Buying hiking boots online can be difficult and time-consuming, but with this article, we hope to send online shoppers down the right trail. Providing 5 essential tips to help you find the best boots for you, with no fuss.
Hikers often prefer to buy their hiking boots in physical stores, avoiding the challenges of being unable to inspect the quality, fit, and size of boots, along with potential issues such as shipping times and return policies.
However, buying a pair of fresh boots online can be the best way to ensure you get the lowest price available, whilst having more choice in ranges and brands. Not to mention honest reviews and detailed technical information.
By considering the 5 tips listed below, you can make an informed decision and strike gold on your first purchase. The perfect hiking boot is out there!
Know Your Foot Size
Make sure you know your foot size before purchasing hiking boots online. This may seem obvious but many people don´t know their true foot size, especially when it comes to hiking boots.
Here are some simple ways to determine your true foot size:
How To Measure Your Foot Size For Hiking Boots
We recommend including socks when measuring foot size for hiking boots.
Socks can add extra bulk and thickness to your feet, which can affect the fit of the boots. When measuring your feet: wear the socks you plan on wearing with your hiking boots to ensure an accurate fit. This will help you choose the right size of hiking boots that will provide enough space and support for your feet and prevent discomfort or blisters during your hike.
Take the steps below to gain an accurate measurement:
- Gather a ruler or tape measure, a piece of paper, and a pen or pencil
- Place the piece of paper on the floor and against a wall
- Stand with one foot on the paper and ensure your heel is lightly touching the wall
- Use a pen or pencil to mark the longest point of your foot on the paper, usually at the tip of your big toe. It is better if someone makes the mark for you so that you don’t move your foot
- Repeat the above steps for the other foot
- Measure the length of your foot from the back edge of the paper to the mark you made on the paper
- Record the measurement in both inches and centimeters
- Compare your foot length measurement to a sizing chart provided by the manufacturer of the hiking boots you’re interested in
- If your foot measures between sizes, it’s usually best to go up to the next size for hiking boots to allow for thicker socks and foot swelling during long hikes
What Type Of Hiking Do You Want To Do?
When you want to buy hiking boots online you must consider the type of hiking you would like to do. There are different types of hiking boots specifically designed for different terrains and hiking styles.
The most common or popular boot may not be the best option for you. If you intend on light, infrequent use, you may not have to spend extra money on features that you don’t need.
Here are the common types of hiking and the most suitable boots for the job:
Day hiking is a form of hiking where hikers go for a hike during the day and return to the starting point on the same day. It typically involves hiking on well-maintained trails for several hours, often through scenic natural areas such as forests, mountains, or parks. It is the most popular form of hiking and therefore has the best choice of available boots.
The Best Footwear For Day Hiking Is Mid-Cut Hiking Boots
These boots offer good ankle support and protection, making them a good option for day hikes on rough terrain. They are generally lighter and more flexible than full-cut hiking boots, which makes them ideal for day hikes on moderate terrain.
This type of hiking involves carrying all your supplies with you and camping along the trail for multiple days.
The Best Footwear For Backpacking Is Full-Cut Hiking Boots
Full-cut hiking boots offer the highest level of ankle support and protection, making them a good option for backpacking trips on rugged terrain. They provide more stability and structure to support the weight of your backpack.
Thru-hiking involves hiking long distances, usually spanning several months, so having the right pair of hiking boots is crucial.
The Best Hiking Boots For Thru-Hiking Are Lightweight Hiking Boots
Lightweight hiking boots offer the necessary support and protection without adding too much weight to the feet. They are also usually more flexible and breathable than heavy boots. These factors are considered the most important for long-distance hiking.
Peak bagging involves hiking to the summit of multiple peaks in a short period. It typically involves hiking on steep, rocky terrain, so having the right pair of hiking boots is important for safety and performance.
The Best Hiking Boots For Peak Bagging Depend Greatly On The Terrain You Expect To Encounter
Hikers must look at the route, trail conditions, and weather conditions when choosing their boots. For popular and fairly easy peaks a pair of mid-cut hiking boots would be ideal. As conditions get harder and some climbing or icy conditions are involved, hikers may go for a more specific boot such as approach shoes or mountaineering boots.
Trail running is a type of running that takes place on off-road trails. This typically involves running on natural surfaces such as dirt, gravel, rocks, and roots and can take place in a variety of environments, including forests, mountains, deserts, and along coastlines.
Trail running shoes are designed specifically for moving fast over rough terrain
They are usually very comfy, fitting very similar to a standard trainer but with more stability and a thicker sole that has more tread. Harder and softer soul compounds are available depending on the ground that you wish to cover. Softer offering more grip but wearing out quickly when used on hard ground or roads.
