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Picking The Best Hiking Boot

Discussion in 'Attire' started by 2sweed, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    This winter I have been trying to decide on the best type of boot for hiking. There are so many different brands and companies that sell hiking boots that picking the right boot and the best company can be mind-boggling. I keep going over the possibilities of picking a boot that can handle wet and dry conditions, which makes crossing streams a bit easier and keeps the socks drier, compared to a boot that is for more rugged conditions.

    In my younger days I used the lighter weight boots for around camp and the heavier leather-type boot for on the trail. This way I was protecting my ankles from rocks and they gave me more solid footing on rough trail conditions. And of course since I live in rattlesnake country, they gave me a bit of protection in that regard. But now that I am older I stick to the well-worn trails more and tend to stick with walking shoes in camp and lightweight hiker boots. But I am also finding the problem of getting the shoe or boot, I need in my size. It seems that hiking boot manufactures are changing styles as fast as fashion shoes flip over.

    So now my problem is finding a hiking boot that is light-weight, but holds up well in weather conditions and trail conditions, without falling apart within a few months. This is where I need some help to decide on a brand that puts out comfortable boots at affordable prices, and that are long-wearing. I have been checking out the top brands, but would really like to have some opinions on the best boots that you all have been satisfied with. So what brand or type do you suggest I use?
  2. AurelioLeo

    AurelioLeo Newbie

    I still wear good old jungle boots when I go out into the bush. You can probably find a pair at an army surplus store. They shouldn't cost you a lot and give you the ankle support you'll need out there. Jungle boots will last you a very long time as well.
  3. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    Thanks for your suggestion. A good friend of mine has always purchased these boots for outdoor wear and they do last a long time. If I can find them in my size they might do the trick. I decided I needed to get something that would hold up to wet conditions, as rain falls a lot in Pennsylvania, and there is nothing worse on the hiking trail then wet boots and sore cold feet.
  4. bigteeth96

    bigteeth96 Newbie

    I think it should be comfy but durable. You don't want your boots to fail you on a trip.
  5. Lanna

    Lanna Newbie

    I have a pair of USAF issued Vibram combat boots. The grip is terrific and they go up to mid-calf so you can tuck your jeans into them and prevent tick bites. The pair of Vibrams I have are lightweight but also have a screen in them that makes them permeable to water. However, I know their are combat boots that are good for all weather conditions. You could get a pair off ebay.

    I also think they look awesome for everyday wear. Sage green is one of my favorite colors, though :)
  6. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    I think one of the biggest problems is finding a boot that gives a little or is flexible in the sole area, which makes it easier to walk in rough country. Some boots have no flex and I feel like a robot stomping along almost stiff legged since the boots have no give. Do you know what I mean?
  7. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    I know exactly what you mean, I find the same problem with shoes too however with boots there is often not as much selection with materials and fit so you sometimes have to suck it up! I do find that after you've worn them for a long time they soften up quite a bit and that you can speed this process up by washing them a few time a times, soaking them in water for a few days or what I used to do with stiff formal dress shoes is back over them a few times with the car.
  8. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    You made me smile and I had to think of your dress shoes with tread marks running through them. lol I know there must be a few good brands of boots that allow a bit of flex for comfortable walking. I hope though that they cost under $150.00. The ones I have now do not flex enough for comfort and it tires out my knees and makes my lower legs ache. I am tired of the sore heels and feet, that comes from flat footed hard boots. I may try that run me over mode with my boots. lol
  9. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Yeah, they did have some tread marks but they wiped off pretty easily and it was definitely worth it since my shoes became so much more comfortable afterwards. I wouldn't really recommend the washing machine method though for anything other than shoes because for heavy boots bouncing around in there it might do some damage to your washer. It has never really given me an issue with my knees though, have you considered orthotics? I know that sometimes if your feet are slanted inwards in can put extra tension on your knees which orthotics can fix.

    $150 does seem like a lot for a pair of boots though so I hope you find ones that have everything you're looking for. Good luck!
  10. bigteeth96

    bigteeth96 Newbie

    Honestly I don't like boots that much. I guess I never really had them when I started out. I just wear trail running shoes! They have the traction/ruggedness, but are also somewhat flexible.
    Bonus: They are light.
  11. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    I agree with you bigteeth96, I would like to just wear the lightweight trail running shoes, but here in PA, the ground is often rough with scattered rocky areas and other pitfalls. There is a real danger of twisting an ankle or bruising ankles from logs and trees and rocks. If I am out walking for pleasure during the day these times of lightweight shoes would work great, but if I am hiking a rough trail it seems a more sturdy boot may be required.
  12. Esperahol

    Esperahol Newbie

    I like getting surplus supplies - and that includes combat boots. You'd be surprised how well those work out, but a pretty good pair can be found under a 100 at places like Wal-Mart or Sears. Don't get distracted by brands and "the best" just find a good, sturdy pair that works for you.
  13. After wearing out more pairs of jogging shoes than I can count, I finally bought a pair of trail hiking shoes (Keen Targee 2) that are way more durable and not much more expensive. Like 2sweed says, they are just shoes so there are some risks on a difficult trail. I'm looking at a pair of mid-height Keen Durand's for serious trail hiking.
    2sweed and campforums like this.
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