When I first started hiking, I didn’t realize how big of a difference that a great pair of hiking boots can make. Not only does a good pair of boots provide you with great traction, ankle support, arch support and water/mud resistance, but they give you the ability to go further both today and the day after.
Choosing the Right Pair
Hiking shoes and boots come in many different styles, and offer different features depending on what you are looking for. Some of the key differences among boots are the:
- Ankle Support – Low/Medium/High
- Water Resistance or Water Proof
- Tread Style
- Lacing Style
- Insulation or lack thereof
Its important to balance those needs when choosing a shoe – I personally go for a medium top, waterproof boot with light insulation and a rugged/stubby tread design, but that is up to you. If you do not get an insulated boot, you will need to consider a separate pair of boots for winter hiking.
I would recomend going to a sporting goods retailer and trying on several different brands before shopping online and deciding which ones you would like to buy!
What I Wear and Recommend
I chose Oboz brand boots after also trying on pairs from Merrell, LL Bean, and a few other brands. I went with the Oboz Sawtooth Mid height boots for a few key reasons:
- Overall comfort and fit to my feet
- Sturdyness of tread and shoe material
- Mid ankle support (as I have been prone to roll ankles)
- No additional cost for waterproofing
- Incredible traction – can easily walk up steep rock grades
- Oboz plants a tree for every pair sold
- Affordable price ($125-$150 depending on current sales)
- Decent enough insulation for winter hiking (not for extended treks, however)
Durability – I went through a pair in about a year, but, I’m a little more than your typical hiker (as I also work as a guide). For most people, I think that you could easily get a few years out of these boots.