The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NYC Podiatrists Recommend the Best Hiking Boots for Your Foot Type

Posted by on Monday, September 24th, 2018

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People often think of sports medicine doctors as the ones to see following a sports injury. However, much of the work we do at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine is preventative in nature—to help people prevent future injuries and make smart footwear choices based on their particular foot type. Very few people have perfectly neutral feet. You may be able to find a type of shoe on the market geared toward your type of foot or you may need a customized insole. Either way, if you’re planning to take a fall hiking trip for a few days or a week, it helps to speak with a foot and ankle specialist to choose the proper boot based on your activity and underlying biomechanical issues before pain rears its ugly head and limits your activities. Here are four of the best hiking boots we may recommend you try.

best hiking boots
[Gearing up for a fall hike in NYC? Stop by and ask our sports medicine doctors which type of boot is best. Image Source: TheTravelGears.com]

1. Lightweight Hiking Boots/Shoes

At first glance, lightweight hiking boots appear a lot like athletic running shoes. Lightweight hiking boots or trail runners feature:

  • A design suited for everyday walking and short day hikes on well-maintained trails
  • Low-cut, stiff soles, upper stability, better traction compared to athletic shoes
  • Combinations of leather, fabric, and synthetic materials, and are often waterproof
  • Less ankle stability than midweight hiking boots
  • A fit similar to running shoes, ideally with 1/4 inch of space from the end of the longest toe to the tip

Try these lightweight hiking boots/shoes:

  • Columbia Montrail Men’s Running Shoe
  • Salomon Eclipse GTX Women’s Hiking Shoe
  • Scarpa Zen Pro Hiking Shoe For Men
  • Vasque Sundowner – Men or Women

2. Mid-Weight Hiking Boots

Most boots on the market today are what we’d consider “mids.” Mid-weight hiking boots feature:

  • A design suited for hiking on well-graded trails and trekking on more rocky, uneven terrain
  • Height that covers the ankle for better stability and protection against sprains
  • Combination of fabric, leather, and synthetics, often waterproof
  • Outsole or midsole with semi-rigid plastic to provide better midfoot stability, without sacrificing flexibility
  • Stiffer forefoots for carrying loads of 35 pounds or less
  • A fit similar to athletic shoes, able to fit a thick sock beneath

Try these mid-weight hiking boots:

  • La Sportiva Trango – Men or Women
  • La Sportiva Thunder – Men
  • Merrell Accentor – Men
  • Asolo Revert – Women

3. Heavyweight Hiking Boots

Heavyweight backpacking boots feature:

  • Designs to accommodate carrying loads greater than 35 pounds over rock, snow, and ice
  • Uppers made of full-grain leather extending above the ankle for maximum protection
  • Added insulation and waterproofing for use in cold snowy or icy environments
  • Double-plastic construction with a plastic or composite shell and removable insulated boot made of EVA foam
  • Inflexible outsoles with full-length shanks for stability and minimal seams for waterproofing
  • Possible rocker bottom outsole to minimize heel slippage
  • Modifications that allow “crampon” metal spike attachment to the bottom of the boot
  • A slightly different fit that must accommodate foot swelling (if climbing above 6,000 ft)

Try these heavyweight hiking boots:

  • La Sportiva Glacier – Men’s
  • La Sportiva Trango Tower – Men’s
  • XPETI Thermador – Women’s
  • La Sportiva Trango S – Women’s

4. Mountaineering Boots

Heavy-duty mountaineering boots feature:

  • Cold temperature designs with insulation, crampon compatibility, and superb traction
  • Slower-drying leather and synthetic uppers
  • High rigidity, which helps for crampon use but may make walking more difficult
  • Stiff outsole to reduce calf muscle fatigue while climbing and front-pointing with crampons
  • Flexible plastic boot uppers, which allow ankle flexion
  • Possible rocker bottom soles to allow natural hiking gait

You can try these mountaineering boots:

  • La Sportiva Makalu – Men’s
  • La Sportiva Nepal – Women’s
  • Salomon X Alp Pro – Men’s
  • Scarpa Mont Blanc – Men’s
  • La Sportiva Nepal – Men’s
  • Scarpa Fuego – Men’s
  • Lowa Mountain Expert- Women’s

What Are the Best Hiking Boots for Your Foot Type?

Stop in today to get a personal recommendation from one of our board-certified podiatrists. We’re always happy to talk about preventative maintenance that will keep you comfortable and mobile throughout the years. Contact us today.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.