The Only Hiking Boots Buying Guide You Need

It is often difficult to know where to start when picking a pair of hiking boots. I mean, just picking a pair of slippers can be challenging for some of us. When it comes to specialized shoes, it becomes even more difficult. They are often higher than what most would consider a “cheap” price point. This means that getting this decision wrong can be costly.

Nowadays, we often can return goods if we are not satisfied within a set period. I am personally not a fan of returning anything. Not to mention the hassle that comes with it. That is, if the issue with the boots is immediately identifiable. Otherwise, you will have used the shoes one time too many.

The best way to avoid all of this is by making an informed decision. Seeing as I am writing this and reading it, you have already made a great decision. I will give you some things that you should look out for when shopping for your pair of hiking boots.

Start Your Hiking Boots Buying Guide Here

There are a few ways that you can tackle this. We know that people are different, so that we will throw a few methods at you. It is up to you to pick the one that you think best suits you.

Buying for purpose

This is a no-brainer, yet it still has to be said. When you are buying hiking boots consider why you are buying them. It is very easy to fall into buying something that does not fit the purpose.

When we are presented with many options, not having a criterion for making this choice makes it complicated. As great as choices are, they also make it easy to lose track of what really matters.

Before you go online shopping or in-store, have a set of criteria and stick to it. This also makes it easier to ask the right questions. One could be, “I am looking for strong boots.” and yet another would be, “I need help finding a pair of walking boots that are waterproof.” The second person would likely get what they are looking for.

A great example of this is when my mother went to buy her new laptop. All she asked for was a “state of the art” computer. She came back with a shiny computer with all the “bells and whistles” but nothing to show for when it came to performance. Performance is what counts the most. The looks should always come secondary.

Conditions to be faced

Are you buying your shoes to tackle a specific terrain or event? This is a great way to pick the right shoe. In this case, we tend to go for the tried and true ones.

In most events, you will find shoes that others have used to tackle that same terrain. These will likely do the job. Provided they may have been used as part of an endorsement deal for the user. If they worked then, they would likely do the same for you, minus the endorsement, of course.

Even if it is not for an event, can you tie it to a location? Consider that as well. If not, where will you be using the shoes? What sort of surfaces will you be walking on for the most part. No two shoes are equal in this regard. What works on a hard flat surface, won’t necessarily do the job on a rocky surface.

Buy for destination

We tend to buy new hiking boots if we are going away. This point is similar to the previous one in some ways. Consider your destination. Are these hiking boots made for the conditions you are heading into or the ones you are leaving behind? If you are in Western Europe and traveling to South America or the Middle East, this would apply.

The summers tend to be much warmer in one than the other. If your shoes are made for a European summer, it does not qualify them for a Middle Eastern summer. The same would go for winter the other way around. We could go as far as to say, winter hiking boots in Europe may not cut it if put through North Pole temperatures.

Buy by brand

This is one that we are somewhat divided on. It tends to be a cop-out. You don’t have to dig as deep to find a good pair of hiking boots if you search by brand. Knowing the right brands makes a difference.

The downside of this is you also get charged a “brand” price. For the most part, there is not much superiority between the top brands and a half-decent one.

A half-decent brand may mean that you may get it wrong and get a poor-quality boot. This is something that can also happen with a top brand. Except that the risk of this happening with a top brand is much lower.

The other side of the coin is that getting it wrong with a cheap brand is not as costly. Well, at least not immediately. They do say if you buy cheap, you tend to pay twice. Bear that in mind.

Some great brands include:

Returns Policy and Warranty

This is probably one of the last points in this guide. You will probably get it wrong once with your hiking boots. You want to make sure that the company you are buying it from has great returns and warranty policies. Our favorite for this is VivoBarefoot from the UK. They offer a 30 day return period!

When it comes to a warranty, you want to know that you can return them for a replacement or your money back if your shoes are defective. This may be facilitated by either the manufacturer or the distributor.

Buy for you

This is a bonus one. I would say that it is also fairly obvious. You want to make sure you are buying shoes that suit your condition. If you have any physical condition, consider these.

Perhaps you need arch support.

It could be that you need them to be breathable.

You may need more cushioning.

Hiking Boots Buying Guide Checklist

  1. Are these hiking boots waterproof? YES / NO (does it matter to you?)
  2. Do they fit the purpose I want to you them for? YES / NO
  3. Are they suitable for the conditions in which I will use them? YES /NO
  4. Will I be traveling with these? YES / NO (Do they fit destination?)
  5. Is this a big brand? YES / NO (Does it matter?)
  6. What is the returns policy? Am I happy with it YES / NO
  7. Do I have any condition or needs that the boot’s shoe meets? YES / NO

I hope this hiking boots buying guide has helped you pick your perfect pair. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section. We will be sure to assist you.

Hi there. This is Clare. Dave and I manage this site. We are outdoor enthusiasts. Most of the content is about products that we love using or have researched.
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