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The Best Hiking Boots for Long Distance Hiking

author image Max Roman Dilthey
Max Roman Dilthey is a science, health and culture writer currently pursuing a master's of sustainability science. Based in Massachusetts, he blogs about cycling at
The Best Hiking Boots for Long Distance Hiking
Staying light on your feet can make a big difference over longer journeys. Photo Credit: Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Long distance hikers are especially punishing to their feet. If your mileage is creeping into the double digits, you'll need a boot that provides the load-bearing stiffness and durability to keep up with your adventures. The fit and comfort of a boot is ultimately the most important feature a boot can have for a long-distance hiker, so test several pairs before you ultimately make a purchase.

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Feed Your Sole

A hiking boot's sole is multilayered and specifically designed for long miles. Underneath the tough rubber outsole, a plastic shank 3 millimeters to 5 millimeters in depth provides protection from sharp rocks and impact, and helps distribute your weight evenly over the shoe to reduce fatigue and help prevent rolled ankles. On top of the shank, an "EVA" foam midsole made from a co-polymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate provides lightweight cushioning for your feet, and helps absorb the shock with each step you take. This complex system can help reduce the pain from an especially long hike.

Boots Made for Walking

Long-distance hikers often choose a hiking shoe that features the same sole characteristics of a boot without the weight of an ankle supporting upper section. These shoes are durable and built for long miles, but weigh far less than a traditional leather boot. Regardless of what style you choose, maintaining your boots with clean socks and ample drying times between trips will get you the most miles out of your pair. "Backpacker Magazine" recommends treating boots often for waterproofing using wax or silicone treatments for use over long miles.

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