How To Buy Hiking Boots: You Want The Best!

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What Do You Need To Know About How To Buy Hiking Boots?

Quality hiking boots are a good investment for several reasons. You want to know how to buy the best hiking boots so your feet feel comfortable feet when you hike. When your feet feel comfortable, you have a more enjoyable hike!

How To Buy Hiking Boots (You Want The Best!)
How To Buy Hiking Boots
(Credit: Clay Banks on Unsplash)

Also, quality hiking boots last longer. At first, you might spend more money when you pay for quality. However, over time you save money with longer lasting, quality boots.

What Do You Need To Know About Hiking Boots?

Simply put, quality hiking boots protect your feet and ankles.

Boots protect your feet on a rugged trail.  A good pair of boots are stiff enough to protect you from the trail.

The boots keep your feet from feeling every rock and hole on a trail. Quality boots also keep trail debris out of your boots.

Boots help support your ankles and help you keep your footing. A good pair of hiking boots keep your feet dry too. Many hikers use mid-weight boots. Mid-weight boots feel good on most trails.

Boot makers have boots made for just men and just women. Be sure to choose hiking boots made especially for men or women.

You have a more pleasant hike when you wear high quality, well made boots!

Parts of a Quality Hiking Boot and Why They Matter:  

Hiking boots have four main parts. The 4 parts include:

  • Uppers – This is the part of your boot that covers your foot.
  • Midsoles – This is the part of your boot between the upper and the outsole. The Midsole cushions your foot and helps protect your foot from feeling hard or sharp objects.
  • Insole – The Insole is what your foot stands on and helps give your foot arch support.
  • Outsole – This is the bottom of your boot and helps your feet grip the trail. Also, the Outsole helps protect your feet from rocks, sticks, and other objects on the trail.

Each part of a hiking boot helps your feet feel better as you hike.

How To Buy Hiking Boots (You Want The Best!)
How To Buy Hiking Boots
(Credit: Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash)

The Uppers

Your boot’s Upper is either:

  • Leather
  • A man made substance

There are three main kinds of leather. The differences in leather depends on the part of the cow’s skin used to make the leather. Boot Uppers have three main kinds of material too.

Leather Types 

The three main types of leather include:

  • Full Grain
  • Nubuck
  • Split Grain
Full Grain Leather

The best boots use Full Grain or Nubuck leather.

Full Grain and Nubuck leather come from the outside of the cow’s skin. These leather types are sturdy. 

Full Grain leather is the sturdiest leather. This leather was not treated to remove natural marks.

Nubuck leather has a soft finish caused by sanding or buffing. Nubuck is sturdy leather and requires little care.

When making boots, cow skin is split into two pieces to make boots. Split Grain leather is the bottom layer of the leather and least sturdy layer.

Sometimes, Split Grain and a man made substance are combined to make a lighter boot that breathes better. The combined leather and man made substance boots do not last as long as Full Grain or Nubuck leather.

Nubuck Leather
(Tomascastelazo, CC BY-SA 3.0,
via Wikimedia Commons)

The three main kinds of man made Uppers include:

  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Man made leather that looks like leather.

The man made upper’s benefits include:

  • Lighter
  • Breathe better
  • Less expensive

The drawback to man made upper’s … less sturdy and do not last as long.

Also, these boots need a waterproof liner if you want your feet to stay dry.   


Boots usually have EVA or Polyurethane (PU) Mid-soles. Each is man made. EVA is lighter, softer, and costs less. EVA gives you less support and does not last as long.

PU gives you more support, and lasts longer, but is heavier, and costs more. Also, you need to wear your PU boots often. They can fall apart if not worn very often!


The Insole keeps your foot stable and supports your foot’s arch. The hiking boot’s Insole is not soft and not supposed to be soft. The boot’s Insole purpose is to help your foot by keeping your foot stable and giving your foot arch support.


The Outsole has pieces that jut out. These pieces are called lugs. Lugs help you keep your footing on loose, wet, or uneven trails. The Outsole also helps protect your foot from the trail.

(Hydrargyrum, CC BY-SA 3.0,
via Wikimedia Commons)

Summary – How To Buy Hiking Boots

You want sturdy, high quality hiking boots for a comfortable and fun hike!

Quality boots protect your feet from rugged trails. A good pair of boots keeps you steady on the trail. Also, a good pair of boots help keep your feet dry.

If you are unsure which hiking boots to buy, you might consider these boots from Amazon for less than $100.

For premium hiking boots, shop these men’s and women’s boots:

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