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Spending a lot of time outdoors means your everyday runners or basic hiking boot won’t last and certainly won’t be comfortable for hardcore outdoor adventures. For those who spend more time outside than in and do so in all kinds of weather, finding the right footwear (you’ve already found the right laces) is essential.

So how do you find the right footwear for your adventures? Here’s a bit of a primer:

1) First they need to be comfortable while also being right for your activity level

2) For day hikes or infrequent trips, hiking shoes and hiking boots are great, but for heavy loads, serious terrain and challenging weather, go for backpacking boots or mountaineering boots.

3) Leather is durable and offers great water resistance but requires time to break in before long trips. Synthetics are lighter, break in quicker, but wear out more quickly.

4) Know your size, but try boots on at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest.

5) Try boots on (and wear them) with the right socks. Socks that are too thick or too warm can make for wet feet that slide and are prone to blistering.

Don’t forget to wear your boots several times before going on a trip. Nothing sucks the fun out of new footwear like the pain from not breaking them in. Happy Hiking!