I can’t imagine how many times I’ve experienced pain when I hiked before. I know it is natural to face this issue, especially when you walk long distances. However, I still wondered how to make hiking boots more comfortable. This way, I hoped the pain would at least occur only towards the end of the trip. When I began to research, I realized there are a few ways to make your boots way more comfortable and suitable for extended hikes. Without further due, let’s dive right into it.
To make hiking boots more comfortable, first, make sure you pick the right size for your feet. Then, break gradually in by conducting practice walks with different kinds of socks and proper lacing. In addition, use an insole with low friction and cushioned heels. For last, make sure that the outsole is intact and try stretching it in a shoe repairing shop.
1. Pick The Right Size
The step which I am highlighting now is an obvious step which you should follow, but most climbers do not know how to pick the correct size. That is why I will share with you the proper criteria to choose the right hiking boots.
The first thing which you need to do is to know the exact measurement of your feet. The dimensions of hiking boots differ from one company to another.
That is why, instead of relying on the size chart, it is a good idea to know the precise dimensions of your feet. I will share with you a simple procedure that you can use to identify these particular measurements.
Things Which You Will Require
- Piece of paper
- Measuring tape
Procedure to Measure Your Feet
- You have to put on the socks first. Usually, during the climb, you would wear socks as well. That is why it is best to measure the feet dimensions while wearing them.
- You have to sit on a chair and place your feet on the paper.
- With the help of the pencil, trace the outline of the feet.
- After that, draw a rectangle around the framework of the feet. It should touch the longest and also the widest points of the feet outline.
- Then, you should measure the sides of the rectangle to know the dimensions of your feet. Write the numbers down.
- Once you have these measurements, you can buy a hiking boot according to the exact dimensions rather than relying on the size chart.
Does this procedure seem cumbersome to you?
Well, don’t worry too much about it, since you need to follow it only once. Hiking boots can last for years together. That is why, once you choose the right boots, you will not have to repeat the procedure for years together.
I would suggest keeping half an inch space between your toes and the front part of the boots. It will ensure that your feet are always comfortable within the footwear (source).
2. Practice Walking Around Your Home
Are you looking for a method to make your existing hiking boots comfortable? Well, I will help you out with that as well.
There is a procedure which is famously called breaking into the hiking boots (source). The process acclimatizes your feet to the fit of boots.
If you want to make your existing hiking boots comfortable, this is the procedure that you have to follow. I will highlight the process below.
- You have to put the right insole inside the hiking boots and various socks.
- After that, you should tie the laces in such a manner that they are not too tight. You have to ensure that the tongue and the gusset of the boot are straight.
- Once you do that, walk around your home slowly.
- If you’re comfortable with this step, you can try walking around the neighborhood to break into the hiking boots. It may take a few days, so stay consistent with that method.
Once you follow these four steps, you can break into your hiking boots and make them more comfortable for you.
3. Use an Insole
Many hiking boots do not come with an insole. The ones that do make it easy for you to change it when required. An insole that is not conducive to your feet can cause imbalance or discomfort. That is why it is one of the most common causes of uncomfortable hiking boots.
In case, after following the above steps, you’re hiking boots are still not comfortable, it might be time to change the insole of your boot.
The question which you might have is, how should you choose an insole which is proper for your footwear?
I will share with you simple criteria which you can follow for that particular purpose. It will help you choose the insoles which are both comfortable and can help you in getting a proper grip.
One of the 1st things which you need to look at in the insole is the fit. It will help you choose the insoles which are perfect for your boots.
The insoles should be such that they can absorb some of the impacts. When they distribute your weight as well as absorb the strikes, it will become easy for you to hike for longer distances.
The pressure on your heel is immense during the hike. The hiking boots can mitigate it to a certain extent. However, if the insoles also have a design that provides you with proper heel cushioning, you can be sure that you will not experience problems like pain in the heels. That is why it is a feature you should probably look for when choosing such insoles.
Low friction surface
It is always advisable to choose an insole made from a low-friction surface. It will ensure that you do not suffer from blisters or any other such problems. It will also prevent any hotspots, which is another advantage.
When you choose the insoles based on these four factors, it will become easy for you to pick the right one. After installing the right insole, your hiking boots can become much more comfortable.
4. Get it Stretched
Now that you have dealt with the insoles as well as the breaking-in procedure, chances are, your boots will be comfortable for you. In case they are still not, you can get them stretched.
You can head over to a local cobbler or a shoe repairing shop to get it stretched a bit. It will not have any impact on the structural integrity of the boots. However, once you get them stretched, they will be more comfortable. It is a solution which many people do not know.
5. Check The Outsole
Did you know that the outsole can lead to discomfort, as well? After a few trips, the outsole can suffer from extensive wear and tear.
Due to this reason, it can become unbalanced. While at the start, this unbalanced outsole is not easily noticeable, but it can lead to discomfort over long hours. The best solution is to get your outsole replaced locally.
The factors to keep in mind while choosing the outsole includes:
- Grip on offer
After choosing one based on these parameters, the discomfort and pain will go away. If this is your case, I highly suggest you read an article I’ve written which discusses the best hiking boots with Vibram soles.
Vibram is the type of rubber I’ve been using for years and had the best experience with. Also, I included in this article the boots which received the highest ratings and most positive reviews from thousands of users.
