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Hiking shoes are an essential tool for a hiker. They keep your feet protected and allow you to move at a comfortable pace without the worry of damaging your toes. Your boots should have the right amount of comfort and protection to ensure a happy and enjoyable venture across the trails. Picking the right pair of hiking boots is hard; there are so many factors to consider! In this two-part series, I’ll break down everything you should think about when searching for the right pair of boots.

Styles: There’s a different hiking boot for every style of hiking, and it all depends on the type of trekk you’ll be venturing. Light hiking shoes will get you from point A to point B in comfort when you’re traveling on well-maintained trails. These shoes aren’t necessarily a boot, but they get the job done! Ankle-high mountaineering boots are your best bet when you’re crossing over rough terrain and can withstand it all! One final type of style to consider is the backpacking boot. Perfect for different types of terrain this boot will get you through on and off trail excursions.

Fit: As with any shoe, your hiking boot should provide a comfortable fit as well. Choosing a shoe that doesn’t fit you correctly can lead to blisters, black toenails, and sprained arches. In most cases trying on shoes involves following exact number sizes; don’t follow this method when trying on hiking shoes. Aim for a shoe that is comfortable more than anything and provides adequate support around the ball of the foot and ankle. To relieve and pressure pick comfortable socks to wear as well. When trying on the boot take the pair of socks you plan on wearing while hiking.

Style and fit are two crucial factors to consider when choosing the correct boot for your adventures. Choose a style that matches where and how long you’ll be hiking for. The fit of the boot can make or break a hike; pick what feels right on your feet!