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March 2008 Boots Review: Start Smart Boot Tips

Start Smart
Get a Good Fit–Prevent chronic foot problems in 6 easy steps.

1 Shop in the p.m. Feet swell during the day. Try on boots in the evening, and they’ll fit–and feel–like they do on the trail. Always wear hiking socks when trying on boots.

2 Measure your feet Do it every time you buy boots–your size can increase as you age. A good bootfitter will measure both feet using a Brannock device. If the sizes are different, go with the larger one.

3 Shop around Try on several models and brands, because almost every boot is built on a different last (the mold that determines a shoe’s internal shape). Note: Fit usually doesn’t improve after break-in. Wear will reduce stiffness, not fit problems.

4 Take a test drive Walk up and down an incline board and check that your heel stays stationary and your toes don’t slam into the front. Spend at least 15 minutes walking around, and if you feel pressure points anywhere, keep looking.

5 Wait for perfection You’ll know it when you feel it: Your heel is cradled snugly, your midfoot and arch feel well supported, and your toes have wiggle room.

6 Add padding Did all of the above and you still have sore dogs? Try aftermarket insoles, which boost arch support and lateral rigidity. They can also improve fit, especially if you have low-volume feet.

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