>> Before trying a single boot on, decide how much support, protection, and weatherproofing you need. A too-heavy boot can cause fatigue and blisters; a too-light shoe can lead to twisted ankles.
>> Shop at the end of the day, when you’re feet are slightly swollen, like they will be on the trail. Wear the socks and any insoles you use while hiking; they greatly affect fit.
>> Try on a lot of shoes (and different sizes) to get a feeling for variations in fit. Every manufacturer uses a different last, which can have subtle differences in width, volume, and shape.
>> Feel any pressure points, pinching, or an uncomfortable tongue fold? They’ll only get worse.
>> Don’t buy shoes that are too small. It’s easy to do, since a close fit feels good in the store. You need to allow room for normal foot swell–inevitable under a load.