You might be asking, "What hiking boots should I buy?" And with so many options available, choosing the right pair can be overwhelming. So how do you know what hiking boots you should buy? Well, we’ve put this guide together for you to answer just that.
Hiking in the stunning landscapes of Ireland can be an enchanting experience, with its rugged coastline, rolling hills, and dense forests. However, if there's one thing that can make or break your hike, it's the quality of your footwear.
Fit Comes First:
So the number one rule when choosing your hiking boot is ensuring a good fit. Remember, a blister-free hike begins with well-fitted boots. Here are some tips:
- Try them on in the afternoon because your feet tend to swell as the day progresses. Trying boots in the afternoon ensures they won't become too tight during a long hike.
- Wear hiking socks. The thickness can affect the fit. Always try boots with the same kind of socks you'll wear on the trails.
- Leave a thumb’s width. There should be space between your longest toe and the end of the boot to prevent toe-crushing on descents.
Location, Location, Location:
One of the most important aspects of buying your boots for hiking is where will you be hiking? If you’re hiking uneven, rocky surfaces regularly you’ll need boots with plenty of ankle support. If you’re hiking in Ireland you should consider investing in hiking boots with higher quality materials and benefits. And this feeds into our next point.
Waterproof or Not?
Ireland, as we all know, is a tad... wet. But that's part of its charm, right? If you hike often, it's worth investing in waterproof boots or at the very least, socks made with merino wool because they’ll keep your feet warm if they get wet. Of course, hiking boots with Gore-Tex lining can be an investment but ask yourself, what’s the price of an enjoyable hike? They'll keep your feet dry in those unexpected showers or when crossing shallow streams.
Now, let’s talk about materials. Different boots offer various advantages, depending on the material.
- Leather: Durable and water-resistant. They might take some time to break in, but they’re perfect for those challenging terrains and longer treks.
- Synthetics: Lighter than leather and break in more easily. They tend to be more breathable but might wear out faster.
Ankle Support & Sole:
For the rocky, rugged, terrains in Ireland, a boot that goes over your ankle can be invaluable. It provides added support and can prevent those pesky ankle twists. A stiff sole might feel a bit more bulky initially, but it provides excellent protection against rocky trails.
Lastly, it's essential that your boots reflect your style. From earthy tones to bold colours, today’s hiking boots come in a variety of designs. For example, the Merrell Men’s MQM 3 Gore-Tex hiking boots are waterproof and available in an earthy boulder or tangerine. Or the Salomon Women’s Outrise hiking boots available in orchid bloom.
And different brands have different fits. For example, if you wear a size 6 in your footwear usually, you’ll want to try a size 5 in Merrell because typically you’ll need to size down in these. Salomon footwear tends to be true to size. But as always, try on your footwear to make sure it’s the right boot for you.
Hiking is not just about the journey or the destination; it's about feeling comfortable and confident while you explore. Whether you’re a casual walker or an avid hiker, the right footwear is a game-changer.
So the next time you find yourself amidst a wall of hiking boots, remember these tips. And always remember, the best boot is the one that feels right for YOU. And if you need help, any of our team members in store will be delighted to help.