Regardless of where or when you plan to go hiking, having the best hiking boots you can find can make a difference in your safety and comfort. When you go to the sports store in search of boots, you will need to have in mind the type of hiking you plan to be doing. There are different boots made for walking on smooth trails, climbing mountain trails, and climbing steep trails over tough terrain.
The best hiking boots are built with a sturdy sole and the uneven paths you will encounter while in the wilderness. A solid bottom can also prevent injury to the feet from any stones or thorns you may accidentally step on while hiking. They should also have decent cushioning on the insole to reduce the possibility of blisters and the sides should offer sufficient support to help protect your ankles from being twisted to one side on uneven terrain.
Once you have determined the type of hiking you will be doing, consider the best hiking boots for that activity. Trail shoes, usually suggested for walking on smooth trails, are recommended for short hikes or one-day walks. These are less for protecting the feet and ankles from rocky terrain and more for protecting the bottom of the foot.
Heavier Trails Require Sturdier Boots
For those heading out for three or more days on rugged trails, trail hikers and the best hiking boots for that type. They have the tread on the bottom needed for rocky ground and can provide traction in the mud. Usually waterproof, they will be higher cut on the sides and protect from twisting the ankles as well as any branches that be encountered in the wild.
For those looking at the sport of mountain climbing, there are boots designed that may also accommodate attaching crampons for crossing glaciers and steep mountains. These are the best hiking boots for ankle protection in steep trails and also have a stiff sole to provide additional support while climbing steep mountains. While cushioned insoles can help prevent blisters, they may also bunch up under the feet, so ensure they are cushioned but secured inside the boot.
Even if you buy the best hiking boots you can find, a proper fit is necessary to prevent foot problems while walking. While they need to be waterproof, they also need to be able to breathe to allow them to dry out quickly at the end of the hiking.