So you’ve just purchased a pair of hiking boots or hiking shoes and you want to know if you’re getting a good fit out of them. Let’s cover a couple of things to think about before you try to the boot on to determine whether you’re going to get a good fit. First thing you want to do is make sure you’ve unlaced the boot. It’s completely open, you can fold the tongue back, if it’s boot you may not be able to open the tongue all the way. Up, that’s fine just make sure the laces are loose. The second thing you want to do it make sure you’re trying it on with the socks you are going to wear when you hike. If you normally wear a liner sock, try your boots on with a liner sock and the over sock. So, three ways to determine if you’ve got a good fit. The first thing you want to do is slide your foot into the boot and lace it up, and lace it up snug. You want this to be snug as possible without being tight and uncomfortable. It’s designed to be supportive so you’ve got to get the laces snug enough that it allows the boot to actually accomplish that. First element of fit is overall comfort. Does the boot feel comfortable on your foot? Are there any uncomfortable seams? Is it too tight in any areas is it too loose in any areas? With the boot on an laced up, I should be able to slide two fingers into the back, pretty snug and there shouldn’t be any extra movement there. As you’re walking around and your foot goes from heel to toe, think about the heel movement in the shoe. Are you getting any heel lift? Is your heel lifting out of the back of the boot? It’s okay to have about a quarter of an inch of lift. You want some movement there otherwise the boot may be too tight. If you are wearing a low cut shoe you may get a little more lift because there isn’t any ankle support to keep your heel tied down in the boot. The same elements of fit apply to low cut hiking footwear. You want to make sure that the feel is comfortable, lace the shoe up snug, and you’ll notice at the top of low cut footwear you often have two eyelets. The top eyelet on this sort of footwear is optional. If your foot is a high volume or you have a high instep you may want to take the lacing out of that top eyelet in order to give your foot some more room. Hiking footwear is designed to be durable and supportive. To support your foot even if you have a pack on rugged trails. Don’t be surprised if it feels stiff underfoot or it doesn’t feel as flexible as you expect it to. It’s not at all going to be like a regular sneaker or running shoe. You may feel stiffness through here. This is a spot where boots often need to break in. Or up here in the ankle if you’re not used to wearing a boot and a boot such as this which is one solid piece of leather, there is definitely going to be a break in period. You may need to wear the boot for a series of weeks, even months if you buy a stiff enough boot, before that will break in. In a boot such as this which is a fabric and leather construction you get more flexibility and it’s easier for the boot to break in. In a boot like this probably has very little break-in time, maybe a week or none at all. Feels much more like a sneaker underfoot and this soft flexible collar gives me ankle support but also doesn’t pinch my ankle the way a leather boot might out of the box.
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