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Hiking Boots: Footwear Fact and Fancy

The type hiking boots you need depend on the type hike on which you will be using them. If you are climbing, you might need crampon compatible hiking boots. If you are sharing the terrain with venomous snakes, you need snake bite proof boots. Consider waterproof boots. If you are hiking in ice or snow, choose boots made specifically for hiking in ice. Hiking boots designed and fit to prevent blisters when hiking, is a must.

Snake Proof Boots

For example, if you plan on hiking in snake country, it is essential to choose boots that will keep you safe. When it comes to hiking boots, since the ankle is the most vulnerable area, basic snake safety starts with leather or other thick-skinned boots that go as high as possible. Give serious consideration to tall hunting-style boots. If you are hiking in dry snake habitats, choosing hiking boots that are not insulated and do not have a waterproof liner, makes them a little cooler, and does not detract from safety as long as they go well above your ankle.

Ice Hiking Boots

For ice hiking, most hiking boots, or even trail runners can handle strap-on crampons. So, unless you are doing serious ice hiking on more than a thirty-five degree slope, most any good quality hiking boots will work, but if you are planning an extensive climb in serious snow, you should look for a boot made specifically for that purpose.

Moldable Hiking Boot Liners


The best option is to use the liner that comes with the boot. Putting one brand liner in another brand boot, could lead to fit issues, and compromise the insulation, squeezing your foot uncomfortably, or allowing moisture and cold air to be trapped inside. Most liners have a combination of closed and open cell foam made of polyethylene or a material called Alveolit, which works very well.

Waterproof Hiking Boots

Any well made, all-leather boot, or newer light hikers, with waterproof inner booties, will easily keep you dry during the few seconds you splash through a stream. That is, until the water goes over the tops, which is the main risk. Another choice is to pack in a pair of booties to be worn over your boots around the ankle, to keep dirt, snow, and water out of boots. They’re not waterproof, but the water-repellent coating will easily shed the wet from a five-step stream hop.

Blisters and Hiking Boots

Prevent blisters by making sure your boots fit properly. Don’t assume boots that fit and wore well ten years ago still will. Take time to wear your boots, walk in them on several test runs, and if you feel any hot spots, invest in a new pair. Minimize the risk of blisters by wearing good inner socks with a wicking liner (made from CoolMax or polypropylene) and a light oversock

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