What to look for in walking boots

Walking boots are not like normal shoes. They must be made of tough materials to withstand the abrasion and tear of walking over rough terrain. The tread on the boot’s sole is thick and aggressive, allowing you to wear them on all sorts of surfaces (mud, rocks, sand, snow) without getting stuck or slipping.

What to look for in a pair of walking boots


Walking boots should be lightweight and as flexible as possible, but they must also be supportive (for instance, the boot’s sole should not bend backwards when you try to pull it up). The boots should be built around a minimal and lightweight sole (the part you stand on), and they should also have a low profile. These two factors make it easier to stay physically balanced while wearing them, preventing falls or accidents.

Great fit

Since your feet will swell slightly throughout the day if you wear boots that are not wide enough, you must select a pair of boots that sit snugly but do not feel too tight. It is also imperative that your heels are held firmly in place when wearing any footwear, especially when you’re hiking through difficult terrain.

Excellent cushioning

To protect the soles of your feet while walking over uneven surfaces, boots should have thick insoles that are lined with cushioning material. Without good cushioning, your feet may suffer from blisters, or they might become sore quickly due to the unforgiving nature of the terrain.


Even though it is possible to find waterproof hiking boots on the market, this trait is not too important if you tend to hike mainly in the warmer months (with occasional trips during fall and/or spring). Even though boots can be lightweight and waterproof, the best combination of these traits is found in winter boots.

Durable materials

Whenever you’re looking for a new pair of walking shoes (or hiking boots), you must pick a pair that’s made of durable materials, especially if you plan on taking them out on multiple backpacking trips. Leather is an excellent option because it can last for years without showing major signs of wear and tear.

Make sure the seams are secure

If your boots have stitching or seams that are not properly secured, chances are they will rub against your skin, which can lead to blisters or other injuries. Look for boots that are durable and have strong seams that will stay intact after being exposed to the elements.

There are plenty of other factors you should consider when choosing a pair of walking boots, but this is what you need to look for before making your first purchase. If you plan on taking your boots out on a lot of strenuous hikes, you might want to consider buying a second pair so that you can alternate them and give each one time to dry after being used in wet conditions.

You should also check out our article on how to measure your feet.

And don’t forget to read our post on common mistakes people make when buying their first pair of walking boots; it contains some handy tips.

Last but not least, feel free to read our article on buying quality walking boots without breaking the bank; after all, it’s always nice to save some money!

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