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Choosing the right pair of hiking boots

Choosing the right pair of hiking boots

Find all our advice to choose the right hiking boots. The choice of program is essential because each practice has its own type of shoes! Comfort, rigidity, upper height, cushioning... here is a short guide to buying the right shoes and the main criteria to consider.

choosing the right pair of hiking boots choosing the right pair of hiking boots

The upper height


The first thing you to take into consideration is the height of the upper and what you plan to do with your shoes. Indeed, if your objective is to pick mushrooms in the forest, there is no point in buying hiking boots designed for mountaineering, which will be very rigid and therefore uncomfortable. Finally, if you need a good ankle support, it is essential to choose shoes with the appropriate upper height that ensures this support. 

how to choose walking bootshow to choose walking boots

The type of shoes


At Snowleader, we have classified hiking boots into broad categories:

The mountaineering shoes


They are rigid and with a high upper, to allow you to climb on glaciers. These are the most expensive but most complete shoes. They will allow you to do winter expeditions, to take part into technical races that require a good grip on rocky surfaces or to do high altitude trekking like in Nepal. They will adapt to all types of terrain: snow, rocks or trails.


The approach shoes


They are a category of hiking boots that has been popular recently. They have the merit of having a slightly younger look and being low upper shoes. These shoes, originally designed to join climbing routes, have now become real hiking boots with cushioning, Vibram soles, GORE-TEX® fabrics, etc. In other words, a definite breakthrough on the hiking shoe market.


The long-distance hiking shoes


Unlike mountaineering shoes are not designed for climbing. They offer an excellent compromise between comfort, support and grip. These shoes have been designed to be comfortably worn by the hikers for many hours and several days straight. They can be made of leather or synthetic material, and even have a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex membrane. This is the best-selling category.


The winter shoes 


Feature all the qualities of long-distance hiking boots, doubled with a thermal lining that keeps your feet warm even in extreme conditions or when standing still for long periods of time.


Day hiking boots


They are shoes that look like long distance hiking boots but have been designed only for occasional hiking. They will probably be more comfortable than long-distance hiking boots, but with less grip and cushioning than long-distance hiking boots. It is the first product you buy when you start hiking or good light and comfortable shoes to keep around for your small Sunday getaways.


Water sports shoes


They are suitable for athletes who practice canyoning, for example, or who operate in wet environments.


The trail running shoe


It is a hybrid between a running shoe and a mountain shoe. It has the dynamic qualities of a running shoe to ensure the cushioning and the stimulation of the stride. It also features more serrated soles, sometimes made from GORE-TEX® fabric, and stone guards. It really is the fusion between two products, allowing you to tackle this new popular activity that is trail-running, in other words running in the mountains.

Find more information on our dedicated advice page: how to choose the right trail running shoe


choosing the technologie of your hiking bootschoosing the technologie of your hiking boots

Technologies: membrane, eather, etc.


Should I take a shoe with a membrane or not? For the membrane, it is all a question of philosophy.

Indeed, if your shoe is made of split leather, applying a waterproof finish to the leather will be enough to make the shoe waterproof. However, if you rarely take care of your shoes, leather will lose its qualities over time.

A shoe with a mesh or synthetic fabric construction will have a lower waterproofing resistance than a leather shoe, but will be lighter.

Finally, there is also the budget to take into account, because a shoe with a membrane costs on average 20 to 30 euros more than an equivalent shoe without a membrane.

Our advice is to take a GORE-TEX® shoe if you can afford it. You will be guaranteed to have a waterproof but also breathable shoe. In addition, GORE-TEX® has laboratories that monitor the entire design of the shoe and verify that, for instance, the laces are not moisture conductors that cause water to infiltrate the shoe. Buying a membrane shoe is a guarantee of versatility.


The shoe size


For the size, we recommend taking your usual size, or even half a size larger depending on the brand. Without getting into clichés, it can be said that Italian brands such as Garmont, Scarpa or La Sportiva have a tendency to run smaller compared to German brands such as Lowa and Meindl.

If you have any doubts, our advice is to contact our customer service that will be please to provide you with information by email, chat or phone and answer all your questions.

Finally, we want you to know that at Snowleader, returns are free and therefore, you can change size free of charges or order the 2 sizes or models that interest you so you can try them at home.