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If you're preparing for a hike but still need a pair of boots, you've come to the right place. Buying a good pair of hiking boots isn't just about choosing a brand that looks nice—it's about finding a boot that meets your specific needs.

Here are some things you need to consider when buying hiking boots to ensure that your trip is fun and injury-free.

Choosing the Right Style

Choosing the right pair of boots has a lot do to with the specifics of your hiking plans. Both the intensity of your hike and the length of your trip should factor into your final decision.

These are the four main styles of hiking boots and the situations that each is designed for.

Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes are light and flexible in their construction, which makes them feel less cumbersome than more heavy-duty boots. However, this increased level of comfort means they don't offer quite as much support as other styles. Choose a quality hiking shoe if you plan on hiking trails that are short and well-maintained.

Light Hiking Boots

Light hiking boots are similar to hiking shoes, but they generally have a higher cut, which means they offer more support and protection for your feet and ankles. They are better suited for longer trips or hikes over more rugged terrain. If you struggle with ankle support issues, light hiking boots also make a good option on easier hikes for increased peace of mind about injuries.

Backpacking Boots

If you're planning a multi-day hike that requires carrying a heavy load, backpacking boots are the way to go. They're designed to help you safely support the extra weight of a backpack. Additionally, the heavy duty construction of backpacking boots means they won't fall apart as quickly as other styles when exposed to rugged terrain and changing weather conditions.

Military Boots

Hikers are increasingly turning to military boots because of their high-quality construction and durability. However, not all military boots are made the same. Military boots designed for cold weather will likely feel too hot and heavy for warmer environments. And those made for desert conditions won't provide enough protection for cool temperatures or precipitation.

Choosing Waterproof Boots

If your hike is going to take you through rivers, streams or other wet environments, choosing waterproof boots is a must. That being said, it's not always wise to go with this option.

For example, in warm, dry conditions, waterproof boots aren't just unnecessary—they can be a painful hindrance too. They're likely to make your feet feel hot and can trap moisture that leads to blisters or other skin problems. Making the right decision about waterproof hiking boots is all about being aware of the conditions you're likely to encounter.

There is an overwhelming number of boot options for hikers, but choosing the right one doesn't have to be a mystery. By keeping the previous information in mind, you'll find a pair that can carry you almost anywhere you want to go!


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