Getting the correct fit for your hiking boots will keep your feet comfortable during all your hiking excursions. If you don't take the time to properly fit hiking boots, you'll end up with an ill-fitting pair that may cause blisters and sore muscles. Fitting hiking boots takes only a few minutes, and the time you spend ensuring a proper fit will allow you to enjoy your hiking jaunts without worrying about sore feet.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Hiking boots
- Hiking socks
Put on a pair of hiking socks. If you try on hiking boots while wearing regular sport socks, which are thinner than hiking socks, the fit will be inaccurate.
Remove the laces from the boot's eyelets and slide the unlaced boots onto your feet.
Slide your foot toward the front of the boot until your toes are touching the front of the boot. If you can comfortably fit a finger between the back of your foot and the boot's heel, you have the right amount of toe room.
Re-lace the boots, pulling the laces snugly into place as you thread them through each eyelet.
Walk around in the laced and tied boots to check the fit. Make sure the boots fit snugly through the front of the foot, heel and ankle.
Feel for pressure around the tops of your toes as you walk. If the boot tops crease and dig into your toes, the boots may be too wide or too long. Try adding thicker insoles to alleviate the problem.
Correct a too-loose heel by tightening the boot laces at the base of the ankle or by tying a runner's knot at the top of your boot. To tie this knot, after you feed your laces through to the outside of the top eyelets, feed them directly back in and pull until a small loop extends from either eyelet. Cross the laces over the top of the boot, feed them through the loops and pull to secure.
Skip over the eyelets that are directly over your instep when lacing, if you feel excessive pressure in this area. If skipping a set of eyelets causes the boot's heel to feel loose, tie a runner's knot across the boot's top set of eyelets.
Tips and warnings
- Always fit yourself for hiking boots in the evening, since your feet swell over the course of the day. Double-check the fit the next morning, just to make sure the boots fit correctly.
- If you have extra-wide feet, you can stretch regular-width hiking boots to achieve a proper fit. Line the inside of each boot with a plastic produce bag (free of any punctures), lace up the boots with a tension that's similar to what you will use when wearing them and fill the lined boots with water. Tie the tops of the bags shut and place the filled boots in the freezer. As the water freezes, it will expand inside the boots and stretch them out.
- You can also accommodate bunions and spurs with a little work. Turn a chair upside down and place your boot over one of the chair legs. Rub the part of the boot you need to widen against the chair leg; dampening a leather boot will encourage it to stretch faster.
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