Hiking BootsEspecially when you are excited about trying a new sport or hobby the tendency to overspend on gear can be a trap. Avoid it. You can get quality and comfort without exorbitant cost for your equipment, including hiking boots. Here are some tips for buying boots that keep you comfortable on your hike without breaking the bank.

What to consider

Where you hike will determine what you buy. If you are hiking on established trails like those at state parks or just for a few hours, more expensive boots are unlikely to make any difference at all. In fact, the biggest difference you will notice is in your wallet. As for your feet and comfort – well, not so much.

Check reviews

At the end of the day it isn’t how much the shoe costs but how it feels in the trail. When hiking on a steep trail or along treacherous terrain (rocky, unmarked, slippery or wet) you will need to invest in a boot that offers warmth, traction and stability. There are many mid-priced offerings that fit the bill. As you read through the reviews be sure users have similar needs from the shoe. For example day hikers are sure to have different needs than hikers hoping to conquer the whole Appalachian Trail.

Try before you buy

We are all individuals, right down to our feet. Put your feet in a few different boots to find your perfect fit. If you buy online choose a retailer with generous (ideally free) return policies. You should be able to find a sturdy, light weight boot that is suitable under a variety of conditions. It is worth your while to shop around and even visit sites like eBay to get the best price.  Many hikers are fans of Merrill. They make shoes for beginners as well as serious hikers starting around $100. Founded in 1981, Merrill is respected among hikers and recognized as a manufacturer of high performance hiking boots.

Hiking is a good way to get or stay fit and enjoy the great outdoors. What you wear on your feet can make the difference between a blissful afternoon and the misery of blisters. Choose shoes that leave ample room in the toe box and offer appropriate support for your foot and the type of trail you plan to tackle. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good shoe. Higher prices do not always mean more comfort. Instead, put those dollars to good use on accessories like a back pack and water bottle. It gets thirsty on the trail.