This is an age old question in which everyone has a different answer for. How should hiking boots fit? As someone who enjoys hiking, you would think that I can just tell you in one answer how hiking boots should fit. The thing is hiking boots should fit different people in different ways. I thought I should clarify with this post about what I mean when I say different people in different ways. Continue reading to find out!

Let’s face it. There are numerous types of hiking boots out there. I think I need to first explain the different types of hiking boots and then tell you how they should fit. It is the easiest way to answer the question that is on everyone’s mind.

What Are The Different Types of Hiking Boots?

1. Hiking Shoes

Hiking Shoes
These tend to have a thick sole, short shaft and are unusually light despite their clunky look. Your hiking shoes are not meant to be worn for long periods of time, but are great for short hikes in the woods or trails. They will protect your feet none the less, you probably know about steel toe boots which can protect your toe safely like hiking  shoes and provide the support you need. You are also able to wear them for running, that is if you enjoy trail running. If you have state parks or county parks with trails, then these are the hiking boots you should purchase for them. You will only wear them for a few hours at a time, not an entire day like other hiking boots.

2. Day Hiking Boots


These boots have a similar thick sole, but have a higher shaft than the hiking shoes. Hence why they are hiking boots, and not hiking shoes. These boots tend to have a mid-shaft up to a high cut shaft just depending on the style of the boot and the brand of the boot. As you can tell by the name, day hiking boot, they are meant to be used for longer hours than hiking shoes. You can wear them on day hikes, or whilst backpacking with a lighter backpack. You will have plenty of support with these day hiking boots no matter the brand.

3. Backpacking Boots

Hiking Equipment Travel Bag
These are the type of hiking boots people tend to think about when you ask the question how should hiking boots fit. Backpacking boots should fit differently than hiking shoes and different than day hiking boots. The shaft of these boots is higher than that of day hiking boots so they are able to carry heavier loads whilst making sure your feet are well supported and your ankle is well wrapped. These are great for trails, whether on or off the path. These are the most durable hiking boots you can purchase.

The Way the Hiking Boot Should Fit

This is the part in which you need to pay special attention to! The age old question is about to be answered.

1. They Should Always Be Snug

Not tight, but snug. Your toes should be able to wiggle, and your feet should feel supported, but not suffocated. Try hiking boots on at the end of the day because that is when your feet are most swollen and sweaty. This way you know you will have the perfect snug fit.

2. Know Your Shoe Size

Hiking boots run in different sizes and different widths in different brands. If you know the brand you want, then check to see how they run in size. Some may run large, some may run small, some may run narrow and others may run wide. Do your research so you are only trying on two or three pairs rather than a hundred pairs at the end of the day and getting frustrated.

3. Do You Wear Orthotics?

If you do, then make sure you bring them along to the fitting. What happens if you purchase the boots and then put your orthotics in when you get home and they do not fit anymore? Sometimes you can’t return hiking boots and you are then stuck with a pair of unworn hiking boots sitting in your closet. Always bring your orthotics.

4. Wear Your Correct Socks

Protecting Against Ticks by Tucking Pants into Socks
I know I always wear a pair of thermal hiking socks with my boots. I always bring the socks along with me whenever I need a new pair of hiking boots. Since your boots need to fit snug, you need to make sure that you have a pair of thick socks in order to make them snug. The boots often run wide, so you want to make sure you have a pair of thick socks if you do not already.

5. Walk Around with The Boots on

Hiking Shoes
I know you have probably been on your feet all day and spending more time on your feet is the last thing you want to do, but it is essential that you walk around in the hiking boots prior to purchasing. This will give you an idea on how they will fit and feel as you continue to wear them. Take a short walk from one end of the room to another and then walk back. This will give you an idea on how the hiking boots will work while on a trail.

6. Break in Your Boots

You need to make sure your hiking boots are broken in prior to wearing them on your first outing. It does not matter if they are hiking shoes, day hiking boots or backpacking boots, they all need to be broken in prior to their trail adventures. I tend to do this by taking them on walks around the neighborhood or wearing them whenever I go food shopping or other kinds of shopping. I know I will be on my feet for long periods of time, so it just makes it easier to break them in.


So, This is my answer to how should hiking boots fit. They should be snug, but not tight. You need to test all of your shoe accessories with the hiking boots prior to purchase too. So, is this how you think your hiking boots should fit? Please, let me know.
[ibox title=”Author Bio” box_color=”#369″ radius=”0″] Steve Owen is the Professional Writer, Blogger of As you know, was established with an aim to help visitor who are looking for some tips to choose the right shoes for them or help them solve their shoe problems and more. If you have any troubles with your shoes, you can have a look at his blog and I’m sure you can not go wrong.

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