View Full Version : Hiking Boots

03-05-2010, 19:44
Im a college student who used to go out on the AT with my dad when I was younger. These were short trips that only were a couple days long and we only really stayed at one shelter.

Im starting to get into hiking again and want to go out for a couple of weeks during the summer. My dad bought me a pair of hiking boots a couple of years ago that I have used every now and then for other hikes and snow, unfortunately these are too small and squeeze my toes. Ok for a fe hours mabe but not for weeks on end.

Im looking for advice on the process of getting new boots for long term hiking. Are there only hiking boots or are there shoes too?

03-05-2010, 19:56
You are going to get all kinds of advice and opinions. Since you are in Yorktown, might I suggest that you take a moment to go over to Blue Ridge Mountian Sports here in town and get properly measured. That should atleast give you a good start when you are shopping for boots. The manager Bobby Hall will take care of you.

Rocket Jones
03-05-2010, 20:55
+1 on Blue Ridge Mountain Sports. I spent quite a while in the store being fitted for boots and when they didn't have anything that fit just right they found a competitor closer to my home that sold the boots they thought I should get.

They're a class act.

03-06-2010, 17:47
In case it wasn't already apparent, BRMS is a great place to start. They were the first place I went to when I started (back then they were off Richmond Road), and still head to when needed.

03-06-2010, 18:00
Im looking for advice on the process of getting new boots for long term hiking. Are there only hiking boots or are there shoes too?

30-40 years ago, anyone who hiked in sneakers was looked upon as a goofer. It was believed that heavy leather boots were needed to provide the ankle support necessary to carry heavy loads. Nearly everyone used boots.

In recent years, pack loads have lightened and many folks are hiking in trail runners. Their theory is that it is more important to strengthen ankles than to rely on boots for support.

Today, there are folks who hike in boots, trail runners or even sandals. There is no right or wrong answer. The best approach is to try on as many different types as possible and go with what feels best to you. A reputable outfitter is a good place to start. You already have three endorsements for BRMS. I would visit them and try everything they have in stock.

All the best to you.

03-06-2010, 19:12
my advice is to find something comfortable. i am the worst when it comes to shopping for shoes. it can take me months... literally to find a pair of shoes, sneakers, or boots that i find fit my feet just right. it is really an individual preference in the end. i prefer waterproof boots in winter, and am considering a pair of trail runners for the warmer months, but have yet to find the right fit.

03-06-2010, 19:46
On thing to keep in mind is that whatever you wear, you will stub your toes multiple times. So you need toe space and a good fit over the arch to prevent the foot from crunching into the toe box whenever this occurs. Also true descending.

After that, there seem to be theories all over the map. Myself, I am going with lighter and lighter footwear, with less support and bracing. After all, we are walking animals. Our feet are made for it.

So what I do is go to a discount store and buy some cheapos that will wear out pretty quickly, and have very little excess material. I then wear them until they fall apart, and repeat. So far so good. YMMV

03-06-2010, 20:05
I used to have a pair of those heavy leather Vasque boots for hiking. Got them at Footsloggers in Boone NC. I also remember the run filled days of treating them with snow proof sealer, trying to dry them when they got wet ect. Got them resoled a couple of times. Finally wore out and I have been using tennis shoes since.

I even has a pair of custom made leather sandals in the 70's at Chapel Hill NC. The guy traced my foot, cut the leather and a couple of days later I picked them up and used them for several years and the price was (I thought) low for custom work. I used those sandals on many a hike. Not much traction but cool.

I am now looking for a good hiking boot for winter/cold/snow hiking but as I wear a 14 or 15 depending on the manufacture, I have not found anything yet. There are not any major outfiters close by so I am trying to plan a trip to the mountains and stop by a few outfitters along the way. Had plan to go the go the April bash in Franklin but my daughter just called to let me know she is going to fly in and visit that weekend with her new boyfriend.

03-31-2010, 09:40
There are lots of alternative to those heavy leather boots everyone thought you had to have to hike. I've tried them all, including Limmer, which is supposed to be one of the best. These things tore up my feet and put huge blisters on the tops of my toes. Might want to think about that before going heavy. I love New Balance because they offer very wide sizes, and the first version of their hiking shoe proved out to be very comfortable. They have since improved on that model and gone to all leather, so I'm not sure how that one compares. Personally, I prefer the low cut lighter hiking shoes like Dunham, which is a subsidary of NB, which offers ankle support and good traction.

03-31-2010, 23:05
Trail runners.

04-02-2010, 19:36
I was looking for lightweight Gore-Tex boots in Wide B/C my feet always spread a bit after the 2nd day on the trail. Merrill sells their Moab Mid in GTX in wider sizes so I special orderd them from REI.

The Moabs are barely boots, being called "mids" because they protect your ankles. This is what I wanted for backpacking in the mountain west and desert. Higher footwear tends to keep out debris also.

Danner 453 boots are heavier but are also good boots and come in several widths. Beware of "one-width-fits-all" boots. They don't.


04-02-2010, 19:40
BRMS is an excellent source. There is also a REI in Richmond now.