Have you ever wondered how hiking boots are made? Chances are, the question has at least crossed your mind a time or two, especially if you spend a lot of your time hiking in various wilderness areas. One thing is certain, they are not typically made like your regular, run-of-the-mill shoe. Instead, they are typically made to outlast just about any other type of footwear that you will ever purchase.
The best ones are usually handmade but there are some high-quality hiking boots out there that are made in a factory type of setting, utilizing machines more than anything else during the manufacturing process.
The first thing that you have to decide on is whether you are more interested in wearing a shoe that is made in a factory setting or if you are so dedicated to your hiking that you want boots that are handmade from beginning to end. The process is quite different for both. In a factory setting, hiking boots are usually made in an assembly line type of set up. Dozens or even hundreds of boots can be made at one time by utilizing this method. The typical factory setting has one part of the factory making the tops of the shoes and the other part of the factory making the soles. The hiking boots can then be joined together in a third and final assembly. They are then ready for sale.
Making hiking boots by hand is another thing entirely. First, the materials must be selected. Typically, only the finest materials are selected because the whole idea about manufacturing boots by hand is to ensure a high level of quality and to customize each and every product that is manufactured in some small way. After the materials have been chosen, the top and sides are typically made from one material, cut out by using a pattern. If there are any additional materials to provide added protection or for aesthetics, those materials can then be chosen and overlaid onto the base material. Everything has been hand-stitched so that it becomes a single piece. The soles of the shoes can then be manufactured. Even when the shoes are entirely handmade, the soles are typically made of durable plastic or rubber, and sometimes they are made from a combination of the two. Typically, you will see a rubber sole with plastic sides that are designed to provide additional support. This is typically the only time that a machine is used in shoes that are completely handcrafted. Once the soles are formed and the right amount of cushioning has been applied to the inside, the rest of the shoe is then hand stitched onto the sole. The shoe is in flexed and tested in order to ensure quality before it is sold.
As you can see, shoes that are handcrafted take a lot more time to produce. In many cases, it means that you are getting a better product but as previously stated, there are some very high quality products that manufacture shoes on an assembly line. It really comes down to a matter of personal preference. Whatever you choose, you can do so with a full understanding of the manufacturing process so you know how your hiking boots are made and what you are getting before you purchase them.
Also read: Do Hiking Boots Run Small?