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Boot Shopping Guide

The Standard:

For three-season hikes on moderate to rough trails with loads of 35 to 45 pounds, most hikers will want midweight boots cut high for ankle support with waterproofed leather uppers or a waterproof/breathable liner (like Gore-Tex) for stream crossings and rainy days.

Variables:

Do you often carry heavier loads, hike in the desert, or tackle steep, off-trail terrain? Do your ankles roll over on every little pebble? Adjust your boot priorities accordingly.

For This
Temperature
Look For
These Features
Hot Fabric/leather upper, mesh panels
Cold All-leather upper with fleece or Thinsulate insulation
Extreme cold Plastic double boots or felt-lined pac boots

For This Moisture Look For
These Features
Wet Waterproof/breathable liner, leather upper with few seams, ankle-high or above-ankle cut
Dry Non waterproof fabric/leather upper, mesh panels, low cut

For This Pack Weight Look For
These Features
50+ pounds Stiff midsole and upper, ankle-high or above-ankle cut
25 pounds or less Below-ankle or ankle-high cut, flexible forefoot, grippy tread

For This Terrain Look For
These Features
Rugged, rocky off trail Above-ankle cut, stiff shank and midsole, rockered (or curved) sole for long treks
Steep, icy Very stiff soles and treads, crampon compatible, high cut with substantial leather or synthetic uppers
Flat and fast Below-ankle or ankle-high cut, moderately stiff sole with good forefoot spring, grippy tread
Snow Insulation, aggressive lug pattern for traction
Slickrock, scrambling Sticky rubber tread, high toe rand, flexible forefoot

For These Ankles Look For
These Features
Strong Low cut, flexible fabric or leather upper
Weak High cut, stiff leather upper, moderate to stiff midsole

Problem Feet

If you suffer from excessive sweating, foot motion that causes
blisters and foot fatigue, or ailments like hammertoes, bunions,
and calluses, visit a podiatrist for a professional foot exam.

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