How Should Hiking Shoes Fit?

How to choose hiking boots?

Still looking for the best hiking boots on your next journey? Whether a long or a short hikes, It would be best if you had new hiking boots that would support long trips and make your feet comfortable. Finding the right hiking boots is a procedure wherein you must consider many things that might happen during the trip.

The ideal hiking boot fit has to be pleasant for your feet and suitable with where you want to go hiking. You need to ensure that they’re the perfect fit. Because at the end of the day, we want to enjoy ourselves and have fun. After reading this guide, you will understand what new boots are the best that will fit appropriately to your needs and things to consider before you decide to get a pair of hiking shoes.

Types of Hiking Shoes

There are other types of shoes, each of which has advantages and disadvantages for your feet. It depends on the weather, distance, and season.

Here is a list of some of the famous hiking shoes in the market:

Trail Running Shoes

This is perfect for the 3-different season, but they are not advisable during Winter and climbing big stones.


  • It dries fast compared to other shoes
  • It allows your feet to breathe and keeps your feet cool and dry.
  • Lighter foot wear and flexible


  • Not advisable in cold weather and muddy areas
  • Not that durable compared to other hiking shoe

Hiking Boots

It is warmer, supports your ankle, and has more stability. Perfect for off-trail hikes.


  • Provide stability and supports to the ankle
  • Perfect for muddy road
  • Durable
  • Waterproof


  • Slow to dry
  • Heavier, compared to other boots, consume more energy
  • Limits mobility

Hiking Shoes

It’s different from trail runners. It is heavier and stiffer. Suitable for rough terrain and uneven terrain.


  • Perfect for muddy and rough road
  • Some model has water resistance that keeps your feet dry.


  • Not advisable for Winter
  • Waterproof models don’t have ventilation
  • Waterproof models dry slower

Backpacking Boots

It is a high-cut boot that provides better balance and supports the ankle. Recommended for Winter and off-trail, it allows you to carry heavier loads easily.


  • Perfect for Winter and slippery terrain
  • It is warm, recommended if you are hiking in cold weather
  • Good ankle support and protection
  • It is built to carry heavy loads


  • It is bulky, and mobility is restricted
  • Heavy and tiring to use
  • They dry slower when they get wet
  • Expensive

Mountaineering Boots

It is a stiff boot, advisable to wear for steep descents, inclined surface, and climbing with crampons.


  • Best choice for icy adventure and high areas
  • It provides better stability and balance, and it also supports the ankle
  • It gives warmth in cold areas
  • Suitable to use with crampons


  • It limits the flexibility of the ankle due to its bulkiness and stiffness
  • Too heavy, not advisable for a long journey
  • Expensive

Sections of Hiking Boots

Here are the different sections of hiking boots that will help you decide what materials of the pair of hiking boots you will get:

Hiking Boots Uppers

The Upper is everything above the sole, and it is the part that keeps the sole attached to the foot.

Split-grain leather

  • Generally paired with mesh or nylon
  • Commonly used to create lighter footwear

Full-grain leather

  • It is good water resistant, provides high durability, and prevents abrasion.
  • Commonly used in backpacking boots.

Nubuck Leather

  • It is a buffed full-grain leather that resembles suede
  • High durability, prevents abrasion, and high water resistance
  • Flexible material.


  • Commonly found in modern boots
  • Lighter compared to others
  • Dries faster
  • Less expensive

Waterproof membranes

  • Uppers are built with waterproof or breathable materials
  • Keeps feet dry


  • From the word itself, “vegan,” it is hiking shoes or boots that are not made from animals


  • Usually added in mountaineering boots
  • Recommended material when planning to hike in an icy area

Hiking Boot Midsoles

It provides a soft cushion that helps lessen the impact of the shock on your feet. The usual materials for midsoles are:

Eva (ethylene vinyl acetate)

  • softer and lighter material
  • Less expensive


  • High durability with a firmer texture
  • Commonly used in backpacking boots and mountaineering boots.

