How to Choose the Right Hiking Boots for Your Outdoor Adventure

by Vibrant Management


Apr 14, 2020

From the Wonders of the West Small Group Tour to the Triple Canyon Private Custom Tour, all of our adventures offer guests a chance to hike some of the most incredible trails in the country.


On average, you’ll hike about 3 miles during each day of your tour with us, though you can always request some longer hikes. Your daily miles aren’t always consecutive. But they can sometimes be steep or cover rocky, slick, or uneven surfaces. Whether you’re exploring the arches of Utah or the mountains of Wyoming, you’ll want to have a good pair of comfortable hiking boots for your trip. Keep reading to learn how to choose and fit the perfect pair for your feet.


Understand the Different Types of Hiking Boots

Not all hiking boots are created equal. Instead, each pair is designed for a certain type of hiking or climate. For the most part, hiking boots fall into one of three main categories; hiking shoes, day hiking boots, and backpacking boots.


The third category, backpacking boots, are designed for hiking long distances over rugged trails. They offer the most ankle support, to help prevent rolled ankles on uneven surfaces. The soles are extremely durable, both to account for those rough surfaces and to provide support when you’re carrying a heavy backpack. The soles of this style of hiking boot are often stiff and rigid. While this means that they can take a long time to break in, they also won’t break down as quickly as other boots.


The middle category, day hiking boots, are designed for less-rugged wear. Perfect for both short and long day hikes, they still offer ankle support and a gripping sole. But they are also more flexible. Many pairs will be comfortable right out of the box, with little breaking in required.


Hiking shoes are the least durable option. However, for those who enjoy only occasional hiking, are often the most comfortable. These shoes look more like durable gym shoes than hiking boots. They offer less ankle support, but also have comfortable midsoles. These are great for all-day wear, both on and off the hiking trail. If you plan to enjoy any water activities, like rafting or hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park, these will also dry the fastest. These aren’t just for light hikers. Some ultralight backpackers and trail runners prefer hiking shoes for their comfortable fit.

Choosing the Right Type of Boot

To decide which type of hiking boot or shoe is right for you, consider the types of hikes you plan to take on. You’ll also want to think about any other features you may need. For instance, waterproof boots are great for keeping your feet dry during a rainy hike, but won’t be as breathable as boots that aren’t waterproof. Some hiking boots are also designed for hiking in different climates. A pair of winter boots will insulate your feet when hiking in the snow but will be too warm for a summer hike in the desert.

How to Try on Boots the Right Way

Shopping online for hiking boots might seem like a good way to get a great deal or shop a wider selection. But while a pair of gym shoes might fit much the same as the next, hiking boots are unique. Because they come in a variety of styles, each designed to fit differently, it’s a good idea to try them on before you buy.


Before you head to the store, there are a few things you should consider first. To start, it’s a good idea to try on shoes late in the day. During the day, many people experience swelling feet. This means that they may be slightly larger in the evening than they were when you first woke up. 


Bring along a pair of hiking socks when you shop. Because they may be thicker than regular socks, you might need to size up to leave room for your warm hiking socks. Finally, if you normally wear insoles for a more comfortable fit or for medical reasons, bring them along. Even if you need to get a new pair for your boots, having some with you will help you make sure that your boots leave room for them.


When you try on a pair of hiking boots, leave them on for at least ten minutes. Walk around the store to see how they feel when you’re moving. Many outdoor stores offer different surfaces for you to test your boots on. Use these to see how the soles of the boots grip rocky, uneven, or slick surfaces.


Can’t go to the store? Look for online options that allow for returns so that you can give your new boots a try before you commit to wearing them for your next outdoor adventure. Carefully measuring your feet and using those measurements to choose the right size and width can also help you get a better fit without trying on the boots first.

Finding the Right Boots for Your Utah Luxury Tour

Choosing the right hiking boots will help you stay comfortable and ensure you’re ready to take on any trail during your outdoor adventure.


Now that you’ve got the perfect boots, it’s time to find the perfect tour. If you’re dreaming of hiking some of the most famous trails in the U.S., check out our Mighty 5® Small Group Tour for a chance to visit all five of Utah’s incredible national parks.


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