How To Correctly Fit Hiking Boots

Knowing how to correctly fit hiking boots will save you from blisters and busted outings. A correctly fit hiking boot will support your feet and ankles on long treks and provide traction on rough or slippery terrain. Choose an insulated or leather boot for winter hikes and a light-weight synthetic for summer trekking.

  1. Try on the boot wearing the socks you plan to wear hiking. To properly fit a hiking boot you need to replicate the conditions of hiking. Choose synthetic or wool socks that will wick moisture away from your skin.
  2. Stand flat-footed in both boots. A correctly fitted boot will securely cup the heel and not be too tight across the instep. There should be no more than 1/2 inch of space between the end of your big toe and the front of the boot.
  3. Slide your toes all the way forward in your boot. You should be able to insert one finger between your heel and the back of a correctly fitted boot. If you can't, the boot is too tight.
  4. Squat down. Your toes should just his the front of the boot. Your heel shouldn't come up out of the boot. The front part of the boot should bend without cutting into the top of your foot.
  5. Walk around.  Your heel shouldn't slip and your toe shouldn't rub. If your foot moves around in the boot, that's okay, but if you can lift your heel more than 1/8 inch, you should, try a smaller size or a different style.
  6. Walk in different terrain. To correctly fit a hiking boot, you need to walk up and down an incline and over rough terrain. If the store where you're purchasing your boots doesn't offer these conditions, walk around for at least ten minutes. If you feel any chafing or tightness in any area, try a different boot.

Tip:

  • Try on boots toward the end of the day when your feet are the largest they'll be all day.

Resource:

National Outdoor Leadership School: Boot Fitting Information 

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