How do I Choose the Best Trekking Boots?

Gregory Hanson

When shopping for trekking boots, the most important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a perfect pair of boots. Personal comfort and fit must be considered. Boots should be matched to the conditions in which they will be used, with allowances made for warmer or colder climates and greater and lesser degrees of humidity. Quality of construction is a crucial factor when shopping for trekking boots, and personal preference and aesthetics need to be factored in when making a decision.

A group of trekkers.
A group of trekkers.

Trekking boots are heavy hiking boots, intended for long periods of strenuous hiking. As such, they offer excellent support and protection for the foot but are not as flexible or forgiving as lighter boots. This means that the fit of the boots is extremely important, and this type of boot will take a very long time to stretch out to fit a foot, if it ever does. Many hikers prefer to buy this boot at least half a size larger than normal, to allow for a more comfortable fit and to permit the use of thick socks for insulation, as this style of boot is normally not insulated. In any event, a pair of trekking boots must fit comfortably.

Trekking boots.
Trekking boots.

Hiking conditions should factor into a purchasing decision. Hikers planning to spend most of their time in damp conditions should probably consider boots with venting material that allows moisture to escape from the boot. Synthetic waterproofing materials are a good choice if boots are likely to come into contact with water very frequently. Solid leather construction may be more durable, as leather is very rugged and solid construction requires fewer seams. This type of construction should be chosen when boots will not need to vent or resist moisture on a regular basis.

All trekking boots should be very sturdily constructed. An experienced hiker will usually develop a preference for a particular brand, but most name-brand trekking boots are quite durable. Both local hikers and the Internet can be useful resources for finding out more about a brand of boots before purchasing them.

This type of boot is usually made of either smooth or nubuck-finish leather. Both types of leather work well, although the former, if properly maintained, has a slight edge in repelling water. In any case, the stitching on a boot should be strong and tight.

Aesthetics also matter when shopping for trekking boots. Personal taste and preference are important, since a hiker will typically be spending a great deal of time in a pair of boots, and nobody likes to wear footgear that makes them blush with shame at the thought of meeting another hiker.

Thick socks provide extra insulation in trekking boots.
Thick socks provide extra insulation in trekking boots.

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