Outdoor activities are all the rage. Many people in the world practice hiking, adventure sports or mountaineering, to name a few examples. The great marches for days are also popular for various demanding routes, such as the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela or others of greater severity.
Among the essential items or equipment for this type of activity are hiking boots. It is a highly resistant footwear that protects our feet and has special soles to overcome difficult terrain, as well as adverse weather conditions, without losing comfort and lightness.
Most important points about hiking boots
- Mountain boots must be light, comfortable, resistant, flexible and waterproof.
- Good perspiration is essential for the health of our feet.
- In the purchase criteria we will see the importance of the sole or the manufacturing materials for the benefits that we will obtain from the boots.
The best hiking boots: our favorites
Due to the different activities that we can carry out outdoors and the large number of brands that manufacture equipment for them, we find ourselves in the market with a wide range of models of mountain boots, some for specific situations and others multipurpose. These are the articles that are having the most success among consumers:
These hiking boots are made of 100% polyester material. It is a lightweight shoe highly recommended for hiking, although it can also be used in other outdoor activities. They are comfortable, safe and highly breathable boots, suitable for medium altitudes, wet or dry areas, and rocky terrain.
The soles are made of durable carbon rubber and the outer fabric of nubuck, a top grain cowhide leather that has been sanded or polished to produce a velvet surface that is also very strong and durable. The closure is made of laces and is available in sizes from 41 to 46.
Salomon Speedcross 4
This is the best-selling boots in the “mountain running” section; in addition, with the support and guarantee of several hundred users who have placed their average rating almost at the highest. It is the perfect shoe for those runners looking for lightness and aggressive grip. With the fourth edition of this iconic sneaker, some say it borders on perfection.
The synthetic materials used in its manufacture provide durability and great resistance to water without losing the necessary condition of light boots. They fit very well to the feet and their grip is precise and secure. They are offered in a wide range of colors to choose from and in sizes from 40 to 49.
Chiruca Pointer Gore Tex
The Spanish brand has designed this boot with the latest technologies, such as Gore-Tex, the membrane that prevents feet from getting wet while allowing good breathability. It is a comfortable product and lighter than it appears, but also very resistant. It is recommended for mountain, hiking, multi-day hikes and even for activities such as hunting.
The sole is made of highly resistant rubber, which guarantees flexibility, maximum stability and grip in any type of movement, as well as responding well on stone, sand or mud terrain. The closure is made of laces and the hooks offer a firm hold. User support reaches levels that invite confidence in the quality of this footwear.
Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX
Mountain boots that can be used for any activity due to their toughness, from adventure sports to long walks, but which are also used every day in routine life as they are very comfortable. In short, this model allows you to change terrain, rural or urban, without having to change your footwear.
In its manufacture they have used the most advanced materials. They are comfortable, light, waterproof and with good breathability. They have rubber soles with high levels of grip. A versatile product that is highly appreciated by users, as shown by the fact that they are known as “the mother of all boots”.
Salomon Evasion 2 Mid LTR GTX
They are half-round mountain boots that support and protect the ankle, making them ideal for demanding terrain. The aggressive outsole grips any surface no matter how harsh the conditions. They are recommended for users who take long walks or several days, as well as for those who carry backpacks.
The Gore-Tex (trade name of a membrane type textile) provides protection and durability, since it combines great lightness, effective breathability and high impermeability. They are made of quality leather and the closure is made of laces. The buyers’ assessment is unanimously positive.
Shopping guide: What you should know about hiking boots
In order to have a better knowledge about mountain boots and to be able to make a better choice if we decide to purchase this article, we are going to answer several questions that can clarify some of our doubts. This type of footwear has very special characteristics, not in vain, it is used in situations of great demand and toughness.
What are hiking boots?
Boots are a type of footwear that covers the foot and part of the ankle (sometimes completely), and can reach the knee or even the groin, although these last two options do not fall within the definition of hiking boots. Their main value is that they protect the foot and ankle without preventing the latter from articulating.Hiking boots are widely used in various outdoor activities, such as sports, adventure or recreational activities. They are resistant, waterproof and with very grippy soles, three qualities that make them essential when we move on terrain with uneven and abrasive surfaces.
What are the advantages of wearing hiking boots?
There are people who still carry out their outdoor activities with any type of footwear, generally sports. They consider hiking boots to be very expensive, heavy and uncomfortable. Nothing is further from reality. At present this product offers the best conditions for tough tests or short walks. We are going to know some of its advantages:
- Protect the ankles
- They cushion the footprint
- They do not affect mobility
How to know my hiking boots size?
If you are going to buy your hiking boots online, it is best to draw the outline of your two feet on paper. Then, you take the measurement in centimeters of the longest and look for the manufacturer’s size chart, which you can find on their website, to find the equivalent. The effort is worth it, because a bad choice can have consequences.In case of being able to test the product, the only thing that we must take into account is to leave a space finger on the tip and another one on the heel. It is necessary to anticipate that the feet swell and that, with all security, we will use thick socks. It is essential to avoid the risk of suffering from annoying chafing and blisters.
Is the option for crampons in hiking boots interesting?
