If you’re going on a hike or even just a lengthy walk, the right footwear can really make or break the experience – so check out some tips on buying your first pair of hiking boots.
Ever since my Yosemite Mist Trail hike in a pair of battered trainers and having some issues with my feet, I’ve realised that if I’m off on a walking adventure, having the right footwear is really important. With a few trips coming up involving some quite lengthy walks and hikes, I picked out a pair of Berghaus Womens Expeditor Trek 2 Walking Boots from Simply Hike*.
While I’m by no means a hiking expert, finding the right boots for basic day hikes has been an absolute blessing for my walking adventures. Here are some simple tips if you’re looking to buy your first pair of hiking boots!
Your First Pair of Hiking Boots: Getting The Right Fit
When you’re buying your first pair of hiking boots, the fit is pretty much the key thing you need to get right. Because if you don’t, that’ll be one uncomfortable trek.
- If you’re trying on the boots, either in-store or at home after ordering online, the best time to try them is the evening, when your feet have swollen from the day.
- They should fit snugly, but with room to wriggle your toes and some flexibility in your ankles. Too loose and they won’t give adequate support, too tight and you’ll end up with bitchin’ blisters that will make ANY walking far less fun.
- I’d always try your new pair of hiking boots on with a pair of thick socks, as you’ll likely be wearing those when hiking.
A Guide To Hiking Boot Materials
The two main materials used in hiking boots are leather or synthetic fabric.
- Leather boots are tougher, very waterproof and durable. However, they can be less breathable, and are obviously not suitable if you’re vegan. They’re also more likely to need breaking in.
- Synthetic boots are probably the best choice for a first time hiker – lighter and more breathable, although they can be less resistant to water. They’ll feature a waterproof lining though (in Berghaus boots, they use AQ® technology).
Things To Look Out For When Buying Hiking Boots
- The Outer Sole – look for deep enough treads to get a good grip, but not so deep they become unstable.
- The Mid Sole and Upper – for basic hiking, look for a medium stiffness, combining support and flexibility.
- Lacing – look for hooks and eyelet systems that offer a secure fit, while still being easy to take on and off.
- Toe and heel reinforcement – does the boot have extra protection for toes and heels? You’ll be glad of it when the front of your foot makes contact with a hefty rock…
Review: Berghaus Womens Expeditor Trek 2 Walking Boots
With all things considered, I found the Berghaus Expeditor Trek 2 Walking Boots to be a great little choice for a beginner hiker. When walking my way around Montenegro’s mountainous landscape and Biogradska Gora National Park, my feet felt really comfortable and supported. They’ve got a solid outer sole with a good grip, making the rocky and tree-root lined paths easier to walk on. Especially compared to those who were walking in trainers!
The mixed suede and leather material makes these boots durable but still flexible, with breathable mesh giving good ventilation. The high lacing at the top feels supportive around the ankles, and the lace hooks at the top make them easy to put on and take off.
The boots feature an Ortholite® foam footbed and EVA heel cup to offer more support to the base of my foot. I suffer from plantar fasciitis, which means having a specialised sole makes a huge difference to my comfort levels. I didn’t end up with sweaty, smelly feet (which was a great advantage when I took them off on the coach…), or wet ones from when I dipped my feet in the edge of the lake.
A comfortable and good-looking boot, these are a great beginner’s choice for shorter adventures and day hikes in generally mild weather conditions.
*My Berghaus boots were chosen by myself, and gifted in exchange for review.