Adventure hiking is a type of hiking that involves exploring remote and challenging terrain, often to reach a particular destination or accomplish a specific goal. This form of hiking can involve a range of activities, including backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, and exploring off-the-beaten-path trails.
Adventure Hikers Will Generally Choose A Boot, Specifically Chosen For The Conditions
Different adventures require different boots. This can be almost any type of hiking boot and sometimes even a mix of several types.
Reading reviews on hiking boots can help you make a well-informed decision when purchasing hiking footwear.
Reviews can provide valuable insights from other hikers who have already tested the boots and can offer an honest opinion on their performance. By reading reviews, you can identify common issues that other hikers have experienced, such as poor durability, lack of comfort, and fit for specific foot types. Such insights can help you avoid potential problems with your boots.
Additionally, reviews can help you compare different models of boots, their features, and their benefits. This can be useful in selecting the best boots for your needs. Ultimately, reading reviews can help you make a more confident and informed purchase decision, which can lead to more enjoyable and comfortable hiking experiences.
Compare prices from different retailers to ensure you’re getting a good deal. Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the best option in terms of quality, customer service, and delivery options.
Follow The Below Steps To Ensure That You Are Getting The Best Deal:
- Do some research to identify the exact model of the hiking boot you want to buy, and make note of its features and specifications. Sites such as Reddit are a great place to ask the hiking community on their top choices.
- Search for the hiking boot on multiple online retailers. Rei and Backcountry, and are great places to start
- Check for any promotions or discounts that may be available on each website, such as coupon codes or sale prices. Some Coupon sites may also have special deals for certain brands
- Factor in the cost of shipping and any applicable taxes or fees when comparing prices across different websites
- Consider the reputation and customer service of each retailer when making your purchasing decision
By following these steps, you can ensure that you are getting the best possible price on your hiking boots while also considering factors such as quality, shipping, and customer service.
Check The Return Policy
When shopping online or in-store, it’s important to carefully review the return policy before making a purchase. This is especially true for hiking boots as sizing and fit may not always be as expected. Returning a pair of boots for a different model, size or brand is not uncommon.
Things To Look Out For In A Return Policy
- Timeframe: Look for the timeframe allowed for returns. Some stores may allow returns within 14 days, while others may offer a more generous 30 or 60-day window.
- Condition: Make sure you understand what condition the item must be in to be eligible for a return. Some stores may require the item to be in its original packaging and in new, unused condition.
- Return shipping: Review the policy for who is responsible for return shipping costs. Some stores may offer free return shipping, while others may require the customer to pay for return shipping.
- Refund method: Will you receive a full refund, or will there be restocking fees or other deductions? Will the refund be issued to the original payment method or as store credit?
- Exclusions: Check if there are any exclusions to the return policy, such as final sale items or items that have been customized or altered
- Proof of purchase: Find out if you will need to provide proof of purchase, such as a receipt or order confirmation, to initiate a return
- Customer service: Ensure you know how to contact customer service if you have any questions or concerns about the return policy or the return process
What Are The Benefits Of Buying Hiking Boots Online?
- Convenience: Online shopping allows you to browse and purchase hiking boots from the comfort of your own home. You can shop at any time, day or night, without having to worry about store hours or travel time.
- Wider Selection: Online retailers often have a wider selection of hiking boots than brick-and-mortar stores, giving you more options to choose from.
- Better Prices: Online retailers may offer better prices on hiking boots due to lower overhead costs compared to physical stores.
- Easy Comparison: You can easily compare different brands and styles of hiking boots online, making it easier to find the best pair for your needs.
- Reviews and Ratings: Online shopping allows you to read reviews and ratings from other customers who have purchased the same hiking boots, giving you more information to make an informed decision.
- Time Savings: Shopping for hiking boots online can save you time compared to visiting multiple stores in person to find the right pair.
What Are The Negatives Of Buying Hiking Boots Online?
- Fit: The fit of hiking boots can be difficult to gauge online. You may not have the opportunity to try on the boots before buying, which can make it challenging to find the right size and style that will be comfortable for your feet.
- Quality: You may not be able to inspect the quality of the boots in person, which can be a concern when purchasing hiking boots that need to be durable and withstand the rigors of hiking.
- Return policies: If the boots do not fit or meet your expectations, the return process can be complicated and may result in additional shipping costs or restocking fees.
- Limited selection: Not all online retailers may offer the same selection of hiking boots as brick-and-mortar stores, which can make it difficult to find the right style or model that you want.
- Shipping times: It may take longer for the boots to arrive if they are being shipped from a warehouse or distribution center, which can be a concern if you need the boots quickly for an upcoming hiking trip.
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