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Seeking advice on hiking boots

I am not much of a hiker and haven't had hiking boots in a long time. Am planning a trip to Asheville this winter and will be taking short maybe 2 miles hikes several days in a row. Am looking for a comfortable, waterproof boot that is cushy under the ball of the foot - no pressure as I have a neuroma, and comfortable in the heel as I have had plantar fasciitis in the past. Also, are certain boots better for low back pain/arthritis?  Otherwise, I am very healthy! Thanks for any suggestions. 

2 Replies

Proper shoe fit is so important. I deal with planter fasciitis so my shoe selection is also critical to my enjoyment of hiking.

I would recommend signing up for the virtual outfitting service here and have someone trained and familiar with the products help you select the right pair.

Just know that you may end up having to try a few different brands/styles before finding the ones that fit you.

Good luck!


“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@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 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!

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