How Should Hiking Boots Fit?

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If you’re reading this article, there is a good chance that you enjoy hiking or you want to get started doing it. It tracks that either way, that you might wonder how hiking boots should fit. A lot of people get the wrong impression on this situation honestly.

Seriously, you’d be surprised how many people actually get this wrong. Hiking boots are not supposed to fit like other footwear, funny enough. A lot of this really comes down to what happens while you hike as opposed to other activities.

For example, if you play football then the cleats you wear will need to be tight on your feet. You do not want them to fall off as you’re running down the field. With all the potential movements and cuts you make, whether on offense or defense, you’re going to need them to stay on.

If you’re just wearing shoes to play basketball, the same premise. You want them to be sneakers that are a bit wider but still stay on tight. The same goes for soccer. As both are cardio-driven, you need them to be on you but not be overly tight either.

Therefore, you should consider how hiking shoes need to fit a specific way.

Hiking Boots Need To Be Larger

hiking boots


Most hiking boots or shoes will usually need to be larger than your average shoes. There are a few reasons for this. The most important thing to remember is that just like with the other shoes mentioned above, they need to be able to fit your feet and stay on.

However, there is a big difference in HOW they need to fit. Unlike the other activities, hiking tends to inflame your feet due to all your putting them through on a hike. As a result, your feet actually get larger inside the shoes.

This is why after long walks where your feet are killing you, it is likely that you feel like it was harder to get your shoes off than it was to put them on. Well, it was because your feet are slightly larger right then.

This Is Also Natural:

Our feet get larger during the day regardless of what we’re doing too. Many feel this is due to body fluid and gravity. Since we’re getting home from work and propping our feet up, then going to bed with our feet up…we’re not really getting a lot of fluid to travel downward.

As a result, you’re naturally going to experience a situation when fluid is not building up. Now, add in that gravity that you experience throughout the day. You get home to pull off your shoes, and then they seem larger than normal.

Most of us have gotten used to this and think nothing of it. Yet it is simply a natural occurrence of gravity on the human body. Isn’t science cool?!?

NOW add in this normal rate of change with your feet AND THEN add in potential inflammation from hiking. Starting to see why getting a larger shoe makes sense for hiking?

feet by a campfire

It’s A Blood Thing:

When our body gets inflamed, it’s also getting warm too. This is why you can touch something inflamed on your body and can feel the heat radiating off of the area. Meanwhile, normal movement and friction will make your feet warmer in general.

On top of this, you are going to get hot and sweaty while hiking likely no matter the temperature outside. Due to this, your body will also get warm too. That only makes sense to travel down to our feet.

It is said that most of our body heat escapes from the head and the feet. If this is to be believed, then it makes sense that the foot area will get warmer. Therefore, enlarging our feet as we’re hiking too.

Sometimes Bigger Is Better

measuring foot

Don’t tell Dave from your “microbiology” class, but bigger is better sometimes. Your ex-girlfriend told us it was the main reason for leaving you and she was right…not about the leaving you part but the larger part. You need larger boots to hike in, but how much larger are we talking about here?

The amount needs to be considered in one or two areas. This is, of course, all depending on if your feet are naturally wide or not too.

If they are wide, then you want to get a pair of shoes that are at least a full size bigger to give your wider foot a bit of extra room. If your feet are relatively normal, you can get something as simple as a half-size up.

This is because you’re not going to need them to be so large that they become useless to walk in. Even after your body gets going.

Wider feet need the one full-size difference because they will not only get larger from fluid build-up in length but also in width. Half a size won’t really be enough there, so one size up is likely the best thing you can do.

If the shoes or boots you’re using for hiking are made for wider feet anyway, then you might be able to take a shot on the half-size difference. We recommend shopping for these shoes near the end of the day. That way, you’ve put your feet in prime position to try out the shoes.

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