Choosing the right hiking boot: All you need to know

All beginnings are difficult. So is the search for the perfect fitting mountain boot. Usually, you demand a great deal of the perfect boot for example high quality, comfort, impermeability, and durability. But how to find the one shoe out of hundreds? Have a look at our helpful guide which will lead you towards the right direction in finding a perfect fitting boot.



First of all you should think about which kind of activities you need the boots for. Because the kind of terrain determines which kind of shoe is best for you. Whether approach shoes, trekking or hiking boots or mountaineering boots – we will tell you the difference.



Approach Shoes

For easy hiking trips, such as day tours or mountain bike trips followed by some hiking, approach shoes are especially suitable. In contrast to normal trainers, approach shoes have a firmer and warp resistant sole providing more grip on demanding terrain. In addition, the lacing resembles that of a traditional mountaineering boot and gives the foot more stability.



Hiking and Trekking Boots

When it comes to more sophisticated hiking tours you should choose firm and stable hiking and trekking boots with an ankle-deep bootleg. It provides more stability to the foot and prevents you from twisting or slipping. A stiffer sole also offers a higher warp-resistance whereby your feet are being relieved. In addition, trekking boots have a more pronounced heel and a rougher sole profile which guarantees more grip.




Crampon Compatible Mountaineering Boots

Hiking in alpine regions with rubble and even snowfields or glaciers, you should definitely decide yourself for crampon compatible mountaineering boots. Difficult terrain simply demands more sophisticated boots, which overall provide stability and safety. Therefore, these boots come with an extremely stiff sole, which is a prerequisite for using crampons and makes it easier to kick steps in the snow and ice. The heel area of mountaineering boots is firmly shaped and they have a better heat isolation quality than normal hiking boots. Furthermore, you should keep an eye on a preferably firm cushioning. Otherwise, it can come to imprecise steps.




When does a shoe fit perfectly? Your shoe size should only provide some rough guidance because feet are changing and are swelling during activities. Generally, it is recommendable to try on boots in the afternoon when your feet are a bit swollen because the same thing happens when you are on a longer hiking trip.

It is best to try on the boots with appropriate hiking socks. Slip into the boot, do not tie it and move your toes to the top end of the shoe. Tere should be one finger space at your heel between your foot and the shoe. Your toes need this space (appr. 1 cm) when hiking downhill to not get hurt. It’s also necessary that your heels are fixed and can’t move back or forward too much. Otherwise, you have to deal with bladders later on.

Each foot is different. That is why a professional advice can help you the most with finding the right fit. At the Sport Conrad stores in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Penzberg we determine your foot size as well as foot shape precisely with our 3D Foot Scanner system.


© Claudia Ziegler



Boots made of leather or membrane fibers? The choice is yours and it’s often a matter of taste. But both materials have their pros and cons which you should be aware of before buying.

Boots made of Gore-Tex® are absolutely waterproof and therefore are better to use for multi-day tours and for hiking higher regions with snow or even ice fields. The function is as simple as sophisticated: Underneath the upper material, there is a membrane included which consists of tiny little pores, 20.000 times smaller than water drops. Body steam from sweating can escape through these little pores but humidity from outside can’t get into the boot. This function can become uncomfortable if it’s warm outside you fast begin to sweat because the breathability is constricted.

Then you better should choose the natural alternative: leather boots. The advantage of this material is its excellent breathability. That’s why a leather boot is more comfortable to wear under warm weather conditions and guarantees a natural foot climate. If there’s heavy rain the leather tends to soak and becomes heavy and dries very slowly.


© Thomas Grüner


Eventually, you should choose the right boot according to your individual needs and projects. At the Sport Conrad Online Shop you can find models for every kind of tour and needs. And if you’re not sure which boot fits perfectly or which model is best for you, just drop by one of our stores and get some advice. We also adapt the boot sole to your foot shape or repair run off soles.


Would you like to know more about hiking? Get more information here:

AlpenTestival 2020

Forget blisters with the right pair of hiking socks

Hiking and Trekking Poles: Faithful Companions in the Mountains


Photos: © Dachstein