On my very first campout as a teenager, I wore loafers in the freezing snow. Learned very quickly that a good hiking boot would have been the ticket to a much more enjoyable trip. Now I know that being prepared is first on the agenda. And part of preparation is doing your research and checking up on reviews of the gear you are considering. When checking out hiking boots, there are 3 things that keep coming up. The 3 big highlights are materials and waterproofing, soles and traction and finally fit and support.
Materials and Waterproofing
While reading this article, you’ll learn about some valuable features in hiking boots, and I’ll give you some recommendations specific to the feature I’m sharing. So lets get started!
A good example of a great waterproof shoe is the Kenetrek. Part of their waterproof magic is that they have no seams all the way down to the tongue of the shoe. Other shoes may have sealed stitching or something specialized to keep the boots dry. But problems come up the minute a needle or hole punctures an area on the boot. This allows water to enter. Even something as simple as a stitched seam can cause weak spots in the boot. That’s why a shoe with no seams like the Kenetrek is so valuable. Basically you want to find shoes with as few seams as you can find.
So we know that waterproofing is important. What’s next? Traction.
Soles and Traction
You can have the best boot in the world, but if you are slipping and falling all the time in extremely tough terrain, you’ll get hurt sooner or later. Carrying lots of weight on long trails can give anyone trouble. Especially in water.
But there are some companies that focus only on the soles and treads of shoes. Vibram is one of these companies. They specialize in soles that work well over slick, wet or icy surfaces. Let me tell you about one shoe that features a Vibram sole.
Vibram has developed a sole just for wet surfaces. It’s called the Idrogrip. And there’s one hiking boot that features Idrogrip. Its the Simms G4 Guide Boot. These things have very deep treads that grip on mud and rocks. The G4′s have Nubuck leather uppers too.
Ok, we have waterproofing and traction figured out. But what if your hiking boot doesn’t fit well? Then you can end up with blisters and foot issues. So lets talk about support and fit.
Support and Fit
A good boot when it properly fits is snug, but not too wide. Your boot needs to support your ankles and soles without producing blisters, even in the toughest terrain. A great example of a very good fitting hiking boot is the Keen Voyageur.
Specifically, backpackers love the roomy toe box which keeps your toenails in the right place. You can go for 15 miles treks for days and they stay very comfortable and roomy. Some hikers say that they stay cooler than Gore-Tex boots. They even look so good that hikers wear them as normal day shoes and also wear them to the gym.
Well there you have it. If you are looking for reviews on hiking boots you’ll probably find these three features over and over again. Waterproofing, Size and fit and soles and traction. Each feature alone is very important, but together they really make a great hiking boot. Go pay a visit this week to your local outdoor store. See if they will help you test out a pair with the Vibram Idrogrip. You’ll be amazed at the different places they can take you.