I’m looking at buying my girl friend boots for her future hikes. The low down is, I know nothing about hiking boots besides what I’ve found on Google. She is a beginner but has found a passion for back packing and hiking over the last 2 years and she has never had a decent pair of boots. She really doesn’t have an idea on what brands and gear are best either but I’d like to get her a pair for Christmas because I know she has plans for hikes in 2016.
We’ve done Yosemite together and plan on doing the Half Dome hike in the next view years. We have also talked about plans of Zion and Arches in Utah, Grand Canyon, and the back packing South America (Ecuador and Peru). Looking for a boot that provides good support, traction, and (most importantly) comfort for long and multiple day hikes at a time. Any help is appreciated!
1.) She loved the movie “Wild” and loves those Danner Mountain Light Cascade Hiking boots. I know from reviews on Google that they’re expensive and have mixed reviews on the comfort of the boot. Are they worth it, or is there a boot out there that is much better and this Danner boot is just hype because of the movie?
2.) I’ve also seen the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid boot and it has good reviews. How is this boot?
Open to any suggestions, hoping to get something ordered soon so they’re in by Christmas. Thank you!
This might be a good question for the Gear forum, as it's more about boots than it is about your girlfriend. But regardless...
What you need to get her is a boot that fits. Fits her. Everyone's feet are different, and different brands/models of boots are made around different "lasts" (the mold of a foot that companies use to build a boot or shoe around). A boot that fits person X wonderfully might give person Y blisters all day long because their heel slips, or toes are pinched, or any number of other issues. So you have to take others' reviews with a grain of salt when it comes to boots.
Although I know you'd love to get her a surprise "perfect boot" right outta the box for X-Mas, if you're truly interested in getting her something comfortable (and I guarantee you are), what you want to do is go to a store that has a lot of selection of different boots, REI or similar. Get her foot measured and start trying them on. Try on many, many boots, not just one or two. Toss out the ones that are uncomfortable, take the others and walk around in them. Exchange them for a half-size up or down, whatever's needed. Use the little incline if they have one, have her walk up, down, sideways on a slope.
Her heel should not slip around in the back of the boot, either vertically or horizontally.
In fact, no part of her foot should slip around in there at all.
Her toes should NOT hit the front of the boot when walking downhill. Not even a little tiny bit. Ignoring that will result in black toes and lost toenails on long downhills in the mountains.
Her toes should have ample "wiggle room" in the front of the boot.
There should not be any noticeable pinching anywhere in the boot, such as in the arch. Not even a little bit, anywhere.
Her foot should rest comfortably on the footbed without feeling like it's "too flat" in there.
It might take hours to find a boot that fits her that well. Go to multiple stores if needed. Don't settle for something that fits "good enough" and that one little problem isn't-that-bad-and-it-shouldn't-really-matter-anyway. Little problems in the store create big problems on the 8th mile of the trail.
Give her a date for X-mas and spend the time taking her out to get fitted properly for a good pair of boots. Looks don't matter; what Reese Witherspoon wore in "Wild" matters far less. She will greatly appreciate having the right fit, and (if she's worth it) will appreciate you investing the time to make sure she gets that.
Best of luck in your search!
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Try on many, many boots, not just one or two. Toss out the ones that are uncomfortable, take the others and walk around in them.
She might want to wear them around the house, also, before taking them to the trail. I actually bought two different pairs of boots and wore them at home with my hiking socks, returning the ones I decided against. Then I did the same thing with different sizes. I find my boots to be more comfortable than any of my shoes.
Good advice here already. I would also encourage her to think in terms of fairly light boots, unless she expects to be in a lot of snow and/or really rough terrain. I hike on and off trail in the Sierra in a pair of boots that are only a little heavier than running shoes. My oldest son wears trail runners. Weight on the feet is a real drag, and over thousands of steps an extra pound means moving thousands of extra pounds.
If she uses and inserts or orthotics, take them along when she is trying on boots. I always take my own insoles and my own socks, so I know I'm replicating real conditions. Ideally, try on boots at the end of a long and trying day when she's been on her feet a lot. That will replicate the swelling that you get at the end of a long day on the trail.