SmartLast Fit Testing for Hiking Boots

The evolution of Hiking Boot fit is bringing better comfort for all customers—whether they are on the trail or ‘hiking’ through an airport or city street. Footwear brands are always asking us the keys to the most comfortable hiking boot fits—and now we’ll share them with you!

The Pinky Toe Problem

Tightness on the pinky toe is a leading cause of discomfort. Pinky toe fits in hiking boots are 30% tighter than running shoes. This is easy to fix. One common cause of tight pinky toes is bad locations of stitch lines and toe caps.  If your boots have tight pinky toe, start your inspection where the pinky toe would be in your shoe (~75% of shoe length). The toe cap and any stitch lines should be at least 5mm away of where the pinky toe lands in the shoe.

Pinky Toe Stitch LIne

Example of a shoe with no stitching on the Pinky toe (L) vs too much stitching (R)

Lock Down with Effective Lacing

Lace Up for Low tops! Mid cut and low top hiking boots increasingly popular on the trails. However, many people complain about bruised toenails and blisters in these styles. The key to securing feet in mid/low tops is lacing pressure over the instep (navicular) region. Having well placed eyelets and laces that don’t stretch or loosen is important. And whatever you do—don’t use ghillie lacing! While ghillie lacing is commonly used in hiking footwear, it is very difficult to get secure lock down with these laces.

Good Lacing and Bad Ghillie Lacing

Example of good lacing with secure fit (L) and ineffective ghillie lacing (R).

Hiking brands usually keep a style in production for multiple seasons/years. A bad fit at product launch will haunt you with bad sales and bad reviews! Ensure your hiking boot exceeds your customer’s expectations by quantifying your fit with SmartLast. Follow this with sufficient fit/wear testing with testers using a variety of hiking socks. Contact [email protected] to guide you to hiking fit nirvana!