Finding a pair of the most comfortable hiking boots depends entirely upon the person wearing them.
One may need extra cushioning to feel comfortable while another needs better arch support.
It is true, however, that some hiking boots (while excellent in theory) are just plain painful to wear.
In order to help you understand which are OK for your feet and which are better left on the boot rack, we’ll provide you with some helpful shopping tips in our guide below.
Determine Your Definition of Comfort
Before you start trying on a bunch of boots, determine what “comfortable” means to you.
- Foot Type. Flat feet, normal feet or extremely high arches? In order to feel comfortable in your boots, you’ll need a pair that supports your foot type.
- Inserts. If you don’t already have a pair of inserts (whether doctor-prescribed orthotics or a pair you picked up at the local shoe store), you might consider getting some. If you find the right ones based on foot type, they can make a world of difference in the comfort department.
If you already have inserts, make sure that you allow yourself enough room to wear the boot comfortably while they’re in.
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How Waterproof Do You Need Them to Be?
Not everyone who hikes will need the most waterproof boot available, so be realistic as you search for the answer to this question.
- Climate. If you hike in a fairly dry climate (meaning that it’s dry for most of the year), then you can probably get away with a pair of boots with leather uppers.
If you know that you’re more likely to hike in a damp, rainy area, then prioritize the waterproof level above all else. Narrow down the options to the most waterproof boots in order to find the most comfortable hiking boots.
- Waterproof Them. If you purchase a pair of boots that will only resist You can always purchase some waterproofing spray to add a light layer of protection when needed, but just remember that these sprays do have their limitations.
Hiking Boot Features to Take into Consideration
Here are a few other tips to help you find the right pair.
- Mesh. We doubt that your feet are going to feel comfortable in a pair of boots that aren’t in any way breathable. It’s like stepping into a mini foot sauna.
To keep your feet feeling comfortable and blister-free, make sure the boot has a few mesh panels for breathability.
- Shank. The shank makes up part of the sole of the boot. Some are made of plastic and others, metal. As you can imagine, the latter are going to be heavier.
Comfort-wise, plastic will provide you with more of a flexible walking experience, good for hiking on flatter terrain. Steel is more rigid and not flexible, so you’ll feel most comfortable wearing these when you’re hiking up steeper terrain.
Length of Hike
Chances are that if you go on short hikes, most boots will feel comfortable when you wear them.
If you have some serious hiking plans ahead of you, then every little detail matters. Look for plenty of cushioning in the footbed as well as padding on the inside lining/tongue of the boot to keep you comfortable on long hikes.
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If you’re sick of boots that let you down and you’re ready to make a more serious investment, then Keen is an excellent brand in the comfort department.
- No break in time needed
- Mesh lining provides breathable comfort
- Excellent traction (multi-directional lugs)
- Great for long hikes
- Decent waterproof level
Keen really does make a quality pair of shoes and if you’re headed out on a longer hike, whether flat or steep, you’ll love having these on your feet.
Salomon is another serious investment when it comes to hiking boots, but again, they’re worth it if you want a comfortable pair that lasts.
- 4D chassis (provides you with excellent cushioning and stability)
- Gore-Tex waterproof protection
- 3D mesh, heel foam and Ortholite sock liner to keep feet cool and dry
- Anatomically designed EVA footbed
For the serious hiker who expects peak performance and ultimate comfort from a hiking boot, these Salomon’s are worth what you pay.
If you’re not interested in spending tons of money for a pair of hiking boots, then you’ll find that this pair from Timberland is both comfortable and affordable.
- Dual-density EVA footbed, padded collar and gusseted tongue
- B.S.F.P. system helps support foot and provide traction
- Comfortable fit
Keep in mind that these are most appropriate for light hiking on average terrain. They’re not designed for serious hiking.
In terms of comfort, these are an excellent choice. They won’t let you down!