Which Hiking Boots are Right for Me?
In New England, we love spending time outside - whether that means reaching the summit or just lacing up hikers as our everyday footwear. For decades, we've been designing hiking boots & shoes to fit in with your lifestyle, from waterproof, mountain-conquering hiking boots to lightweight trail-inspired shoes.
Hardcore hiker? Our waterproof hiking boots for men and women have Gore-Tex® or other waterproof membranes and outsoles designed for ultimate wilderness traction and all-day hikes. Breathability is key here, but these boots are also sealed against moisture so you can power through streams and over rough terrain in comfort.
Boots & shoes designed for your versatile lifestyle, with style cues influenced by hikers. Ready for your daily adventures - whether it's a day out exploring the city or a leisurely day hike - these styles feature an outdoor aesthetic that complements all of your casual looks.
The right hiking boots strike the perfect balance between comfort, support and technology. Our hikers feature the advanced shock-absorbing power of our exclusive anti-fatigue technology, which returns energy to the foot with every stride up the mountain. And we’ve packed our hiking shoes and boots with plenty of extras; some have rubber toe caps, speed-lace rustproof hardware, gusseted tongues and mixed-media uppers for ultimate breathability and performance.
Your hiking boots should be comfortable, with no hot spots or rubbing. Your feet should not slide around inside the boot. You might feel a rush of tiger blood once you’ve laced up the right pair, as if you could run all the way up to the summit.
There are a few tried-and-true tips that have come down through years of hiking lore. The first one is: Try boots on later in the day. Your feet swell during the day, and the last thing you need is to be two miles into a hike and realize you’re rocking too-tight hiking boots. Also, try them on with hiking socks. You want an accurate fit as to how it’ll be out in the wilderness - choose supportive, wicking socks which are medium-weight at least.
The last thing you want is to be halfway up a mountain, feel the impending doom of a heel blister and realize that your new boots don’t fit quite right. You need to become one with your new hiking boots, establishing not only the trust to conquer streams, rocks and roots together, but also to gain the confidence and comfort that comes with the perfect fit.
The #1 way to break in hiking boots: Wear them around! Wear them around your house at first. Start slow, on your shag carpet, and then out in your backyard, and then road-test them out and about in your daily life. Wear high-quality, wicking hiking socks with them - the same as the ones you’d wear out on the trail.
And the hikers we design look great worn around town too, so we recommend pairing your new hikers with a Timberland® graphic tee and taking them out for a burrito or microbrew, or a trip to the grocery store to buy your trail mix. This way, the boots will begin to mold to your feet before you put them to the test at the trailhead.
When you’re out in the backcountry, you may have to deal with blisters, cramped toe boxes and rough stretches of downhill hiking, which can totally stress out your feet. Luckily, there are different techniques you can use to get some relief. Here’s how to lace hiking boots for different hiking-related issues.
TOP OF FOOT: If you’ve tied your laces super tight and you start to feel pressure or rubbing on the top of your foot, try unlacing the top set of hooks or two and retying the boots a bit lower. Alternatively, you can try the window knot, which simply means that instead of lacing diagonally, you lace vertically over the spot that’s sore, creating a “window” on the boot’s tongue (and then resume diagonally lacing above the problem spot).
TOE BOX: Same philosophy – if your toes are killing you out on the trail, completely unlace and re-lace your boots, but skip the lowest (first) set of hooks.
Your hiking boots are going to be your adventure companions, so you’ll want to extend their life – and keep them looking good.
Before your new boots even see one tiny grain of dirt or pollen from the woods, they can benefit from some added protection and water resistance. We recommend our Balm Proofer™ XL All-Purpose Protector, a water-based treatment which repels water and protects against stains caused by salt and oil. Just spray it on, wait for it to mostly dry and then wipe your boots with a cloth.
For full-grain leather boots that aren’t oiled or waxed, our Dry Cleaning Kit brushes off surface dirt without damaging the nap of the leather. Dried-on dirt from the trails gets easily removed, and stains get erased.