The Guys Guide to Buying Rugged Trail Boots

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The Guy's Guide to Buying Rugged Trail Boots

There are boots, and then there are rugged trail boots. These sturdy boots are designed to be worn for hiking in rough terrain, and are constructed to be durable and to offer the wearer the necessary support required for faster movement along ungroomed paths. Trail boots can be worn for hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing, hunting, and other outdoor activities. Rugged trail boots provide excellent support for ankles to help prevent sprains, and the necessary traction required for clambering over wet boulders. When shopping for rugged trail boots, a guy should consider the terrain he plans on tackling. For low intensity walks along groomed trails, a lightweight trail shoe should suffice. A midweight trail boot is called for when climbing up steep inclines and hiking muddy paths. The serious hiker who prefers going off the beaten path should be wearing a pair of heavyweight boots. Regardless of the terrain or the activity, a guy can find the widest selection of rugged trail boots on eBay.

What Are Trail Boots?

Hikers wear trail boots while traversing rough and uneven trails. Rugged trail boots are beneficial to hikers for a number of reasons. Trail boots are very sturdy and made to be stiff at the bottom to provide feet with exceptional protection against sharp rocks, stones, and thorns. A good pair of trail boots that fits well prevents the formation of blisters. However, the number one reason why an avid hiker needs a good pair of trail boots is for the superior ankle support they offer. It could be potentially life threatening for a hiker to suffer a broken or sprained ankle with cold weather closing in.

The vast majority of trail boots are made of leather. They are breathable and come with waterproof linings. Although the lining may be termed waterproof, it still cannot compare to rubber boots for keeping hikers’ feet dry. Some rubber lace-up boots can be worn for hiking, however they are not the best choice for hiking due to the fact that feet are not able to breathe and can sweat excessively and this can cause blisters and fungal infections. For this reason, rubber boots are rarely used for hiking. Although leather trail boots are more expensive, they are still the best option.

When shopping for a new pair of rugged trail boots, a guy should know about the terminology used to describe the different parts of the trail boot.


The top of the boot, or the upper, provides protection to the top of the foot. The upper is created by moulding leather or other material around a frame. Different manufacturers use different materials to make boot uppers, and the most important quality of the upper is that it should provide waterproofing while still allowing the foot to breathe.

Toe Box

This is the part of the boot that surrounds the wearer’s toes and provides protection. The higher the bootweight, the more protection the toe box offers the wearer’s toes.

Heel Cup

The heel cup, or heel counter, is the part of the boot that surrounds and protects the heel. The heel cup keeps the ankle stable by preventing the heel from lifting too high in the boot while walking.

Padded Collar

The heel of the boot has a padded collar that provides cushioning for the ankle and Achilles tendon. The collar protects and shields the foot, keeping rocks and mud from entering the boot.


The tongue of the trail boot is under the laces, and is connected to the body of the boot to keep out dirt and water. The tongue is made from a soft, pliable leather.


Rugged trail boots have soles that keep the foot protected. There are three parts to a sole: the insole, the midsole, and the outsole. Each part of the sole has a specific purpose. The insole is the section that comes into direct contact with the foot, cushioning it. The insole is removable. The midsole provides stabilisation for the boot, keeping the foot supported with shanks of plastic or steel for stiffness. The outsole is the part of the sole that touches the ground, and is made from various treads, or lugs. Boot soles are often made of rubber.

Types of Rugged Trail Boots

To determine which boot is needed for specific hiking activities, a guy needs to assess the terrain, the duration of the hike, and the prevailing weather conditions. Trail boots are categorised according to weight. Lightweight trail shoes are good for walking groomed trails on summer days, while heavyweight boots should be worn when hiking challenging terrain.

Lightweight Trail Shoes

Trail shoes are used for hiking in climates where it is dry, and where there are established trails that have been groomed to be less rugged. Trail shoes are not intended for extensive hiking, but perform best for hikes that last anywhere from one hour to full day. The trail shoe is the lightest of the three types of hiking boots and is most commonly made from leather and synthetic materials. They have limited waterproofing, but on the bright side, they take much less time to break in.

Midweight Trail Boots

Midweight trail boots are intended for hikers traversing steep inclines and muddy paths. These boots are ideal for long hiking sessions that can last from three to seven days. These boots are very sturdy and are waterproof. They provide a higher level of ankle support and leg stability. Midweight trail boots have a better tread than trail shoes, and are very versatile. They can be worn for hiking on a variety of trails and are usually favoured by those hikers need a sturdier boot and a stiffer sole.

