Jonathan Hanson of Outside magazine says, "Not so long ago, a new pair of boots came with a five-page care-and-feeding manual. You had the break-in period, the sock strategy, yadda yadda. My, how we've changed."
My, how have we. After applying half a jar of Sno-Seal, those old leather babies felt like they weighed roughly 25 pounds apiece. Manufacturers thought hiking wasn't meant for those who couldn't stoically endure pain, evidently.
The boots did what they were supposed to do, though - supported your ankles, kept your feet dry and allowed you to drop large logs on your toes without noticing.
These days, manufacturers are still concerning themselves with durability and performance, but comfort is also a primary concern. As Hanson says, "Manufacturers have become so adept at combining supportive and protective insoles and outsoles with instantly comfortable and weatherproof uppers that...it's easy to forget you even have them on."
And he's right. Take a look at a few hiking boot reviews and see if you don't agree.
Hiking Boots and Shoes Reviews
- Trailspace - over 1700 reviews by real, unbiased hikers in seven categories (over 1300 boots and shoes reviewed): - Mountaineering Boots
- Heavy-Duty Leather Boots (yeah, those guys - and yeah, they still need Sno-Seal, but comfort has improved - and they'll take you around the world for the rest of your life)
- Midweight Hiking Boots
- Lightweight Hiking Boots
- Approach Shoes
- Trail Running Shoes
- Climbing Shoes
- Men's Hiking Boot reviews by users at Outdoor Review.
- Women's Hiking Boot reviews by users at Outdoor Review - not a lot of user reviews, but specs for a whole lotta boots.
Fitting Hiking Boots and ShoesAfter reading even a few reviews, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Expert Andy Hiltz tells you how to shop for a boot (find the right store and recognize a knowledgeable salesperson) and gives all the info you need to settle on the perfect boot for you (ever heard of the "Paper Doll Cutout"?). A lot of gems here.
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."