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  • Writer's pictureRaquel Stanton

Footwear for hiking- Part 3

Do you want to do some hiking but don’t know what kind of shoes to get?

We got some advice to help you make the right choice(s) for you.

This is Part 3 of 3

We've learned what type of shoes you can choose to go out trailing. Part 1 we talked about the variables.

On this blog - part 3 - you are ready to pick what might be best for you. Shopping time!

Choosing Your Shoes

Now that you know what type of shoes you are looking for, it’s time to go shopping!

Besides shoe type, the most important consideration is fit. If you choose your shoes well, you should love them. They won’t hurt except on the longest hikes in the most extreme terrain. Modern boots don’t have much of a break-in period. They are comfortable and adequately supportive out of the box, or they are never going to be, so try your potential hiking shoes on in the store and walk around in them enough to spot any potential problems.

When testing shoes, wear the same socks (with running shoes or trail hikers) or two layers of socks (thick over thin and no cotton, with hiking or mountaineering boots)

you’ll wear on the trail.

Boots are usually worn one or two sizes larger than street shoes. If they really fit, you won’t need to make the laces very tight, except on long descents. You want a good ½ inch or 1 cm of space in front of your toes when your heels are settled into the heel cup.

Take note of any areas that press or rub. If you are feeling anything wrong in a few minutes in the store, you’ll be miserable in those shoes after a few hours on the trail. If you’ll be going off trail, stand on the display rack feet or other rough stuff on the floor to see how much or how little protection the sole provides. If possible, find some stairs to climb and descend. Even if you love the first pair you try on, try another model or brand just to feel how they are different.

If the shoes feel great except for the distribution of support under your foot, consider adding a fancy insole.


Good hiking shoes can be expensive, from roughly $60-$120 for good running or trail hiking shoes, to $130-$300 for good hiking boots. Expect to pay from $200 to over $800 for the fanciest mountaineering boots.

You don’t need to buy the most expensive, but do pay what you have to get a comfortable boot of the right type for the hiking you’ll be doing. If you go cheap and have a bad experience you’re not likely to put the shoes to repeat use and then the whole investment is wasted. If you get good ones and use them a lot, you’ll get many days of enjoyment from them and you’ll be glad you spent the money.

It’s time to get on out there and explore some trails!

Raquel Stanton

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