An Idiot’s Guide to Hiking Boots

Ahhh! The great outdoors: fresh air, singing birds, and the warm sun. All these things can add up to a glorious and perfect day in nature. That is unless your feet are killing you and you can’t bear to take another step. In this episode the Prepared Idiot attempts to take you though picking out the perfect pair of hiking boots. Because the last thing you want is to have to limp five mlaceiles back to your car in a broken or bad pair of boots.

Here are three tips on buying a pair of boots to keep you and your aching tootsies happy.

  1. Decide what type of hiking you are going to be doing.

Lets face it we are not all going to hike the Appalachian Trail. But you might like more than a one mile nature stroll too. There are four major styles of boots out there that you can choose from.

Mountaineering boots are made for serious back country action. You don’t need these unless you are spending weeks off trail and off the grid. They are also made so that you can get cramp-ons around them.

Backpacking boots are the next step down. These are made for long distance and heavy loads but are lighter and more affordable than the mountaineering versions.


Hiking boots are what most people need and are meant for day trips and short overnight excursions. These are lighter and breathe more that its two big brothers but are not near as durable than they are.

 Light Hiking shoes and Sandals  tend to look like beefy running shoes. They are meant to be light and to go quickly. They breath well and don’t add weight to your feet so this makes them great for short distances or as a second pair to carry if your heavy duty ones are drying out. Say, from that river you just fell in.

2. Fit and  comfort are the most important thing that you SHOULD consider.

Keep in mind if all goes as planned you will be spending hours in these shoes. So take some time to make sure that they fit and feel good! Here are a few things to consider.

  • Bring the socks that you will be hiking with. This is important as the socks, laces and insoles will change the fit of the boot.
  • Avoid pressure points. Your feet will change after you have been walking for a while. If there is pressure anywhere while trying them on this will be a problem later on.
  • No heal slip! This is where most of the blisters come from. A boot should move with your heel and not slide up and down in the shoe. If your foot doesn’t feel as though it sits in the heel cup quite right then the boot doesn’t fit.
  • Consider the other details that you might not need now but might in the the future.
  • It’s a lot like buying a car once you have figured out you basic fit and style than you can add other value features.
  • Water proofing can be a nice thing to have if you are going to hike in different seasons or walk through wet areas.
  • The type of materials the boot is made out of. From full grain leather to synthetics, which all have different break-in and wear out periods.

If you can start with these simple guide lines, than you are well on your way to that perfect outdoor day. Happy Hiking!


There are three essential pieces of equipment that any would-be outdoorsman must contemplate purchasing before heading out to the wide open spaces. We will give you a basic understanding of what to look for and how to maintain the most important parts of your kit. Fear not because at the Prepared Idiot, I have made all the mistakes for you so that you don’t have to look like an idiot when you are shopping, carrying, and maintaining your gear. So, let take a look at the big three of camping. preparedidiot_backpacking(1)

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