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Whether you're a novice or a seasoned mountain enthusiast, the moment of choosing a new pair of hiking boots always brings a bit of tension: will they be the right ones? What if I get the size or model wrong? How can I avoid picking boots that aren't suitable for me?
Just a few, very simple precautions are enough to find the perfect model for your needs: follow step by step the advice listed in this article, and the result will be guaranteed!
Perhaps the most important aspect of all when buying a new pair of mountain boots is finding the correct size: it is crucial to carefully measure your foot, rely on the size chart provided on all product pages, and, most importantly, leave a small margin of space (to prevent your toes from touching the front during descents). If you purchase directly in a store, let the retailer advise you: they are intimately familiar with each model and can quickly find the best fit for your needs.
Tip: If you're undecided between two sizes, choose the larger one - not only will you avoid the risk of blisters and discomfort, but it will also be more comfortable to use the boots during colder seasons with thick or woolen socks.
Before diving into the selection of a new pair of mountain boots, carefully consider the types of activities you'll need them for: if you plan to focus more on hiking, light trekking, or easy off-road terrain, look for lighter and more comfortable shoes that won't overload your feet and ergonomically follow your steps and movements; if, on the other hand, you are an enthusiast of mountaineering, long hikes with heavy backpacks, or challenging terrains like glaciers or via ferratas, prefer more structured and durable models that provide stability and grip even on the toughest terrains and keep both your foot and ankle well-protected.
Consider size and model based on your foot's anatomy as well: the fit should be perfectly ergonomic, snug but not tight; for instance, if you have wide feet, look for a model that allows you to be comfortable without leaving too much space between your toes and the front - conversely, if you have longer feet, ensure that your toes do not touch the front, without sacrificing snugness on the sides.
Especially if you plan to tackle particularly rugged trails or traverse through woods and forests, it is essential to ensure that the sole is not only well-treaded, to provide maximum grip on all types of terrain and avoid unpleasant mishaps, but also capable of cushioning the foot correctly, so as not to unnecessarily strain the legs and knees during hikes.
Even if you plan to take only short and simple walks, it's always a good idea to equip yourself with waterproof shoes or boots: both to tackle bad weather or unexpected rain and to keep your feet protected from the moisture of the ground, grass, or the dampness in the air on gloomy days during the mid-season or the colder seasons.
The choice of mountain boots is also greatly influenced by the prevailing season in which you plan your excursions: if you know you'll be going to the mountains mainly in the summer, a lighter and breathable shoe will suffice; if, on the other hand, you engage in activities during the winter as well, it would be more appropriate to consider a durable and sturdy boot that protects your foot from the cold - also considering, if necessary, a model specifically designed for thermal insulation.
Consider the type of boot to purchase based on the crampons you own, making sure they are compatible: in addition to choosing between fully crampon-compatible and semi-crampon-compatible models, also pay attention to the type of crampons they are compatible with - whether the boot you have chosen is suitable for automatic crampons or only for classic ones.
This aspect particularly impacts the choice of ankle height: if you're accustomed to endurance sports and thus have a stable ankle and strong leg muscles, you won't have any issues with a low-cut shoe that allows ankle freedom of movement; however, if you're not particularly fit, aware of having fragile ankles, or recovering from an injury, it's better to opt for a higher-cut model that provides stability and support, helping to prevent sprains or injuries.