Boot tying hack: You probably thought you learned how to tie shoes by the time you were in first grade, but if you have trouble with your boot laces coming untied, or your heel slipping, check out this video for one possible solution!
One of the most asked questions I receive from new hikers and backpackers is, “What are the best shoes or boots for hiking?” The definitive answer is: The ones that fit YOUR feet!
Your feet are the most important asset you have for backpacking, and the wrong boots on them can end your trip! New backpackers, this is one item I would never recommend borrowing from a friend as you begin to collect backpacking gear. My feet have wide toes, narrow heels, and extra high arches. I need boots or shoes with big toe boxes and lots of room in the midfoot, plus a snug heel to keep them from slipping. My husband has long skinny feet. He needs narrow shoes and extra thick socks. Whatever brand fits him well is sure to be awful for my foot.
Regardless of your foot’s shape, you will have some choices to make concerning the type of footwear you should purchase. For situations involving rough, rocky terrain when you are carrying a heavy pack, ankle protection, arch support, and a stiff enough sole to not wrap around rock edges putting pressure on your feet may be important to you and should be considered. Backpacking boots are often a top choice for these conditions. However, not for everyone. With the advent of lighter gear and ultra-light backpacking, more backpackers are opting for lighter boot options and the industry has responded. In addition to hiking boots and hiking shoes, rugged trail runners are now available with grippy soles for traction on wet rocks and other surfaces. Trail runners offer less support and will be less durable over the long haul, but with lighter packs you may need less support and the comfort and light weight of the shoe may make the shorter life-span worth it.
In the end, the type of footwear you select should be a personal choice. If anyone tells you that a certain brand or certain style is “the best”, take that with a large grain of salt. Every person’s foot is as unique as a fingerprint and just because brand X is perfect for “Dave”, doesn’t meant it will work for you. Go to a good outfitter, have them help you select the right boots for the hiking or backpacking you plan to do, and have them fit you. It will be worth the investment.