The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Right Hiking Boots

Exploring the breathtaking Colorado landscapes or scaling the challenging peaks requires not just an adventurous spirit but also sturdy, reliable hiking boots. As any seasoned hiker would confirm, your hiking boots are the foundations of your trek. At Brown’s Shoe Fit of Fort Collins, we understand this better than anyone. That’s why we’ve crafted this ultimate guide to buying the right hiking boots to help you make an informed decision before stepping onto the trail.

Understanding Your Hiking Style

Not every hike is alike – from leisurely walks in the park to rugged, multi-day trekking excursions. The first step in buying the right hiking boots is to understand your style and needs. Day hiking boots are lightweight, offering comfort and excellent ankle support, suitable for brief escapes into the wild. Meanwhile, backpacking boots are more robust, and designed to handle a wide variety of terrains while supporting heavy loads. Once you have defined your hiking style and needs, we can help you find a pair of boots that cater perfectly to them.

Materials Matter

The material of your hiking boots plays a significant role in their durability, water resistance, and breathability. Leather boots are sturdy, providing excellent water resistance, but may require a break-in period. Synthetics, on the other hand, are lightweight, dry quickly, and often cost less but may wear out sooner. A balance of these properties can be found in boots with waterproof membranes and split-grain leather. We stock an extensive range of boots made from a variety of materials so you can find one that’s made just for you.

Fitting and Size

An ill-fitting hiking boot can turn a beautiful journey into a blistering nightmare. We recommend that you try on your boots with the same socks you intend to hike in. Your hiking boots should fit snugly around your heel and instep to prevent your foot from sliding forward while descending slopes. There should be enough room to wiggle your toes. Also, consider the insole and how it supports your arch type.

Remember, the best time to try on hiking boots is in the afternoon or after a long walk when your feet are naturally swollen. This ensures the boots won't feel too tight during the hike. Our experienced staff at Brown’s can help measure your feet accurately and assist you in finding the perfect fit.

Break-in Period

The breaking-in process is an essential step to prepare your feet and your new boots for the journey ahead. However, it's important to keep in mind that a good fit shouldn't require an 

unbearable break-in period. If the boots are unreasonably stiff or uncomfortable in the store, chances are they'll be likewise on the trail. The right hiking boot should feel comfortable almost right away. 

Finally, durability and maintenance are essential factors to consider. You want boots that can withstand different terrains, weather conditions, and the test of time. Regular maintenance and cleaning can prolong the life of your boots.

Additional Things to Keep in Mind when Shopping For Hiking Boots


Heavy boots can make hiking harder and more tiring. So, choose boots that are lightweight but also durable. 

Traction & Grip

Look for boots providing excellent traction & grip, crucial for keeping your footing stable on slippery or steep terrains. 

Ankle Support

Especially if you plan on hiking on uneven terrain or carrying heavy backpacks, ankle support can help prevent twists and sprains.

Hiking Boot Brands With a Solid Reputation

Choosing a reputable hiking boot brand is essential for both comfort and safety on treks. The following are just a few of the most popular, trusted brands we sell here at Brown’s Shoe Fit of Fort Collins. Make sure to research and try multiple brands to find the one that suits your foot shape and hiking needs best.

Hoka Hiking Boots

Hoka hiking boots are known for their superior comfort, stability, and durability, making them an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts. Their boots feature a unique design that includes an oversized midsole, providing maximum cushioning and support for lengthy treks on uneven terrain. 

Keen Hiking Boots

Keen hiking boots are made with high-quality materials, designed to withstand tough terrain and weather conditions while providing protection and support to the feet. They’re equipped with advanced features such as water-resistant uppers, breathable liners, and sturdy soles for superior grip. These boots ensure exceptional performance on all types of hiking adventures. 

Oboz Hiking Boots

Oboz hiking boots are designed with the hardcore adventurer in mind. One of the distinguishing features of Oboz boots is the signature O FIT insole, which provides excellent arch and heel support, thereby reducing fatigue during long hikes. Furthermore, for every pair sold, Oboz plants a tree, making these boots an environmentally-conscious choice for hikers.

Merrell Hiking Boots and Shoes

When it comes to hiking, your footwear can be your greatest asset or your most painful liability. You need hiking shoes that are rugged, durable and ready to handle whatever terrain comes your way. That's why Merrell has spent decades perfecting their hiking boots to provide the perfect amount of support, comfort and protection while you're out on the trail. Whether you need lightweight, versatile men's hiking shoes to remain agile and quick on unpredictable footpaths or more heavy-duty hiking boots to provide increased structure and support, Merrell makes high-performance hiking boots for men to suit a variety of settings. Find the best waterproof men's hiking boots and trekking shoes to match your activity, from trail running to hiking to hybrid adventures.

Shop Brown’s Shoe Fit for Women’s and Men’s Hiking Boots

At Brown's Shoe Fit of Fort Collins, we understand that finding the perfect hiking boot pair is as much a part of your journey as the hike itself. That's why we offer an extensive range of hiking boots for all types of adventurers, from leading brands offering the best quality and innovation. Our experienced team is always ready to provide assistance and expert advice to ensure you leave our store well-fitted and ready for your next hike! Stop by our shoe store today!