Finding hiking shoes that fit and feel great can be a challenge, here are tips for your success.
I know it can be tempting to ask your friends on Facebook or search the web for the perfect hiking shoe…. but there is one huge problem with this, none of those people or websites know how your feet are built!
So how can they possibly recommend shoes that will actually make your feet happy on the trail??
If you do nothing else in your search for hiking shoes, do this – get off the internet, and get into a outdoor gear store, outfitter, or REI.
Ask the staff in the shoe department to measure your feet to get an accurate size. They should also be trained to look for the longest and widest part your feet, and take that into account, if needed. If they’re trained really well, then they’ll be able to pick out certain brands or styles of shoes that match the shape of your feet, or at least be pretty close.
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Then test them out! Try on several pairs of shoes and walk around the store for a while, go up and down stairs, and up and down inclines. You want to see if your foot slides around in them at all, like your toes sliding towards the front on downhills or heels slipping up and down on uphills. Also feel for any pain points, pressure points, or tight spots in the shoe – like on the top of your foot, the back of your heel, where the tongue touches you, or if they are squeezing your foot in any way. Then try different pairs from there.
Ask about insoles. I love my Superfeet insoles because they support my arch, heel, and entire foot and ankle better than the inserts that come from the manufacturers.
Before you purchase anything – make sure to ask what their return policy is on shoes!! Some places, like REI, have amazing return policies, other places won’t let you return shoes if they’ve been worn in the outdoors, and some have different time-frames you can return a product within. So just be clear on that before you make any big decisions.
Let us know your favorite store to buy hiking shoes in the comments below!
For more tips on hiking gear, check out:
- Gear I wish I had with me on the AT
- Down or Synthetic – Which is better for you?
- Take care of your hiking gear, and it will take care of you!
And hey! You can download a complete backpacking gear checklist, for free, just to make sure you have everything you need.
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