If you’re ready to hit the hills and get in some walking, you’ll need to choose the right pair of walking boots for the task. Hiking and walking are fantastic exercise, and the fresh air and views that go with the hobby are definitely invigorating. However, the right pair of boots is an absolute must. Getting boots that fit correctly is the difference between an enjoyable walk and one that ends in blisters.
You might be wondering if walking boots are foot specific? You’ll find a lot of subtle (and sometimes not so subtle!) variations in fit between manufacturers and even between styles. These small differences between styles can make a surprisingly big difference to just how well a boot fits your foot. Although all walking boots look similar, they definitely don’t all fit the same, so you will need to shop around to find the one that is a good fit for your feet. Here are 7 steps to follow to find the right boot for you.
Having one foot bigger than the other is surprisingly common! If this is the case with you, it’s important to test your boots on your larger foot first. You can add insoles or grips to the boot on your smaller foot to make it more comfortable, but you can’t make the boot bigger so be sure your bigger foot is comfy in your boot.
The first step in getting a good fit is simply pulling the boots on while seated, and then using your index finger to test the length of the boot. Gently wiggle your foot forward in the boot until your toes are just touching the ends. Now slide your index finger down behind your heel. You should be able to fit your finger comfortably between the back of the boot and your heel. If there’s more than a finger’s width the boot is too big. If your finger feels squashed in, the boot is too small.
Lacing up your boots is an important part of the fitting process. If you find you’re having to pull the laces really tight to get the boots to fit, then they’re too big for your foot. If the laces are bulging out after you do them up, the boots are too small.
This is where you will really get a feel for how the walking boot fits your foot. Stand up and take a minute to just plant your weight firmly and let your feet settle into the boots. Now try rolling onto the balls of your feet and back again. Roll your feet from side to side, and walk slowly around. Take note of how your feet feel in the boots. Is walking in them comfortable? Are they slipping, or pinching your feet? Just be aware of how they move with you.
Different boots will have different shapes and padding around your ankles. Some will sit high, and some low. Depending on the shape of your ankle, some boots will sit just right and others will rub or put additonal pressure on your ankle.
The flex point is where the ball of your foot meets your toes. This is where your foot bends as you walk. The way the flex point moves and feels is a good indicator of whether the boot is a good match for your foot shape and flexibility. Put your weight forward onto the ball of your foot, letting your toes flex. If the boot looks overly creased, the fit is likely too big. If your foot feels pinched when you flex, the boot is too tight.
Most outdoor shops have professional fitting services, and taking advantage of one can really help you find just the right boot for you. The sales person can measure your foot and pick out the styles that are most likely to fit you well, making it much easier for you to choose the right boot.
Different boots are a good match for different types of foot. Whether your feet are wide or narrow, shallow or arched, following these seven steps will help you find the right walking boot for your specific foot type and shape.
Also read: Are Walking Boots Covered by Insurance?