Mountain boots can offer the possibility of attaching crampons through grooves that come in the design of some models of the best brands. The crampon is a metallic traction device that is placed on certain types of boots to improve grip on snowy or icy surfaces. That is, they are necessary in high mountains.They form a structure the same size as the sole of the boot, with small points emerging from the bottom that dig into the ground. They are usually made of aluminum or steel, but they have rubber or plastic sheets at the bottom to prevent snow from adhering, being able to produce loaves that prevent the crampon from contacting the ice.
What are the types of hiking boots?
The length of the shaft indicates the height of the boots and the ability to protect the ankles. It is an area that must be padded at the top to make us feel more comfortable and avoid chafing. Although there are three types of cane – low, medium and high – we are going to focus on the last two, since the first does not offer protection in difficult terrain:
- Medium shaft : It is more comfortable and light. Recommended for mid-mountain or slightly uneven terrain. Facilitates movements and gives greater stability. Because breathability prevails over waterproofing, it is better not to use them in winter or in extreme cold and rainy conditions.
- High cane : They are more robust and less flexible. Protection and waterproofing prevail over comfort and breathability, hence they are less recommended in summer. They are ideal for steep, rocky or steep terrain, that is, for high mountains.
How are hiking boots cleaned?
With a sponge or a washcloth and a little water should be enough to clean our hiking boots. It is a matter of doing it after each use to prevent stains or residues from drying out and making cleaning difficult. In this case, it is best to use a special product recommended by the manufacturer.A good option is to remove the laces and insoles before you begin cleaning. These two items can be washed with soap. Then, we will put the hiking boots to dry, but without exposing them directly to the sun or any other source of artificial heat, such as dryers or stoves.
What are the most recognized brands of hiking boots?
The industry that manufactures sports shoes or for mountain activities has many important brands. This time we are going to focus on just three of them, all with the endorsement of user recognition. They are two of European origin and a lot of tradition, and another American that has earned prestige in little more than three decades of existence:
- Merrell : This American firm has been dedicated to the manufacture of sports and mountain shoes since its inception in 1981. During all this time, it has been a benchmark in the sector with innovative proposals that contribute to the improvement of mountain boots and all its products in general.
- Salomon : The French brand has been in existence for more than 70 years, although it took a couple of decades for it to start manufacturing sports shoes. The good quality of its products has allowed it to obtain millionaire sales and to position itself among the most recognized firms in the market.
- Chiruca : During World War I, a textile engineer used the fuselage of a downed plane in the Pyrenees to cast sturdy soles, thereby helping French refugees cross the mountainous border. He called those boots Chiruca, short for Mercedes, his wife. Now this Spanish firm enjoys a great reputation in the sector.
If we have decided to buy some mountain boots, we have to know well the aspects that indicate which is the most suitable for the activities that we are going to do. For example, the material tells us the quality of the product, its resistance to weather and terrain conditions, the degree of protection for our feet or their comfort.
There are a variety of materials in the manufacture of mountain boots, but quality is usually present in almost all models, both in the body and in the soles. However, there are the logical differences between low-end and high-end products. We find leather or synthetic skins in articles that are highly resistant and resistant.
The usual are new generation textiles, flexible, light and just as resistant. They are materials that fit better in boots focused on sports use or for walks of any kind. As for the soles, rubber has good grip and durability, but it is heavy, while polyurethane has better grip, it is lighter and less resistant.
It is a fundamental aspect in mountain boots. On many occasions we are going to use this footwear in very adverse weather conditions, with heavy rain or snow, and in damp, flooded terrain or even in streams.
The impermeability of the product is non-negotiable when choosing our model.
There are different waterproof coatings to protect our feet and the level of quality they prefer is up to the user to choose. In any case, it should not hinder good breathability, although the technologies used ensure that both requirements are met in almost all models.
Another part of the mountain boots that has great relevance. The soles are responsible for us to have good traction. Something like the rubber on car wheels. Each terrain may require different characteristics in the sole, although new technologies allow articles to be manufactured that perform on all types of surfaces.
In some mountain boots we also find the classic rubber and rubber soles, which do their job well and make the product quite cheaper. In short, when analyzing a sole, what the user has to look for is a firm grip, a strong grip and non-slip properties.
The insole should provide us with comfort, but also absorb and evacuate sweat, in addition to isolating the foot from the sole and acting as a shock absorber. Very important functions that provide many benefits, even for health or hygiene. Insoles usually have several layers and their main mission is to keep our feet dry.
In many models, manufacturers include a microporous membrane. It seeks to protect the feet from moisture and cold. A good option if we are going to use hiking boots in winter or in places with rainy climates. In contrast, in summer or hot situations, boots without a membrane are better. Ventilation is favored and feet are cooler.
Although humans have used some type of footwear for thousands of years, it was not until the early 20th century that the industry dedicated to the manufacture of hiking boots began to grow. It was at this time when nature walks began to be a leisure practice, ideal for enjoying free time.
Now it is something common and carried out by many people in all corners of the world. And it is also common for them to do so well equipped, especially with footwear suitable for the demands of this activity, such as mountain boots, which protect us and help us overcome obstacles on the ground.