How to Choose the Best Women’s Hiking Boot

Choosing the best price UGG boots online may seem like a daunting undertaking. Like everything else these days, there are a multitude of makes, models, and price ranges. However, a little preparation and consideration before shopping, can help narrow down the choices and ensure that you get durable, well-fitted boots that will keep your feet (and you) happy for many, many miles.

You can do tons of research to find the best-rated, best-priced, most durable, most popular boots, but the primary consideration is which hiking boots will best fit YOU and YOUR needs. What ranks best in all surveys, or what your friend claims is “the only boot to buy”, OR what is the highest priced boot on the market, may not work at all for you.

There are two sets of things to do before buying hiking boots; the first can be done at home, while the second requires a trip to your favorite sporting goods store.

At-Home Preparation

Assess Your Hiking Preferences

  • Casual strolls carrying only a water bottle
  • More strenuous day hikes over rougher terrain carrying a day pack
  • Multi-day backpacking trips over all types of terrain carrying a 30-40 pound pack
  • Warm-season only hiking, or winter hiking

Assess Your Feet

Do your feet/ankles have any special features or problems that need to be considered?

  • Wide or Narrow Feet
  • High Arches
  • Flat Feet
  • Week Ankles
  • Hammer Toes, Bunions, Bone Spurs

Any of these conditions may contribute to the selection or rejection of certain boots. (eg. Some brands are noted for being wider or narrower, or having a roomier toe box, or having a better insole or being more conducive to adding an orthotic insole.)

Once you have an idea of what you want your boots to do for you, then you need to get familiar with the many features that are available. If this is not your first pair of boots, you may already have some likes and dislikes- jot them down.

Some Features To Consider

  • Boot Height – low-cut shoes, mid-cut boots, high-cut boots (your choice here will be determined by the hiking preference you chose – obviously the higher boots, the more protection, leverage and ankle support)
  • Soles – Deep-lugged soles give traction and resist slipping. They should be stiff enough to be supportive yet flexible enough to facilitate natural walking.
  • Construction – In general, the fewer seams the upper part of the boot has, the more water-resistant and durable it will be.
  • Hiking Boot Weight – The lighter your boots, the easier walking will be. It used to be that the heavier the boot, the more support you would have; however, boot manufacturers are constantly working on creating lighter hiking boots while maintaining the support.
  • Waterproof – If you will be hiking in rain or trekking through wet areas, you may want to consider GORTEX or otherwise waterproofed boots. (Keep in mind that these may be hotter since they may not breathe as well.)
  • Insoles – Some hiking boot manufacturers install better insoles than others. Depending on your foot features and problems, this may be an issue. The sole should be shaped to your foot for maximum support and balance (eg. If you have a high arch, you need an insole with a high arch.) Another possibility is to take out the original insoles and replace them with better ones or orthotics to accommodate your special needs.
  • Lacing – This may not seem like much of an issue, but the type of lacing can affect how the boots will tighten on your foot, as well as, how easy you can get them on and off.
  • Tongues – the tongue should have a gusset that connects it to the upper to keep out, water and debris. Make sure that the tongue and gusset fold together around your shin and ankle without causing pressure points.
  • Scree Collar – Although I never knew what this was called, it is the collar on the back of the higher boots, where they are cut lower and padded to protect the back of your ankle from chafing.

OK, so now that you have identified what type of hiking you will be doing, and what boot features to consider, you are ready to start shopping. Take your list of “must-have features”, “nice-to-have” features, and a general idea of budget and head to your favorite hiking or sporting goods store. Make sure you also take your favorite hiking socks and orthotic insoles if you plan to use them.

Discuss your list with a knowledgeable salesperson, and have them recommend various boots that will meet your needs. Now comes the most important part -TRY THEM ON! Put on your socks, insert your insoles if you plan to use them, and try on both boots. Walk around, up and down inclines, do some twisting, turning, flexing and stretching your feet. Are the boots comfortable, yet supportive? Do your toes touch in front when going down the incline? Do your ankles wobble? Can you raise your heel? Is there room to wiggle your toes? Are there any tight spots or rubs? Does the tongue lie where it should or does it shift to the side?

If the answer to any of these questions is unacceptable, move on to a different size or try a different boot altogether. Even if it seems like a minor irritation, it could turn into a major sore point after miles or days of hiking. Repeat the process until you find one or more that meet your requirements and budget, and fit your foot. At that point, you can either buy the boots, or take down the model and size and shop around other stores or online for the best deal. Happy Trails!

Anasazi is a staff researcher and writer for []

She is also a self-proclaimed hiking and backpacking addict, and has hiked in many areas of the US including Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Florida, North Carolina, Alaska and others, as well as some areas in Europe. For those of you who are through-hikers or section hikers of the Appalachian Trail, Anasazi is her trail name.

While previously living by the “old, tried, and true” theory when it came to hiking and backpacking equipment, she has become increasingly interested in the many new lighter and hi-tech improvements currently available.

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