@JSM thanks for reaching out for advice on hiking boots!
As @Dad_Aint_Hip suggested, because footwear is such a personal and important fit, we also recommend either setting up a free virtual outfitting appointment or visiting your closest REI store (if possible) for a hiking boot fit.
With that said, we do have a few thoughts to consider:
- Sometimes, adding an insole to a shoe/boot can help with low back pain...in addition, an insole and/or a stiffer shoe/boot can help minimize the amount of flex required from the joints in your feet, which can be more comfortable for someone with arthritis in their feet
- In terms of cushion under the ball of your feet, Hoka, one of the footwear brands we carry, is known for the cushioning in their boots and shoes in general, so that might be a brand to consider
Once you figure out fit, which is the hard part, the waterproof request is pretty easy, as we carry lots of hiking shoe and boot options that are waterproof!