Trail BOOTS!

March 1, 2013

Probably the most talked about item out on the Trails are Footwear. That is also the number one question I get from many of the new members signing up here at Hiking Michigan. Besides carrying Water with you out on the Trails, quality Footwear is the 2nd most important item to be focused on, in my opinion.

A quality pair of Hiking Boots can make all the difference in the world on who a Hike or Trail experience can be for everyone. Good ankle support, breathable waterproofing, quality “Vibram” soles, and a molded boot will make your feet feel wonderful. Or better yet…..you will not be thing about your feet during or after the Hike.


Add in a quality pair of socks as well, and you are set for just about any length Hike in most any kind of Trails conditions. If you are over the age of 40, you have most likely stopped growing. πŸ™‚ So spending a little bit more money on a quality pair of Boots is well worth the cost. You will not be growing out of this investment, and with some proper care and cleaning, these Boots can last you 10 years or more.

10 years you say! Come on now. YUP…..”Vibram” soles wear for a very long time. Some boots even allow you to change out the soles when they have worn out. Triple stitching on a quality Boot means with care and cleaning that 10 years of predicted use is conceivable. trust me here, I have Boots older then 10 years. Some of that is because like some women I know (no chauvinistic intent here) I almost collect Boots. I have Boots for almost every season and occasion during that season. For me, there is where I get more then 10 years out of many of my outdoor footwear.

When I was younger, I used yo purchase a descent $40.00 pair of what I called my “One season throw-away Boots”. They where good for just under one year and could be heavily abused. Now I will spend up to $400.00 on a super quality pair of Winter, re-in forced “ALPINA” insulted, high-top Hiking Boots. But realistically, the general cost for a good quality pair of outdoor footwear is $90.00 – $240.00. There is a big range here because it depends on many things.


Do you have an extra wide foot? Do you walk straight? If you do not right now, after a couple of pairs of quality Boots, you soon will straighten up those “Knocked ankles”. Once you get into a quality stride, the wear on those expensive Boots will even out and that 10 years on a pair is doable.


Hightop, ankle support style Boot


More ankle support style boots

When your out to purchase a new pair of Boots, there are a couple of things to be aware of. Bring along a thick pair of socks, because most of the time a normal pair of socks IS NOT what you will be wearing. Some people even prefer the sole liners. A cushioned pad along the bottom of the boot that you can insert. Bring those along too, when shopping.


Low cut style Hiking shoe

Do not be afraid to try on every pair in the store and then even head over to another store. This is an important purchase that can last you a long time and give you that extra plus while Hiking, that will make all the difference in the world. A leather boot will fit completely different then a Suede & Nylon boot. That’s just one reason to try on many different pairs while out shopping.


Full Leather Boots with Vibram soles

While trying on Boots, walk up and down a ramp to experience the feel of the Boots the way they may feel on an uneven Trail. Do not be afraid to try on a pair of Boots that is larger then the normal size shoe you might purchase. With the thicker socks and the way some Boots are made, a size larger is not uncommon. You do not have to tell anyone what size they really are.:-)

The most important thing to remember is that if you are going to make a quality investment into something that IS the most important thing on so many different outdoor journeys, then do not be half satisfied. To this very day, after over 40 years of selecting Boots, I may take a couple of weeks of trying on different pairs to find the Boots that have the features I want and also fit and feel good. The time in doing this will pay for itself many times over down the Trails.



  1. Thanks for this. I bought a pair of Patagonia P26 boots this spring, because they were a “good deal.” The lace hook broke off the first time I wore them. I returned them, got a new pair, and the lace hook broke off after a few wears. If only the lace hooks weren’t complete garbage they would be nice boots.

    I like something rugged, maybe a bit bulkier than one may be at first inclined to wear. I want something on my feet that doesn’t require me to tiptoe around puddles or slippery mud. I say, get something rugged enough so you never have to worry about where you step in them.

    • It is always worth the extra money to me, to purchase an extra high quality Boot. I did not recommend a certain brand in the post, but probably the most common Boots I see out on the Trails are Merrells. I own a few pairs and they have proven to last forever. πŸ™‚ All of them are “Gortex” lined for waterproofing and breath-ability. As you mentioned……these are very important while Hiking. I like to not have to worry about that puddle on the trail. Just walk right through it and still keep the feet nice and dry. πŸ™‚

  2. […] experiences with you, on what works best for them. You then can better select a boot just for you. Check out a Blog posting we have done on selecting the right Hiking boot for you. Waterproof boots? heavy treaded soles? Low-cut? High-cut? What works best for you and the kind of […]

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