Although some brands claim they introduced a new hiking shoe that is lightweight and can provide maximum ankle support, we are not sure how much support a low-cut hiking shoe can provide. Hence, it is better to protect your weak ankles from any calamity instead of taking a chance.
A lot of hiking boots, trail running shoes, and hiking shoes have water-resistance quality. Waterproof hiking shoes are a necessity when you are hiking in a cold region. But it is also important to note that, water-resistance functionality of a hiking shoe prevents the breathability of that shoe.
To prevent water from going inside the shoe, the upper portion is built robustly with tough material, which makes the inside of the shoe air-resistant. Hence, while hiking in summer or in dry condition, a water-resistant shoe might get uncomfortable as your feet might get swampy.
But this can be an advantage while hiking in winter, snowy conditions, or colder regions. Therefore, we suggest you do some research about the hiking trail you would be following. Try to get an insight into the weather condition of that area.
Furthermore, the longevity of hiking footwear depends on the type of footwear you are choosing. There is a strong connection between cost-effectiveness with the longevity of the footwear.
While you might cut out on hiking boots for their heavyweight, you might also have to give up the durability. Hiking shoes are comparatively more durable than other hiking footwear. Trail running shoes might offer hikers a lot of flexibility and comfort, but they lack longevity. As a consequence, the user might have to buy two or three pairs of them each year.
Hiking footwear that is constructed with heavy or sturdy fabrics not only lasts long also protects feet from any kind of debris and insects.
When it comes to hiking footwear, each detail is necessary and has a great impact on each other. Hence, it is important to know the type of your feet and know your needs and choose your footwear accordingly. Do not take the decision of buying your hiking footwear in a jiff. Consider spending time before you choose your footwear. Only then you will get the perfect fit for your hiking shoes.