Just as hiking boot vary greatly from very lightweight to midweight to heavyweight, so does the fit. It’s important to know how to get a good hiking boots fit. Generally speaking, the heavier the boot, the more crucial the fit.

Lightweight trail shoes/boots are usually a combination of split-grain leather and synthetic mesh. They are a great choice for both novice and experienced day hikers because they require little or no break-in time.That doesn’t mean getting a good fitting pair isn’t important, it just means that a perfect fit isn’t as crucial as it is with heavier boots for backpacking.

My son Daniel recently hiked the 220-mile long John Muir Trail. He started out with an expensive pair of rugged boots that he THOUGHT fit correctly and THOUGHT were broken-in. But ouch! Blisters! Twenty miles into the journey he switched to a pair of brand-new Merrell lightweights right out of the box and completed the hike to the top of Mt. Whitney without any fit or foot issues.

To get a good fitting pair of hiking boots, use these five tips. The shoe fits if:

1. You have room to wiggle your toes, but the boots won’t be so loose that you feel like you’re floating in them. Tightness in the toe box can eventually lead to extreme discomfort later on, especially when hiking down steep hills.

2. Your heel won’t slide up and down when you walk, and stays put without feeling pinched.

3. You should be wearing the type of socks that you’d wear on the trail. This helps ensure a good fit.

4. You’ve tested several pairs already, even though the pair you choose may have been the first you tried on. It’s a good idea to get a feel for fit from several different boots.

5. You’ve walked around in each pair through the store and up and down an incline (most shoe stores that carry hiking boots have these).