Choosing the right pair of leather boots for hiking is like matchmaking that dream pair with the perfect trail. Before you tie the knot, you have to ensure that they’re a perfect fit. Ill-fitting boots are an absolute no, as they can turn your blissful experience into a blister-full one. With a dizzying array of choices available in the market today, understanding more about the right components of perfect leather hiking boots can help you refine your selection and, of course, have a great hike. Furthermore, it is important to look into the uppers, lowers, midsoles, outsoles and other parts of a boot.
Why are leather boots a crucial part of every hiker’s equipment?
For starters, the materials chosen impact the weight, breathability, durability and water resistance for the boots. A poor material can effectively break your outdoors adventures.
So what’s the essential checklist to tick off while selecting your boots for hiking? Here is what you need:
Based on the terrain and load that you are carrying, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Well-kept trails + light loads: Such a trail calls for low/mid-cut hiking boots. The leather uppers are capable of providing a cooler feel and plenty of breathability.
Well-kept trails + heavier loads: For heavier loads, you want boots with tread on the outsole for better traction and higher cut for better ankle support. Because of added weight, your feet can really take a toll in terms of energy expenditure by the end of the day. Go for the lightest boots you can find. You also need to ask a boot-master about the full range of motion in your boots. This is the kind of protection that’ll stop your feet from bending too far backward or forward, therefore maintaining the right stance.
Rough trails + light loads: Ankle-high leather boots offer enough comfort and protection during aggressive day-hiking. Go with waterproof liners if you expect damp weather during your trek or ventilated, porous models for dry, desert-like conditions.
Rough trails + heavier loads: For such hikes, you want optimal flex for comfort and blister prevention, and protective rigid outsoles to go against the sharp rocks. Your hiking boots need to be strong enough to handle harshness and friction. Also, don’t forget to allow time to break in. It is advisable to give your boots a proper trail test run before embarking on a long journey.
Off-trail paths: If you have a habit of drifting off-trail and trekking over swampy terrains, stretches of jagged rocks, steep descents, or lots of rocky steps, be prepared. All strictly demand full-grain leather uppers and support above ankles.
Based on the features that you need to consider a few things like:
Weight of the boots: Remember: the heavier the boot, the more work for your legs. Meaning, opt for lighter boots.
Waterproof or not: Leather or not, water in your boots is a definite killjoy. Also, the moisture can cause odorous feet, blisters, and discomfort. Choose a pair of boots that can let perspiration escape easily.
Arch support: Your feet can flatten out and start to pain under pressure, and the right support can save you these problems. If your feet tend to get tired and sore easily, you might wanna buy additional orthotics insoles. These insoles are also helpful or in providing longer support.
Injury protection: Twisted ankles and stubbed toes are the most common problems faced by trailblazers. The rougher the terrain, the more ankle support your leather boots need to provide.
- Load support: Heavier backpacks require sturdiness and flexibility.
How to test your boots at home?
The appearance and brand of your boots fall secondary to how the boots adapt to your foot shape. You can do simple tests at home to check if you have picked the right hiking shoes or not.
- The finger test: Put on the boots, leave them unlaced and try sliding your finger behind your foot. It should slide in smoothly. This means your boots will provide you with the right amount of space for movement and breathability.
- The sensory test: Put your bare feet in the boots. Try and feel all the places inside where the boot feels tight. Focus especially on the small toes and the large toe bone. If you feel pinched or pressed, the fitting of the boots might not be right for you.
- The stride test: While walking, if your heels and the boots are moving as one, that means the boots are too large and it will cause blistering.
- The slant board test: You must test how the boot performs on an incline as a part or most of your hike can include inclined surfaces. Try walking down an inclined road and see how it feels. If your toes are touching the front, exchange your boots for a half size bigger pair. If they’re jammed, move on to the next size model.
These Urban Shepherd Boots have been combined with newer technology, so that they not only look good but feel great for short as well as long hikes.