Heavyweight Trail Boots or Mountaineering Boots

The last category of trail boots provides the highest level of support for those who are hiking almost completely off groomed trails. Mountaineering trail boots are designed to be worn for climbing and provide a much better purchase on glaciers and hard packed snow. These are very strong, durable and stiff-soled boots that offer the best ankle protection when climbing or hiking on ungroomed trails. These boots have stiff midsoles and the tread is very deep. One of the disadvantages to wearing mountaineering boots is that they take a long time to break in, weigh more than other boots, and are not as breathable as lighter weight boots. But these are the boots that a guy wants when he goes off the beaten path and snow sets in.

How to Fit Rugged Trail Boots

To determine the best size boot, a guy should try on the boots late in the day because feet swell slightly during the day and this is when his feet are be at their largest. When trying on boots, a guy should try them on with the same type of socks he wears when hiking. It is a good idea to try on boots from various manufacturers because each type may fit a bit differently.

Start by putting the boot on, unlaced, and stand up so that the toes are pressed into the toe box to determine if the boot is the correct fit. After the boot is on one’s foot, slide a finger in behind the ankle with the toes pressed as far forward as possible. If more than one finger is able to be inserted, the boot is too big. If one finger cannot be inserted at all, the boot is too small. The boot is too wide if the edges over the tongue meet or are very close, and it is too wide if the edges are too far apart over the tongue or if there is extra side material hanging over the sole.

After all of the other checks have been completed, lace up the boot and walk in it. If one’s toes hit the front of the toe box, the boots are too small. If at all possible, walk for up to 30 minutes with the boots on as this can weed out any problems that might be experienced from wearing the boot. Before wearing new trail boots on the trail, it is a good idea to wear them around the house for a few days to begin breaking them in.

How to Break In Trail Boots

Before wearing any rugged trail boots out on a difficult trail or a long hike, the boot must be completely broken in to ensure that no blisters or sores form from wearing them. Wearing one’s boots around the house for several days helps to break them in. The process can be helped along by using leather conditioners to help soften stiff leather. If at all possible wear a pack of the same weight that would be worn on the trail while breaking in boots on several hikes prior to the planned hiking trip.

How to Care for Rugged Trail Boots

Taking care of one’s rugged trail boots is essential to ensuring that they last for a long time. Apply a waterproof treatment to all new boots before wearing them on the trails. Many kinds of waterproofing solutions are available, from water-based to wax-based products that keep the boot protected when it gets wet.

Clean each boot carefully after hiking by brushing away all dirt or other material and washing the boot carefully with soap and a rag. Mud has a tendency to leach moisture from leather, making the boot break down faster. The waterproofing layer also deteriorates.

If one’s boots becomes wet, dry them at room temperature, not by heating them, because excessive heat weakens the leather and the glue used on the soles. After the boots are completely dry, use a leather conditioner on the boots.

Because a truly well-fitting pair of boots is something that takes time and effort to find and break in, it is important to take the time to properly care for a pair of rugged trail boots.

How to Find Rugged Trail Boots eBay

Whether you are looking for a sturdy leather boot with a deep tread or lightweight trail shoe, start your search at eBay’s home page.. Simply type keywords into the search bar that describe the trail boots you are looking for. If you have a specific brand in mind, you should include the brand name in the search phrase. For example, if you type ‘Merrell trail shoe’ into the search bar, this action takes you to a results page with listings for all the Merrell trail shoes currently listed on eBay. You can specify the gender, and then sort the listings by size, upper material, colour, and more. If the seller has not identified the size of the boots, you can go to their member profile page and click on the contact link to ask for more information. If the style is not listed in a UK size, you should consult an online shoe size conversion chart. To learn more about the seller, simply go into their profile and note their feedback score. Those sellers who have earned high praise from previous buyers are referred to as eBay top-sellers. You can sort the results page to only show listings by eBay top-sellers.


Each type of rugged trail boot is specifically designed for certain types of trails and terrains. When a week-long trip to the mountains is on the agenda, choose a pair of heavyweight mountaineering boots and a hiking backpack. For a low intensity two hour hike, a pair of lightweight trail shoes and a lightweight sports day pack should suffice. Trail boots are available in a variety of styles, weights, colours and materials. A guy should choose a pair of trail boot that offer sufficient support to his ankles and legs, while keeping his feet dry and protected. Boots with leather uppers are a good choice, because they allow the feet to breathe. However, leather boots need to be cared for properly or they can start to deteriorate. A guy should allow sufficient time to break in his new boots before heading out on a weekend hike. Trail boots that have been broken in correctly are more comfortable to wear and don’t cause blisters. Outdoorsy guys can find the widest selection of trails boots, hiking accessories, and camping equipment on eBay.

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