How Much Toe Room in Hiking Boots? – Quick Guide For You

Physical activity is very important. No matter at what stage you are in your life, a bit of physical activity will only do you good. It will lift your spirits, improve your health, and can even lead to new friendships.

If you ask me, my favorite type of physical activity is hiking, and I will tell you exactly why.

When hiking, you get a nice cardio workout. That simple workout will keep your health intact, help you build muscles, and even help you keep your bones healthy. It can take only a few hours of your time to get all these benefits, so I urge you to try out hiking as soon as possible.

If you have never been hiking before, you might not know the importance of having quality gear. For me, one of the most important things that you should have is good hiking boots. Choosing them can be quite a time-consuming process, but it is worth it in the end, I promise!


Today, I will tell you more about the best practices you should follow when choosing your hiking boots. You will learn how much toe room in hiking boots you need, as well as a few other key points you should be aware of. So, if this all sounds interesting, I would suggest we get right into the guide!

hiking with hiking boots

Where Should Your Toes Be In Hiking Boots?

If you are an experienced hiker, you know how important it is to have the proper fit boots. But, if you are new to hiking and are about to buy your first pair of hiking boots, you must not know how to choose the right size boots. Do not worry, I will tell you all about it!

When you need to buy boots for hiking, a good starting point is to consider where your toe is. This is important because your toe can help you determine whether the boots are too small, too tight, or not the right fit. So, you should always check the position of the toe before buying a pair of boots.

There is not a simple explanation about where your toe should be. I cannot tell you how many inches of space you need between the toe and the boot. But, it is a safe bet to have at least half an inch of free space between them!

Now that I have cleared that up, I want to share with you a few tips that will help you choose the perfect size hiking boots to buy. Here is what you need to look out for:

Swollen feet

A lot of people do not realize this, but hiking can lead to your feet swelling. The swelling will not be that big, so there is no reason to worry. It is natural for the feet to swell a bit because exercise can lead to blood flow increase and the feet swell.

So, when buying hiking boots, I recommend that you do a bit of exercise or walking beforehand so that you get your feet to swell up a bit. Then, you can determine a good width and length that will not give you any problems even when you are on a longer hike.

Use trail socks

A true outdoor enthusiast knows that regular socks are different from hiking socks. As generally larger socks, trail socks are thicker socks, and they need a bit more space within the hiking boot. That will affect your shoe size and might even lead you to buy larger shoes than you had planned on.

Trail socks are great at protecting your feet, so you should get a pair or two before going on your next hike. Most trail socks are not that expensive; they come in all sizes and with various designs. I recommend you go to a specialty store for hiking gear for the best trails socks and have the salesperson help you with the selection.

Try the toe tap test

This toe test is very easy to perform. When buying new shoes, you should put them on and keep them unlaced. Then, slide your foot as far in the front as you can.

Once you do this, you should be able to put two fingers in the back of the boot. If they fit in there, that means that your shoe size fits you well. If you cannot put the fingers in the boot, you should get a bigger boot and try the test again.

Try walking on slopes

Different types of hiking boots will have different insoles and toe caps. Once you find a hiking boot that you like, you should walk around in it and try walking on steep descents with it. If you see that your toes feel cramped or your feet feel uncomfortable, that shoe might not be best for you.

Remember that it is not about the design – with hiking shoes, it is all about comfort. You should feel comfortable throughout the hike, and the only way to stay comfortable for long is to have the right shoes. So, do not make any rash decisions and take your time to select the perfect boots for you.

Should Your Feet Move-In Hiking Boots?

Now that you know how to determine whether your hiking boot is an accurate fit for you, we can move on to a few other important tips that you need to keep in mind.

One question that hiking beginners often ask is whether they should be able to move their feet in hiking boots. While a slight movement of the foot is allowed, under no circumstance should you be able to slide your feet in the boot itself.

Your boot should have a snug fit. First of all, it should be wide enough for you to be comfortable in it. Then, the length should be right and allow your toes to have enough space. Finally, you should lace up your shoes the right way to give your feet the support they need. If you have all these things in one pair of boots, you should be able to go through your whole trip without any problems.

Hiking Shoes are Too Big

How Do You Know If Your Hiking Shoes are Too Big?

Let’s say that you bought new hiking shoes that felt great in the store but do not feel that comfortable when you get home. Is it possible that you bought shoes that are too big for your feet? How do you check if that is the case?

For one, I would like to point out that your hiking shoe size will be different from the size of your regular shoes. The hiking shoe requires a bit more space for thicker socks, extra padded insoles for more protection, and so on. So, do not worry if the size of your new hiking shoes is one you have never worn before.

Yet, there is a possibility that your shoes are too big. If you see that your feet slide and shift in the shoe, it could be too big. If you get blisters or find that your ankles hurt after wearing the shoes, they are too big.

Finally, your shoes are too big if you feel pain while going downhill. If any of these things happen to you, you should consider getting some new shoes because these problems will keep repeating themselves as long as you wear the big ones.

Should Hiking Shoes Be Tight Or Loose?

This is a trick question because your hiking shoes should not be tight or loose. They should be the right fit if you want to stay comfortable!

If you have never been shopping for hiking shoes before, I recommend that you go to some quality apparel stores where you can get help from the salespeople. They usually have a lot of measuring devices that can determine the perfect shoe length and width depending on your foot.

What I would recommend is that you find a shoe that is a snug fit. It should have half an inch of free space in front of the toe and a bit of space on the sides. It should not make your foot feel uncomfortable, it should be loose enough but still have tight squeezes and not let it slide.

At the same time, I would like to point out that shoelaces can also help you make your feet more comfortable in your shoes. When you are lacing up your shoes, make sure to leave a quarter-inch space for the foot and leg to move. Also, do a tight knot at the top, so your shoes do not often unlace on your hike.

Hiking Boots Have Ankle Support

Should Hiking Boots Have Ankle Support?

Even though shoes with ankle support can help prevent major injuries to your ankles and feet, you do not need them to hike. You can always go with some mid-cut or low-cut hiking shoes.

If you are a healthy person who does not have any problems with your ankles, you should be fine, even if you wear low-cut shoes. They might even feel a bit better because they will provide a great range of motion during hiking.

Having said that, if you have ever had ankle injuries, you should go for the high ankle hiking boots. Their sturdy design will offer you a lot more support which can be a great thing when you think of it.

Whether you will get hiking boots with ankle support or not depends on your preference. I would recommend that you get one pair of high boots that you will wear in bad weather and another pair of low cut boots that you will wear on easier trails and in better weather.


I hope that this guide helped you learn more about choosing good size hiking boots without any problems. Remember that having enough toe room is very important, as it is to have hiking boots that feel comfortable on your feet even after hours of walking.

Let me know if you know any other tips for choosing the perfect size hiking shoes you think I should have included in the guide. I appreciate your input and look forward to all your comments!

Andrew Mullen

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