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Mens hiking boots guide

Updated on August 14, 2009

Hiking boots for men

It is said that hiking in the forest and mountains is the favorite past time in the U.S. Even though this might not be totally accurate, there is no doubt that a lot of Americans likes to take walks in nature. It is a great way to keep both body and mind in good shape, but it requires that the right equipment is used. A lot of equipment can be bought to make the trips more enjoyable. However, there are some things that are more important than others.

The equipment that is probably most important is the boots. If you don’t have the right boots for your trip, you will definitely not enjoy it as much as your could and should. Today there are so many boots on the market that many don’t have any idea what to choose. In this article I will give some pointers on how to find mens hiking boots. Even though this article is for mens boots, the principles apply for women as well.

Mens hiking boots are often divided into three main categories; low, mid and high boots. The reason for splitting it into three categories is that they are meant for different situations.

Mens low hiking boots

These are the boots that most people think of when they hear hiking boots. The boots that are in this category all have a height that is lower than the ankle. They are great for walking trips in relatively short vegetation and medium hard terrain. Almost all companies that produce hiking boots have at least one model that is low. Recently a lot of the training shoe companies like Nike, Adidas and Asics have also made models that fit well in this category. You can get the low boots in both waterproof and non waterproof models.

Mens mid hiking boots

These boots are defined by a height that reaches just above the ankle. This gives a bit better support and reduces the chance of twisting the ankle. Of course the boots weighs a bit more than the low ones, but they are much more suited for rough terrain and high vegetation. Almost all the models in the mid category are waterproof, but there are some exceptions.

Mens high hiking boots

Some times these boots are referred to as mountain boots, but because a lot of people use them as hiking boots, I have chosen to mention them here. These are boots that can reach as high as just below the knee. They are mainly meant to be used in very tough terrain like high mountains.

Things to be aware of

There are several things that you should be aware of aside from the height when buying new hiking boots. There are literally hundreds of different models to choose from and none of them are exactly like.

The sole

The sole of the boots is very important to get right when you choose what boots you will buy. There are some general guidelines on what kind of soles you should choose. Usually we divide the sole into two pars when we categorize it; the outer material and the hardness of the sole itself. The outer material is very important for getting good grip when walking in slippery terrain. Basically it is how soft the rubber material in the sole is that decides how good grip the boot will get. The softer the better grip. However, if the rubber is too soft it will not be very durable.

As mentioned, the hardness of the sole’s base is also very important. When I say hardness I mean how easy it is to bend. The guideline here is that a sole that is hard to bend will do best in rocky terrain. This is because in places with a lot of rocks your foot needs more support. The easy bending soles are best on soft terrain like in the forest or on hiking tracks. Most people don’t use the boots exclusively on one type of surface and will therefore be best of with choosing a sole that lay between the easy and hard bending ones. They will also be best of with a medium hard rubber mix in the outer sole.

Leather or synthetic boots

This is a question a lot of people have a hard time coming up with an answer to. It really boils down to two things, habits and weight. I am a big fan of the new synthetic boots, but I can still understand why some people like the good old leather boots. Mens leather hiking boots are easier to clean and some people think that they look better. They will also adjust themselves better to the shape of the foot. However, the synthetic shoes are a lot lighter. I think that the weight is very important and therefore I choose to use the synthetic ones.

Waterproof or not

Whether or not you choose hiking boots that are waterproof or not is a choice that is very much dependant on the situation that you plan to use them in. If you are mainly going to hike on dry and nice summer days when the weather is nice, the non waterproof models will probably do just fine. If you like to hike in all kinds of weather the waterproof models is best. The most used membrane for keeping the boots dry is Gore Tex. This and similar membranes is very easy to keep waterproof. All that is needed is a spray bottle. Of course there are both pros and cons with membrane boots. The pro is that they are waterproof. The con is that they don’t breathe as well as boots without membrane.

The boot for you

Whatever you choose, low, mid or high, waterproof or not or maybe a leather boot, the most important thing is that the boots fits your feet. There is only one way to find out which boots are best for you; try them on. Mens hiking boots comes in so many shapes that i would not reccomend buying untried boots.


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    • profile image

      Best Hiking Boots 6 years ago

      Great article...another consideration if a person has foot problems or struggles to find the best fit is to consider custom made boots. These are expensive compared to brands but the best option for many.

    • profile image

      kenny 7 years ago

      One of the best hiking boots are designed having a sturdy sole, in order that they will not fall apart if you hike on uneven paths within the wilderness.

      A great bottom also can avoid damage for the feet through any kind of stones or thorns.

      They ought to also provide quality extra padding about the insole to reduce possibly blisters.

      The sides must present enough assist to support protect your ankles from getting twisted one side on uneven terrain.

      After you have decided the kind of hiking you'll be carrying out, find the best hiking boots to the adventure.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Good information about mens hiking boots. Thanks. Rated up!

    • profile image

      John 7 years ago

      Thanks great information.