More often, hikers come up with a question in mind, like “how should hiking boots fit Reddit.”

From low-cut, lightweight hiking boots to beefy mountaineering types, hiking boots come in an almost mind-boggling range of styles.

An ill-fitting hiking boot, on the other hand, is about the surest way to transform your time on the trails into a real suffer-fest.

Imagine the following scenario: you’ve traveled an hour outside of town and are about to embark on the stunning 10-mile hike you’ve heard so much about. The birds chirp, the wind is rushing through the trees, and this hike will re-energize your soul.

You start walking, but after a mile, your feet hurt. Your blisters have been so serious that you must turn around and hobble back to the car after two miles.

It’s a miserable situation, but it does happen.

So, what is the only way to stay away from it? Getting the best fit for your mountaineering boots before hitting the trail, that’s how.

While some hiking boots come with a lot of bells and whistles, getting the right fit is the most critical aspect you can do for your protection and the wellbeing of your feet.

We’ll go over everything you need to know about finding the right fit for your hiking boots in this article so you can concentrate on the landscape rather than your feet while you’re out in nature.

How Should Hiking Boots Fit – 5 Tips

how hiking boots should fit

When it comes to buying new hiking boots, the most significant consideration is fit. You’ll want to be sure your feet are comfortable because they’ll be holding your weight and your pack for miles and miles. Start by trying on a few pairs of high-quality trail shoes or hiking boots.

Move your weight to the front of your foot until your foot is comfortably inside the shoe. Between your heel and the back of the shoe, you should be able to comfortably align your index finger. You’ll end up with bruised toes from the descents if you can’t.

Now it’s time to check the width. At the widest section of the forefoot, the shoe or boot should feel snug but not too tight. There should be no pinching or pain of the heel or ankle bones.

Follow these tips to get the right hiking boot fit:

#1. Make Sure the Length is Right

First and foremost, make sure the boots are the right length for your feet. Since most people have one longer foot than the other, you can measure the length of your boots with your longer foot.

Place the longer foot into the hiking boot and stand up straight with the laces loosening. Bring your foot forward until your toes are in contact with the boot’s end.

Then have someone look behind your heel to see if there’s enough space. If your boots are well fitted, there should be enough space behind your heel for one finger.

After a full day of backpacking, your feet will swell, so make sure there is enough space in your boots.

Extra Advice

Measuring the insoles is another way to ensure that the hiking boots are the right length. Remove the insoles from the boots and place them on the floor.

Be sure there’s enough space between the longest toe and the insole’s end. Space should be about the width of a thumb.

#2. Check the Width of the Boots After Lacing them

It’s also necessary that the width of your hiking boots is right. You will get blisters on your feet if the boots are too wide to accommodate your feet; but, if the width is too small, the sides of your feet will be inconveniently crunched along the journey.

To determine if the boots are large enough, first, lace them up and then feel your feet in them. Make sure the feet aren’t pressed to the inside of the shoe and can’t slide from side to side.

It’s fine if the boots are a little tight because hiking boots usually have around a 5% stretch.

Do Hiking Boots Stretch?

Hiking boots don’t always stretch, but they do break in overtime. That is to say, while they can be rigid when you buy them, they seem to become much more flexible after a few miles.

How Much Toe Room in Hiking Boots?

For the toe room in your hiking boots, there is no standard measurement. It all comes down to personal comfort. If your toes are particularly big, choose a boot with plenty of space for them. The thumb width between the end of the toe and where it will contact the toe box is the standard recommendation to measure the toe room.

#3. Take a Walk

Make sure to walk around in the boots for a while to get a sense of how comfortable they are.

Load up a backpack, go for a walk around the shop, and if possible, go up and down a staircase or two.

Often, when you walk, consider shifting your weight around to see if the width and internal support are adequate. The best fit should be stable but still being relaxed and not restricting.

It’s important to remember that a new hiking shoe hasn’t been broken in yet, so a few pinches are to be anticipated. However, if the toes are already meeting the ends of the boots, you can try going up a full or half size.

#4. The Flex Point Should Be Your Main Focus

The flex point is found on the tip of your foot, either below the base of your toes or just above the ball of your foot.

This section of the hiking boot is exposed to more movement – and, as a result, more weight and discomfort – than almost any other. It easily determines if the width of a boot is appropriate for our feet.

The hiking boots are possibly too broad or large if the flex point is overly creased. If the leather presses against the foot or pinches when flexed, the boots are probably too narrow.

#5. Use a Brannock Device

Your shoe size can be measured using a Brannock device from the 1950s. Its measurements, on the other hand, may or may not correspond to the sizing of the brand(s) you want to try on. Furthermore, its sizing ignores the fact that most hikers need a size up for proper toe clearance.

