Tips on how to get the proper hiking boot
Dr. Ivo F. Waerlop
Summit Chiropractic and Rehabilitation
Ideally, a good hiking boot is a comfortable one that provides the appropriate amount of support, durability, keeps your feet dry, and doesn’t cause blisters or bunions. Boots are often manufactured for ideal feet. The reality is that very few people have ideal feet. Remember, something has to flex, and if it’s not the boot, it’s going to be you! A few basic facts and sometimes, when required, the use of the appropriate orthotic, can greatly aid in the perfect person/boot fit.
First we should talk about walking gait. Normal walking can be divided into 2 phases, stance and swing. Stance is the time that your foot is in contact with the ground. Swing is the time the opposite, non-weight-bearing foot is in the air. Stance phase can be divided into 5 parts: heelstrike, midstance, when you are rolling from heel strike to having your foot flat on the ground; full forefoot load, the time right before you pick up your heel, heel lift, when your heel is coming up off the ground; and toe off, when you push off your toes for propulsion. Swing phase is divided into acceleration, when your foot is coming off of toe off, midswing, the part in the middle, and deceleration, when you are slowing down the leg get ready for heel strike.
Now, we must be familiar with some “boot anatomy.”
The Sole (also called the outsole) “The Bottom Block”
The Midsole – sandwiched between the sole and the upper
Midsole accommodates to the load imposed on it from the person and any gear they may be carrying.
The Shank – The shank is the stiff area in the middle of the shoe.
The Last – the part between the midsole and insole
The last is the surface that the insole of the shoe lays on
The Upper – the sides and top of the shoe
This is above the midsole that holds your foot on the sole. It is made of leather, nylon, Gore-Tex
The Heel Counter – the back of the upper
A strong, deep heel counter with good support is also important for motion control.
The Toe Box – should be generous enough to prevent crowding and pressure on the toes
The Insole – the removable inner footbed. They are usually made of some type of foam.
The 9 Steps to proper boot fit
1. Determine the usage of the boot.
2. Do you have problems with their feet? Where are these problems located? This will often give you clues as to problems they may have with their boots
3. Have a professional foot evaluation.
4. Determine your foot type. Do you have a low, medium or high volume foot?
5. Have your foot measured in a standing position. Measure the width of the foot at its widest point. Always use the ball length.
6. Have someone determine the flexibility of your forefoot.
7. Get new socks you will be wearing in that footwear.
8. Try on the shoes.
9. Test the boot for fit and function.
• Good heel lock
• Adequate arch support
• No pressure over the top of the foot under the laces
• Flex point at the joint
• Room in the toe box
• No pressure at cuff or gussets on shin
Walk up an incline. Walk down an incline.
If you are having problems with boot fit, or problems with your feet, consult a professional.
Drs Waerlop and Asthalter practice at Summit Chiropractic and Rehabilitation, PC at 302 Dillon Tech Center in Dillon. They cast for, dispense and modify orthotics in Summit Counties only in house orthotic lab. They have a gait lab and perform video analysis and foot evaluations. They can be reached at 513-9234.
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