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How We Tested Hiking Boots

By Ross Robinson ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Friday
To test the products in this review, we hiked, backpacked, and camped through the forests of Minnesota, the California coastline, the Eastern Sierras around Lake Tahoe, and the canyons and volcanoes of southern Peru. Hot, dry, and sandy desert trips, muggy fall days, canyon river stomping, and cold volcano summits were all included. We hike right down to the Pacific Ocean, up to 19,000 feet, and everywhere in between with no packs, light packs, medium, and heavy backpacks. Pretty much only wearing hiking boots for three months, we also wore these when exploring urban areas by foot, too.

Testing out the purchase on varying degrees of inclination on dry rhyolite.
Testing out the purchase on varying degrees of inclination on dry rhyolite.

We weighed these contenders on our own scales, measured the collar heights and forefoot widths, timed their drying speeds. We also poked and prodded at the seams, twisted the soles, soaked them in our backyard creek, and fussed with the insoles. Our traction tests had us carrying all thirteen boots for long distances in search of the perfect locations. Finally, we polled our hiker and climber friends to find out how they wear out their boots, and why they are devoted to their favorites. Our award winners received lots of praise, and we gained valuable insight into the durability and best uses for each product we tested.

Finding excellent hiking company while hiking through a massive canyon system in southern Peru!
Finding excellent hiking company while hiking through a massive canyon system in southern Peru!


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