The entire procedure for using the Brannock device is shown below. The Brannock device would essentially give you three measurements for each of your feet:

  • heel to toe measurement,
  • heel to the ball of foot measurement, and
  • width measurement.

It’s a good idea to take measurements of both feet so having a bigger foot is not uncommon. These measurements will provide valuable fitting knowledge, especially if you’ve had problems with fit in the past:

If one foot is larger than the other, the larger foot should be accommodated first.
Your heel-to-toe and heel-to-ball measurements should be the same in a stable foot.

You should be able to see what size your feet are. (Just keep in mind that you’ll actually need to go up a size for hiking.)

It might be more difficult to match your foot if your heel-to-toe and heel-to-ball measurements vary. Most of the time, it’s best to use the larger measurement. (If your heel-to-toe measurement is 9.5 and your heel-to-ball measurement is a 10, for example, start with a size 10).

However, where there is a significant size difference, you can need to experiment to determine the correct combination of right vs. left foot, length vs. flex point, and so on.

How Should Merrell Hiking Boots Fit

Merrel Hiking boots

Your typical shoe size is the best place to start when determining size. Merrel hiking boots are made to look and feel like regular shoes. Try on the boots with the socks you’ll be wearing on the trail. Move your toes forward until they hit the front of the boot as you get up.

Merrell is known for making shoes that are comfortable right out of the box. Make sure your shoes or boots fit well before you buy them. A snug fit over the arch of the foot and in the heel, as well as space in the toe box, are important.

When it comes to selecting the perfect match for your shoe or boot, there are a few things to keep in mind. It’s definitely a good idea to go on a couple of practice hikes before embarking on your big adventure.

Merrell Men's Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot

If you want to know how should hiking boots fit Merrell, then read some of the tips for Merrell hiking boots:

#1. From Front to Back

Check whether you can get one finger through the gap behind the foot. If you are unable to do so, go up a half size.

Since your feet can swell with the weight of your pack, maximum finger space is strongly recommended for boots that will be used carrying a medium to huge workload.

#2. From one side to the other

Tap your heel back into the boot’s heel cup to lace your shoe. The boot should have a snug fit around the ball, instep, and heel.

The arch should be well balanced, and the toes should be able to wiggle and curl freely. It’s critical that the instep is secure. When you’re going downhill, this will help you maintain internal balance and keep your toes from falling forward.

#3. Make Sure It Fits

Check the boot on an incline to see how well it fits in the heel. An overall lift of 12 inches is recommended for the foot. Your foot twists at the ball of your foot in a stride, and the heel attempts to break away from the boot.

The upper lead the heel due to Merrell’s accurate fit. This eliminates the stumbling and falling that leads to blisters. Walk down an incline to check the fit of your toes. Instead of squeezing the toes into the front of the boot, lightly touch the front of the footwear.

#4. A Word On Width

A Men’s D and a Women’s B are the standard/medium widths for Merrell boots. You might want to change the equal mass of the fit if the foot feels too loose or too rigid in this width.

The custom-fit system of Merrell’s Men’s and Women’s footbeds helps you to find balance in the fit of Merrell’s footwear by modifying the volume and distance.

Although this may work with others, a standard/medium width may not be sufficient in some cases.

#5. A Pair of Socks

Merrell took sock thickness into account when designing the fit of their hiking boots. So, try to put on a pair of socks while checking the fit of Merrell hiking boots.

How Should Hiking Boots Fit – FAQs

How Should Hiking Boots Fit - FAQs

How Should Salomon Hiking Boots Fit?

Hiking boots should be snug in all the correct spots but not too tight in the others, with enough space for your toes to wiggle.

Try them on at the end of the day (after your feet have swollen) and with the socks, you’ll be wearing. Be aware of your personal measurements. It’s safest to get the size, width, and arch length of your foot measured with a specially calibrated fit device.

How Should Keen Hiking Boots Fit?

There should be no pressure points or pinch points, just a snug, comfortable heel with plenty of space between the toes. You’ll realize it more when you feel it or do the “tippy-toes test,” believe me. In boots, stand on your tiptoes to allow your toes to splay to prevent getting on the front or top of the boot.

What are the Best Hiking Boots?

The quality of hiking boots depends on various factors like water-proof features, the material used, durability, and comfort. However, you can check the best women and men’s hiking boots here: Hiking Boots Made In USA – Top 10

Final Verdict

I hope now you are very well familiar with how should hiking boots fit. Take a minute to praise your feet as you’re right at the top of the next hike’s summit.

For you, they’ve hiked through the woods, leaped over logs, and waded through lakes. You’d already be testing the map at the trailhead without a summit to brag about if it weren’t for their support.

Make sure you serve them well enough by purchasing the best hiking boots and comfort insoles for them to carry you wherever you want to on your hiking adventure.


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