# Hiking Boot / Shoe Recommendations?

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#### GuyNoir

##### Well-Known Member
Barb and I are signed up for a National Geographic led tour of Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks this summer. The list of "stuff" to bring includes a set of "good hiking boots or cross trainers".

Any recommendations out there in rocketry land for these?

#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
A lot of it depends on what you want to spend.

I wear hiking boots at launches, as I've tweaked an ankle one too many times to not do so.

#### sailmike

##### Well-Known Member
Forgot to add: never use cotton socks, they can give you blisters.

Mike

#### TheAviator

##### Well-Known Member
You can't beat the $90-$110 Cabela's boots (if they fit you properly anyways.) They have good support, are fairly good about breathing, and have good treads and soles. I had a pair that lasted me two years worth of hiking, camping, and launches in Western PA and a 9-day 100-miler in Cimarron, NM. This included some very abrasive rocks and a grand total of about 10,000 feet in climbs and decents over very rocky terrain without a single blister. They won't last quite as long as some of the more expensive boots, but from what you are saying, I don't imagine you will be putting them through a lot of the abuse that mine went through.

One MAJOR tip on the boots: make SURE that the tongue is completely attached to the boot up until it it is level with your ankle. This helps greatly with waterproof-ness.

Also, to reciprocate what others have said, two pairs of socks are a must. I prefer Marina wool outers because they are less bulky than standard wool. Wool also will be nice to your feet if they do happen to get wet and dry out fairly quickly, unlike cotton. For the inners, I prefer either polypropylene or nylon, either will work. And as others have said, the most important part is to keep your feet dry.

#### WillMarchant

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter

When they tell you "hiking boot or cross trainers" they're giving you an incredibly wide range of show type. My favorite outdoor shoe is a lightweight, ankle high, boot. Usually smooth solid leather uppers. The Vasque SunDowners used to be nice but they seem to have "upsized" that model and it has become much heavier and more rigid.

Lots of good advice in the previous articles. I'd stress the "pick shoes you'll break in before the trip" as a critical item. You need to spend some walking time in your shoes before the trip, otherwise you'll be miserable.

That being said, if you go to a decent hiking store, they'll let you return boots as long as they've only been worn inside. So, buy a bunch of the socks you like, get help with the fitting, and then wear the things inside for a couple of days.

##### Well-Known Member
I like Merrell and Salomon trail shoes. I buy Merrells the most and are my general all purpose hiking shoe. Buy shoes now and go for a few hikes to see if you like the fit and feel. leave room for the toes on downhills, you do not want to be jamming your toes against the front of the shoe. Buy some moleskin for hotspots. If you feel some rubbing on your heel cover it with the moleskin before the blister develops. Don't cheap out when buying shoes, you want something sturdy, comfortable, and light. Happy feet make for a happy hike.

#### RimfireJim

##### Well-Known Member
If there is an REI store near you, go there, tell them what kind of hiking you will be doing, and they will (or should, anyway) do a good job of selecting and fitting you with an appropriate boot. I'm guessing your trip involves just day hiking, not backpacking. If so, make sure you tell the fitter that. It means you can be fine with any of the lightweight trail footwear. Lightweight means less fatigue for you.

REI will let you return boots even if you have worn them outside. My favorite pair of boots for backpacking is a pair I picked up on the "discounted because they're used" table (though they still looked like new). Also saved big bucks on a Gregory pack that had obviously been used but still had a lot of life left in it, and it even had the different size hip belt I needed!

I never wear two pairs of socks anymore, whether for day hikes or loaded backpacking. As Pat_B said, socks have come a long way. My favorites are some Smartwool socks and some REI socks, both wool-based but with synthetics engineered in. The only thing I vary is the weight (thickness): lightweight ones for day hikes, heavier ones for backpacking.

I'll go against the tide here on the "break 'em in" theory: properly made and fitted footwear should be very close to being "just right" the minute you walk out the store. This is particularly true with the mostly-synthetic footwear, which isn't going to change as much as an all-leather boot. Another way of saying this is, if it doesn't seem right when you're trying it on in the store, it probably isn't going to get better later, and you're going to have problems. That said, it is still a good idea to get them well before the trip, just to have some time to wear them to find out if there are any fit problems.

Biggest cause of blisters, after wearing cotton socks, is poor fit around the heel - usually too loose. Looseness allows the heel to slide up and down too much>friction>heat>blisters. Cheap and dirty solution if you're stuck with it: duct tape. Yup. Put a duct tape patch on your heel (or wherever) as soon as you have a clue that there is a problem. The duct tape becomes a second skin that slides easier than yours and can take the wear and tear. I've found it works much better than moleskin.

#### powderburner

##### Well-Known Member

I'll go against the tide here on the "break 'em in" theory: properly made and fitted footwear should be very close to being "just right" the minute you walk out the store. This is particularly true with the mostly-synthetic footwear, which isn't going to change as much as an all-leather boot.
I have always been a leather "snob", partly because of some bad experiences I had with manmade-materials boots I bought many years ago. I paid a lot (as I recall) and didn't get much, so I went back to leather construction. And leather often does need to be broken in for comfort.

And I just thought about something else; just in case you somehow don't already know, you need a backpack with a frame that will put the weight straight onto your hips, and off of your shoulders. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a decent frame pack, but it is definitely worth it!

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#### dr wogz

##### Fly caster
I've always been good with just the "outdoor" type shoe. Nike's ACG series, or the Merryls Im wearing now. I've hiked many a moutain trail in BC, and haven't had any problems! Look for a high tongue, or at elast one that's attached, to minimize water entry.. Do break them in though!

Moleskins are good to have! and a Camelback type back pack.. (You can never have enough water!)

Also look at some 'fly fishing' shirts. they're light, airy, many pockets, and some come rated up to SPF 30! (And they look cool too!!)