Hiking Clothing – Boots are Made for Walking…

The anatomy of a boot Mallorca HikingToday we’re going to start a detailed breakdown of the best clothing to wear for hiking.

Hiking is walking, and walking is done with your feet – so this would be the obvious place to start!! Your boots are probably the most important part of your hiking kit – protecting your feet from all the damage the outside world exposes them to. Your choice of hiking boots will determine whether your experience is enjoyable or miserable, so read the rest of this article to help you make the right choice.

Hiking can be very physically demanding and nowhere more so than on your feet. Therefore, it’s crucial that you have comfortably fitting and protective, durable footwear. There are a number of things you should consider when deciding to purchase the correct footwear to suit you.

Are you a weekend walker or going on a full expedition?

Hiking boots vary in price – from the relatively cheap to the very expensive. If you’re intending to use your boots a lot, it pays to invest a little extra in higher performance, sturdy, comfortable footwear.

Your choice of boot should be determined by the type of hiking you intend doing. Hiking footwear can be broadly split into 3 categories:

1. Lightweight for simple day/overnight hiking. Boots which are designed for this type of hiking tend to be less supportive and durable than other boots but they are perfectly adequate for this kind of activity. Aiming more at comfort, cushioning and breathability, they are intended for short to medium walks over fairly easy ground.

2. Mid-weight hiking boots should be your choice if you intend carrying fairly light backpacking loads. They are more supportive and durable than a lightweight boot, but are still intended for fairly short walks over easy or moderate terrain.

3. Extended backpacking or mountaineering boots are the top end of the market – intended for carrying heavy loads through difficult terrain. Designed with more protection around the ankle and with added foot protection, they offer the very best in support, durability and protection.

Boot Materials

The material a boot is made of will affect its breathability, durability and water resistance. As long as these factors are all considered in your boot choice, the final decision is down to personal preference.

Generally nylon mesh and split leather boots are lightweight and breathable, which makes them ideal for warm to moderate weather (as in Mallorca). They tend to be easier on the feet, take less time to break in and are the lightest form of boot. They also┬átend to cost less, which helps. However, they can be less water resistant than other types, although some models feature waterproof liners, which can be just as good. They can always be reinforced with some waterproofing sprays, which we’ll cover in a future post.

The Right Size

This has to be one of the most important factors in choosing the correct boot (sounds obvious doesn’t it, but it’s not always that easy!). It’s better to try boots later in the day, when your feet have been active and they’ve expanded to their maximum size. Also bear in mind you’ll be wearing thicker socks – or even two pairs of socks – so take these along to your fitting session.

Try as many pairs of boots as you can – and don’t choose the boot because it’s the trendiest or your favourite colour – comfort and protection are the most important factors to consider.

Boots bought and already packed for your holiday?

Not just yet! Those boots need some walking in before you head off for your holiday. Breaking in the material and making your boots comfortable for extended walks will make your holiday experience so much more enjoyable. Read our article on Preparing for your Holiday to accustom yourself to your clothes and to get to know your body with practice walks.

If you have any other doubts or questions about choosing the right boots please feel free to email or call us – we’re happy to help and make recommendations for reputable boot brands.

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