Hiking boots are footwear specifically designed for the sport of hiking. It is the most important hiking gear since its quality and durability can determine a hiker's ability to move farther, faster, and safer. Hiking boots are constructed to provide comfort for miles of walking over rough terrains, and protect the hiker's feet against water, mud, rocks, and other wilderness obstacles. Most hiking boots are also designed for other outdoor activities hiking, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, trail running, casual outdoor wear and water sports.
Hiking boots support the ankle to avoid twisting it but cannot restrict the ankle's movement much. They also must be fairly stiff to support the foot. A properly fitted boot can ensure protection against blisters and other discomforts associated with long hikes on rugged terrain.
- Upper - The upper part of a hiking boots is intended to protect and support the feet with an all-over snug fit. This should be water repellant/proof, but allows the feet to breathe to prevent excess moisture from causing blisters and other discomfort.
- Soles - Soles are the bottom part of your shoes. Hiking boots have deep-lugged soles of tough rubber to provide friction and avoid slipping in any surfaces. Soles absorb and redirect shocks, and provides cushion for your feet.
- Laces - Laces for hiking boots are almost always braided nylon cords. These keep the shoes fit properly and snugly on the feet. There are different lacing systems for hiking boots such as eyelet, D-rings, hooks, webbing, or a combination of two of these systems.
- Tongues - The flaps that cover the inlet of the upper are called Tongues. This is the part the goes underneath the laces. Tongues make sure that water, dirt, and debris will not enter the shoes.
- Linings and Paddings - Linings and paddings provide more protection and comfort to your feet. Foam is often used for padding. This protects the feet from the cold and pressure.
- Insoles / Footbeds - Insoles are the bottom part of the inner where the feet rest on. Insoles that are perfectly shaped to the hiker's feet will ensure maximum support and balance.
- Scree Collars - The Achilles tendon and ankle need protection from chafing, which the scree collars are meant for.
- Crampon Connections - Crampons are made from spikes and are worn on boots to provide traction on snow and ice.
- Trail Shoes - Trail Shoes are made for hiking in dry climate, well-established paths that are less rugged and rocky. Trail shoes are ideal for one-hour to one-day hikes when carrying a light day pack.
- Trail Hikers - Trail hikers are meant for steeper inclines and muddy paths. This pair is often used for three days to a week hiking activity. Trail hikers are sturdier, higher-cut and waterproof boots. These will provide added stability and ankle protection against protruding limbs and rocks.
- Mountaineering Boots - Mountaineering boots are designed to mountain climbing activities. Crampons are often attached to the shoes for a better grip on glaciers or hard-packed snow. Mountaineering boots are extremely strong, durable, and have stiff soles to give the ankles support and protection on difficult trails.
Benefits of using a good pair of hiking boots
Hiking boots are intended for the uneven roads one will encounter in a hiking activity. Here are several reasons why wearing hiking boots is beneficial to the hiker:
- Hiking boots are constructed to be sturdy and hard at the bottom to protect the feet from getting hurt from the rocks, pebbles and thorns on a hiking trail.
- Hiking boots are made with good cushioning for the feet to prevent blisters, which is common in long hiking activity.
- Hiking boots have support on the sides to keep the legs straight.
- Hiking boots also provide support to the ankle to prevent twisting, but will not restrict the ankle's movement.