6. Try Different Socks
The solution which I am going to highlight now is one of the simplest to follow (source). Have you tried changing your socks before?
If the boots are extensive, it is a good idea to go with the thicker socks. Similarly, if it is tight, you can go with thinner socks.
Another tip that you can follow is to opt for the moisture-wicking socks. It ensures that your feet will always remain dry. At the same time, if you’re trekking or hiking in the monsoons, then too, your feet will stay dry.
Dry feet ensure that you can get a proper grip. Also, in such conditions, the interiors of the boot, including the cushioning, will have a better effect. That is why changing the socks can undoubtedly help you get rid of the discomfort.
7. Use Laces to Your Advantage
One of the prime reasons why most of the hiking boots come with laces is because you can change the fit of the hiking boot to a certain extent. You can tie the laces tightly or loosely.
The choice is entirely up to you. Another advantage of having laces in your boots is that if it seems too tight, you can loosen the laces. It will provide you with some more space inside, which can make the hiking boots more comfortable for you.
Also, you could use different lacing techniques to avoid pain. Follow the video below, which describes how to make a heel lock, to prevent ankle pain and black toenails.
8. Skin Bandages Can Come to Your Rescue
Are your hiking boots uncomfortable because of blisters? Are you tired of the friction in your hiking Boots?
If the cause of the problem is the friction, skin bandages can come to your advantage (source). These can help you protect your feet from a lot of issues like:
- Improper fit
At the same time, they are highly flexible, which means that they will not have any negative impact on the grip which you get.
One more advantage of the skin bandages is that they have a cooling effect. As a result, your feet will be comfortable even during long trips.
A couple of such examples include:
- BSN Medical BEI076168 Leukotape P Sports Tape
- Rigid Strapping Tape
While the skin bandages should be your last resort, but they are highly effective.
The list of solutions above aims to help you concentrate on your hiking trip rather than worry about the comfort of your hiking boots. I have personally used many of these methods with great success to make my hiking boots much more comfortable.
Should Hiking Boots be Snug?
Yes, the hiking boots should be snug. At most, you should leave 0.5 inches of space at the front. If you have enough space to wiggle your toes, you will find the boots to be of comfort fit.
In case you’re confused about how to choose the right size, you can use my guide above to know the measurement of your feet and choose the right size accordingly.
Will Hiking Boots Get More Comfortable Over Time?
This question depends on whether or not your boots can stretch as time passes. As you keep on using them, hiking boots can extend a bit but not as much as sports shoes or casual shoes.
Hence, it is a good idea to buy the right size upfront. When they expand a bit, however, they will become more comfortable for you.
You can follow the breaking-in procedure, which I have highlighted above to ensure that you can stretch them by an iota.
Should Hiking Boots be a Half Size Bigger For Better Comfort?
If you follow the methodology mentioned above, you would automatically choose a hiking boot, which is half a size bigger. On the other hand, selecting a hiking boot one size up is usually too much.
When you go with half a size bigger boots, there is enough space for the socks. Moreover, it will stretch a bit, which will ensure that you can get adequate space to wiggle your toes. Thus, at the most, you should stick to hiking boots, which are half a size bigger.
Should I Get More Comfortable, Regular Shoes?
Everyday shoes could be more comfortable; however, hiking boots are necessary. They are a must-have piece of gear when you’re going on a climbing trip. The advantages which they provide are plenty.
- Hiking boots make it easy for you to get a proper grip on any terrain.
- They ensure that the pressure and the impact on your feet are on the lower side.
- They allow you to move steadily over any surface.
- The boots also protect your feet from elements of the weather outside.
Due to these reasons, you cannot ignore hiking boots when you’re going on a climbing or hiking trip. On long hikes, you should avoid every-day, regular shoes.
Should The Toes Touch The End of my Boots?
The answer to this question is pretty straightforward. There should be a space of 0.5 inches or 1 inch between your toes and the end of the boots.
When that is the case, you can wiggle your toes comfortably. There will be enough space for the socks as well. Thus, it is a good idea to follow this guideline when you’re choosing hiking boots.
Will it be Comfortable Wearing Hiking Boots Every Day?
Now that you have chosen the hiking boots, this is a pretty obvious question. Most of the footwear in this section have a proper tread. It means that you can use them on a day-to-day basis for walking around as well.
The only disadvantage is that when you use them over standard surfaces, the tread can suffer from extensive wear and tear. It will reduce the life of hiking boots at a faster pace. However, if you do not have a problem with that, you can use these boots daily.
How Can I Stop My Hiking Boots From Hurting my Feet?
Hiking boots could be uncomfortable from time to time, although the other side of the scale is when they start to hurt you. There were many times when I suffered from bruises at the end of my hiking trip.
Nevertheless, each one of us experiences that pain in a different way. That is why I previously wrote about different areas in which the boots could burden your feet and provided solutions accordingly.
Make sure that you read both the article I’ve written on why do hiking boots hurt my ankles, and why do my hiking boots hurt my toes.
I have spent two days writing both articles and dug in forums, Youtube channels, and blogs to gather you with the most useful solutions.
Are you tired of uncomfortable hiking boots? Well, following my guide above can help you out. I have highlighted eight different steps that you can undertake to make your hiking boots more comfortable.
Instead of just paying for a new pair, you can try these methods to make your existing one more comfortable. It will save you a hefty expense and at the same time, make your climbing trip more enjoyable.