How to Choose the Right Size of Hiking Boots?

How to Choose the Right Size of Hiking Boots?

Do you want to get new hiking boots but aren’t sure which size to choose? Also, when you buy your hiking shoes on the internet, there is always the anxiety that they do not fit well. Even though the size differences between different manufacturers tend to be narrower now, taking 1/2 size or 1 size above your usual size may work………….. or not.

There is no specific standard for the right size of hiking boots: each brand manufactures its boots according to its target consumers from different regions, which will not be the same depending on whether the manufacturer is French, Italian, German, English, American, etc.

Here I will discuss the method that will allow you to reduce the risk of getting the wrong size when you cannot try on a shoe in the store.

How to Choose the Right Size of Hiking Boots

Let’s see how to choose the right size of hiking boots step by step…

Hiking boots sizes

We have all heard sentences like when hiking, you have to take 1 size more than with city shoes or other precepts sometimes good, sometimes bad. Plus, these truths are often those of a bygone era (very stiff shoes, sock allowance, and slightly tight manufacturer size ranges).

Today, manufacturers of hiking boots are making great efforts on the sizes they offer and go to the half-size, even often up to a third of the size. The advantage of this precision is that you can have hiking boots that are perfectly adapted to your foot size. The downside is that each brand can have size and size grid shades.

This imposes only one method for choosing the size of your hiking boots: measuring your foot. This is the best way to have a factual element of comparison and to bring it closer to the charts of the different brands of hiking shoes.

Measure your longest foot

To measure your feet, the ideal method is to have two people. Take a large sheet of paper, a pencil, and a tape measure or a graduated ruler. Place your sheet on the ground by wedging one of its edges against a wall. If possible, tap it to the ground so that it does not move.

Sit barefoot, straight, with your foot flat, heel propped up against the wall. The other person will be responsible for making a mark on the end of your big toe or the longest toe if you have another that goes further. Do not draw this mark by yourself because you will have to bend down and your foot will move.

Next, measure the distance from that mark to the end of the sheet, in a straight line and at a right angle to the edge of the sheet. This will give you the length of your foot.

You can do this measurement on your right and left foot but always remember the longest one. Usually, there are no big differences, but sometimes some people can see a few not-inconsiderable millimeters on one side or the other.

Choose your boot size according to your foot length

In general, there is a correspondence table between the sizes advertised by the brand and the length of the foot. You should find this kind of information for most hiking and walking shoes on the market. If this information is not present on the model’s sales page, all you have to do is request it to find out the appropriate size for the model you are interested in.

It is always advisable to have a small space of about ten millimeters between the inner heel of the shoe and your own heel, open shoe. This space is calculated for the standard thickness of a sock and a certain comfort. Brands include this space in their correspondence table and you don’t have to add anything to your foot measurement.

With the length of your foot, you are between two sizes recommended by the manufacturer, it is always preferable to take the size just above. With ½ or ⅓ intervals of measurement as there are currently this will not make shoes too big for your feet.

On trial, put on your shoes with the walking socks you usually use. Try your shoes on with the thickest pair you normally put on. Lace up your shoes as if you are going for a hike and walk for at least 30 yards so that your feet are well-positioned. This is only how you will feel if there is any discomfort or comfort.

Do not hesitate to go down or up a few steps to check that your foot does not stumble painfully during these phases. Normally you should be comfortable after a few minutes and feel if it is the size of hiking boot you need!

What types of socks?

Of course, the type of socks you choose will directly influence the precision and/or comfort you are looking for. To date, there are no “miracle socks” that meet all needs and all uses (in hot weather, in cold weather, thin, or thick, etc.). It all depends on the composition.

If you can try on your hiking shoes in a store, you must therefore remember to take the pair of socks that you will use most often. This makes it possible to verify the exact volume of the available boot.

In the case of an online purchase, if the measurement of our foot is between two sizes, and we plan to wear medium to thick socks, as well as a support sole, we will not hesitate to take the size just above.


As I said earlier, The foot measurement method and size charts aren’t always foolproof. But a method that reduces the risk of shoe size errors when ordering hiking boots by mail order or online shop.

To be precise, you have to make sure that you wedge your heel against a wall and stand up straight. If possible, you should get help from a second person so that they can hold the ruler at the end of the foot, perpendicular to the sheet, and then draw the line corresponding to the actual size in mm of your foot.

I recommend removing the sock liner supplied with the shoe and putting on a real support sole: our feet and our bodies will thank us for it. When in doubt, it is better to anticipate a hiking shoe that is a little too big (you can always wedge your foot with a thicker insole) than a shoe that is too small and definitely offends on the descent.

Thanks for reading!

If you need any additional information, you can ask your question in the comment section below.

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