Hiking Boot Outsoles

Common materials used for all hiking boot outsoles are rubber. Carbons are also added to backpacking or mountaineering boots to make it harder to have more durability.

Heel Brake

  • It helps you to prevent heel slippage and to slide from steep descents.

Lug Pattern

  • Thicker lugs are commonly used in backpacking and mountaineering boot.
  • It provides a better grip.

Hiking Boots Fit

It should not be too cramped, fit snug has better arch support, and offers room to move your longest toe comfortably.

Know your size

  • Some have longer feet, and you should coordinate with a specialist at the store to help you measure the right length ( foot’s length, arch length measured, and width) using a specific device correctly. You should have extra space or at least one index finger or thumb’s width between your toes touch at the end of the insole.

Try your boots to fit at the end of the day. 

  • This will ensure that the pair of hiking boot fit you will buy is not too small for you because usually our feet swell during activities and will change at that time.

You should wear proper socks.

  • This will help you assess if you feel comfortable wearing hiking socks with your boots. Avoid wearing wool socks when testing since it is too thick.

If you wear foot support or braces, bring them with you

  • This will impact your boots right fit

Be familiar with your Boots

  • Try walking up and down the stairs and look for an inclined surface to test if it’s the right fit.

Consider a brand that you’ve worn before when you are buying and shopping online

  • Some boot companies are consistent when it comes to foot models. More likely it has the same size.

Consider aftermarket insoles (Foot beds)

  • Insoles are used to improve support, fit, and comfort. This will prevent you from getting ill-fitting boots, and

When are Hiking Boots Necessary?

Using the perfect foot wear in hiking will create good memories and make you enjoy the whole trip, and to ensure that you will use the foot wear that matches the type of activities you plan on doing, here are the three types of hiking shoes that were built on a specific event.

Light Hiking Shoes

  • It is a low-cut type of shoes with a flexible midsole. It is a perfect day hiking shoes and is advisable for trail runners.

Backpacking Boots

  • It is a High-cut boot for extra support for the ankle. It has stiffer midsoles for additional protection to the bottom of your feet from a rough road. It was built to carry heavy stuff for a long period.

Mountaineering Boots

  • It has high-durability material but is heavier than regular hiking boots. It was built for high-intensity activities like crossing glaciers, climbing alpine, and climbing high-altitude areas. It’s compatible with crampons.

What to Look for in Hiking Boot

Here are the things you need to consider when you are looking for the perfect shoes:

How Tight is the Perfect Hiking Boots Fit

It is essential to have your boots fit properly when going to hike. If you don’t put this as your priority before proceeding with any activity, you’ll probably end up hurting your foot, most especially if your hiking trail is rough.

Double-check the Length

Everyone doesn’t have the same size of feet, and not everyone fit the normal shoe size. Wear your hiking socks when testing the shoe length, and use a longer foot as a base for your shoe length.

How Much Space for your Toes on the Hiking Boots

You need to check your hiking shoes width by putting both feet on the shoes while standing. Your longest toe must feel cozy, and your hiking boots should fit your feet perfectly. It must stay still. If it moves your foot forward, you must re-evaluate your shoes.

Double-check the Heel

You should feel comfortable wearing your boots inside, your heel should not slip up and down, and your heel must stay in the position when you are walking. The shoes are too tight if you feel something on the heel lift.


Should you size up or down in hiking shoes?

Feet swell during activities. It’s best to buy your Hiking boots or shoes a half size bigger than you think you need.

Should hiking shoes be loose or tighter?

It should not be too tight, fit snug, has better arch support, and offer room to move your toes comfortably.

How much room should be in the toe of a shoe hiking?

No one wants their new pair of hiking boots to hurt them, have at least an inch or one finger space between your toes and the end of your boots.

How do you know if your hiking shoes are too big?

If you can insert one finger between the end of the boot and your heel, more or the boots fit is too large or small.

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