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Can you help me dial in the fit of my boots? One foot fits great, the other isn't there yet.

I bought a pair of La Sportiva Nucleo boots 2 weeks ago.  I've got 20 miles in them just hiking, and another 35 with a 30lb pack on.  I'm training for a 70 mile trip in middle September.  My pack weight is about 10 lbs light but I've been out at 9 plus miles on multiple days so the miles are similar to what my daily goal is.  I'm concerned.  I love these boots.  I have never felt as great a fit....on my left foot.  My right foot however is 1/2 size shorter but just imperceptibly wider.  It is not as comfortable.  In those 50 plus miles I do not have a blister...just a single hot spot on the right pinky I said, just imperceptible wider and hence tighter across that part of the toe box.  I have messed around with sock configurations.  a medium weight Darn Tough merino lightly cushioned sock, a light weight darn tough crew and alternatively an icebreaker light weight crew with both a Zenash compression sock or an Injinji compression sock.   All about the same.  Great fit left foot.  Cushioned but light and a good feel for the trail.  I love them....I don't want to return them as i think its my feet not the boot.  Do you have any suggestions I can try to help the fit in on my right foot?



3 Replies

Hi @willHST,

It is always tricky to get a good fit when your feet are a bit different. When boots are tight in their width, there are only a couple of options.

You could try sizing up. This may not be the best option as the wider foot is shorter, but some different lacing techniques can help compensate for that.

You could try stretching the boot with a shoe stretcher. This one is also tricky because the GORE-TEX membrane could be compromised if you try this. You may want to call your local REI, as some shoe departments have tools to selectively stretch different areas on boots. Wearing them for a longer period to break them in may help as well.

Finally, and I know you don't particularly like this option, you could try a different boot. Something like the Salomon X Ultra or the Oboz Bridger may work, and both are available in wide sizes. I hope this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@willHST  Thanks for responding to @REI-AlexT via email. We're posting it here so that the info can help others too!

"I went back to wearing a single lightly cushioned sock.  No hot spots.  So I think the width is going to work out okay.  I have an even thinner pair I can try in this regard.  Owe we I really felt the bruising above the ankle today I can’t see what’s even causing it. There is a seam in the boot at that point, but it’s not hard.   Funny you mention the Solomon, I had originally intended to buy that boot but it was out of stock in my size at the store I was at."

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@willHST  Thanks for reaching out!

There are a lot of options to help get your boot dialed in that last little bit and really have it dialed to your liking. @REI-AlexT gave you a couple of options, I'm going to add a few, and perhaps a couple of our other footwear experts like @REI-JuliE and @REI-PearlD can weigh in as well. Here are a couple other things to consider:

  • Have you thought/tried wearing a different sock on your right foot to adjust the spacing in the boot differently?
  • You can use a product like Moleskin or a Blister Kit to preemptively treat the hot spot before it starts (I have to do this on my right heel for many of the same reasons).
  • You can employ a different lacing technique in your boot to adjust the fit slightly. Check out this Expert Advice article, How to Lace Hiking Boots, to check out some ideas.

Lastly, and this is something that a lot of people don't think about, you can use all of the above ideas at different times on the trail. Your feet change shape throughout the day, particularly when you are hiking long distances. Your boots are unable to adapt similarly so you can suddenly find a hotspot developing when you're halfway into a long hike. Changing out socks, adding some blister protection, lacing your boots differently, or just taking a break to put your feet up (preferably in a cool stream if possible!) can all help keep you comfortable on the trail over many miles.

Hopefully this helps, thanks!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.