Two backpackers walking towards a lush valley.

The proper backpacking boots are considered one of the most crucial pieces of equipment needed to make a trip successful. Due to the extreme conditions that backpackers face, the right pair of boots is even more important than it is for the more casual day hiker. Proper boots help to keep feet dry and free from blisters and possible infections as well as just making the trip more enjoyable. Here are some features to keep in mind when choosing mountaineering hiking boots or backpacking hiking boots.

Ankle Support

Ankle support is one of the most important features of hiking boots, especially if you are doing an extended trip or challenging day hike. Shoes with stiff ankle support help keep your feet from twisting on uneven surfaces when hiking on rough terrain.

Water Resistance

Most mountaineering hiking boots are made of full-grain or nubuck leather for maximum durability as well as dirt and water resistance. To maintain the water-resistance of your backpacking hiking boots, be sure to condition them once a season.

The Salomon Men’s OUTward GTX Backpacking Boots are an example of an excellent choice for mountaineering hiking boots. Special features include a gusseted tongue, molded EVA for comfort, waterproof with a Gore-Tex© lining, and a split-grain leather upper.

Now that you have an idea of proper backpacking boots, here’s how you maintain the waterproofing qualities of the boots.

How to Re-Waterproof Backpacking Boots

Maintaining your waterproofing is important to keeping your feet dry and to potentially prevent injury. Follow these tips to help maintain your waterproofing on your boots.

  • Most treatments are made for full-grain or nubuck leather boots.
  • Avoid wax treatments if you want the option of resoling your boots because wax impairs the ability of the adhesive to bond the new sole.
  • If your boots have a waterproof membrane such as Gore-Tex©, no treatment is needed in those areas.
  • Clean your boots to prepare them for waterproofing
  • Soak water through the entire thickness of the leather (briefly running them underwater isn’t enough)
  • Waterproofing treatment steps vary, so be sure to follow the instructions.
  • After waterproofing, do not use a heat source to dry them. This will produce dry patches and crack the leather and thus defeating the purpose of the waterproofing treatment. Allow them to air dry in an area with low humidity.

Have more questions about waterproofing your boots? Or, do you need more info on how to have the best hiking adventures? Come visit us online or in-store at your local Sun & Ski Sports.