Wearing a pair of insulated hiking boots when the trail suddenly turns to the frosty north for the cold can be extremely hazardous. Unlike regular, over-the-knee hiking boots, these boots will keep your soles toasty even in the coldest winter months. You will need a good pair of boots that will keep you warm and dry. A heavy-duty pair of hiking boots is a necessity for mountaineers, bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Insulated boots are a great choice for chilly outdoor activities. If you want to keep your feet warm, your feet should stay dry, and this can be accomplished by insulating your feet. In the past, footwear was as much a fashion statement as it was a practical necessity. Men and women alike wore extremely baggy, ill-fitting shoes that didn't offer much in the way of insulation. Thanks to improvements in insulation technology over the last few decades, mid-calf boots are now a popular option.
Insulated boots provide improved comfort because they help keep your feet warm while they're on your feet. This is primarily due to the increased length of the leg. By increasing the width of the toes, the added length provides improved grip on icy surfaces or slushy surfaces found in many recreational sports. In addition, the extra length also helps prevent blisters from developing because of constantly rubbing against the sides of the boots. Properly fitted toe-cups and socks also help keep your feet warm.
Mid-calf boots offer a variety of benefits. For one, they tend to be lighter than their full-length counterparts. Because they offer a shorter boot, they are often easier to lace up and quickly retreat in if you come face-to-face with cold weather. Also, insulating materials such as polyurethane lining and rubber fill offer superior warmth and insulation compared to traditional leather and suede boots.
Insulated hiking boots offer numerous benefits when compared to standard footwear. The majority of brands make available a three-level temperature rating system for their products. A high-temperature rating makes the boot extremely insulating, but it's important to realize that you won't experience the same benefit if you choose a lower temperature. Generally speaking, you will probably remain warmer under a high-temperature rating boot, but you may not feel as insulated beneath a lower temperature rating boot.
Another benefit of Insulated Hiking Boots is the increased ankle support. The majority of regular hiking boots offer little to no ankle support, which limits the flexibility of your ankle. Insulated boots, on the other hand, feature reinforced toe and heel sections to prevent slippage which can easily lead to an injured ankle. Additionally, winter hiking boots tend to offer less ankle support due to the added thickness provided by the insoles.
Lastly, you will likely find better insulation and breathability in a winter boot versus a regular hiking boot. Regularly used items such as fleece and wool are much harder to insulate, so the insulating properties of a winter boot are usually reserved for higher temperature ratings. Insulated boots will provide the same level of warmth without adding additional weight.
The final major difference between regular hiking boots and Insulated Hiking Boots is the boot's midsole. A midsole provides the traction needed to help you get through uneven and slippery terrain. The majority of insulated boots feature a properly cushioned and highly cushioned midsole for improved traction on all types of surfaces. Also, a properly cushioned and highly cushioned midsole will provide excellent ankle support to reduce injuries and increase your ankle's lifespan.
Insulated boots are typically made out of a mixture of materials such as Gore-Tex, rubber, and canvas. Each of these materials provides its own unique benefits, and it's important that you choose a boot with a midsole that matches your specific foot type. For example, if you have very sensitive and thin feet, you should go with boots that feature primarily rubber or canvas in the midsole. This will give you a more comfortable fit and allow your feet to breathe when the temperature outside is cold.
A popular way to compare boots is to look at their insulation. If you plan on long hikes in cold weather, you should be looking for boots with high insulation counts. High insulation counts will allow your feet to absorb the sweat that you produce during your workout, which will help you keep your body temperature optimal. The best insulators are made from materials that are breathable, like cotton and wool, but some of the more advanced insulations, like Gore-Tex, have been improved and are much more efficient at trapping heat and warming the air around your body. In fact, many people prefer boots with an extreme level of insulating material because it creates a much warmer and more comfortable boot that actually feels much colder to the touch than traditional insulating materials like cotton or wool.
Other features to look for in boots are the combination of gaiter rings and toe picks. gaiter ring/toe picks allow you to tighten the boot as you hike because the heel will be so close to your toes that you won't have to take your shoes off every time you take a step. In addition, the combination of gaiter rings and toe pick is great because you can easily change your boots depending on the conditions. Some people like to switch from their insulated boots to their regular hiking boots, and then they put on waterproof, breathable rain boots.