There are few things that can affect your mood and motivation as much as your feet! Your hiking boots carry a heavy burden during your trek. Not only do they have to support your own weight, but they also have to support what you are carrying on your back. They protect your feet from stones, branches and even moisture. If you are walking predominantly in uneven terrain, they also support your ankles.
You should choose your boots based on the type of terrain and the length of your trek. Trekking in the Swedish mountains, which at times requires trudging through wet terrain, means that your boots need to be more waterproof and higher than, for example, a trek in the Alps. If you are going to be carrying a backpack packed for a multi-day trek, you need a more sturdy boot than if you are just headed out for the day. You can get help answering these questions by going to a qualified outdoors store, such as Naturkompaniet. The experienced personnel there can help you find a pair of boots that will be right for both your feet and your trekking needs.
Fit and size
When it comes to boots, it is important that you do not choose a pair that is too small. You should have at least one centimetre between your big toe (when wearing a sock) and the boot. Your feet swell when you are walking, and if the trail slopes downwards, your toes should not touch the front of your boot – this will almost guarantee that you will have problems with sore toenails. Fit is also important. Test several models in order to find one that fits your foot well. Good grip at the ankle and heel will help you avoid blisters, and the boot should also be wide enough in the front that your foot muscles can relax. And, of course, it is important that the boots offer good arch support.
Two layers of socks
Your choice of socks is just as important for your comfort as the boot itself. Preferably wear quality socks made from wool or a wool/synthetic blend. Many mountain trekkers wear two layers: one tight sock and one thicker, porous sock. Any friction within the boot will thus occur between the layers, and not directly affect your skin. We would take the stand that it is not a good idea to trek in cotton socks. Cotton traps moisture and almost unavoidably results in blisters.
Another important piece of advice is to take off your boots and air your feet as often as you can, and preferably put on a pair of drier socks. Dry feet significantly reduce the risk for blisters.
Your boots should be your friend
You should have broken in your hiking boots properly before heading off on a long trek – a good rule of thumb is to have worn them for at least 200 km. This will help you avoid unnecessary problems such as blisters, which can easily ruin even the most beautiful day on the trail.
Old love never rusts (Swedish proverb) – or does it?
If you have a pair of boots that have accompanied you on many treks, it is a good idea to show them a little love before heading out on your trek. Check the seams closely and replace worn-out insoles - they technically are perishable items. Check the shoestrings for any wear and make sure that the leather has been treated well and does not have cracks, the seams are whole and the soles are not loose. Remember that how you store your shoes has a significant effect on their lifespan. Dry and cool is a good rule of thumb for a long trekking life together.
More about HANWAG footwear
We recommend hiking boots from our sister company, HANWAG. The Bavarian brand HANWAG manufactures high-quality outdoor footwear since 1921 and combines the classic art of shoemaking with innovative design, materials and manufacturing techniques. Read more at www.hanwag.com.