How To Tell If Hiking Boots Are Too Big?

Hiking up in the mountains is indeed both adventurous and tiring while the memories you carry are going to be immense indeed! To make those memories sweet enough to remember, you need to have the best pair of hiking boots that fit just right.

The real thing with this big boot issue is that they aren’t cheap and if you’ve mistakenly bought a bigger one, the price tag would hurt you even more! That’s the exact reason you must have extra care over the stuff that you’ve chosen to buy.

It is quite easy to tell if the hiking shoes are small as they could be easily put on and checked while finding if one is rather bigger could be a bit tough to identify unless you have done enough experiments with it.

It is often easy to tell when hiking boots are too small as you will not be able to fit your foot in but it is tricky to tell if they are too big. And for that, you might have to be more realistic with your choices and there are a bunch of ways to choose the perfect size pair for your foot.

How To Tell If Hiking Boots Are Too Big?

1. There is a lack of ankle and foot support as you tighten your laces.

There is always an extended part offered into your boots with an extended laced part towards the ankle which is meant for support and to make the boots cling onto your foot and be tightened with the help of those laces. That extended part is known as support that makes the boots hiking fit.

how to tell if hiking boots are too big

The support part is a necessity for hikers as it saves your foot and ankle part from sprains and twisting.

2. If your feet feel discomfort besides tiredness.

Well, the new pair of hiking boots would cause marks upon your foot, be it sideways, on the toebox, or all-around shoe bites. But if there are signs beyond that, which mean clot areas or blisters upon your skin, then the hiking shoes are definitely repetitively moving upon the foot and causing friction upon the skin surface that has caused skin inflammation and blisters upon it.

3. The toe hurts:

This might occur in the case of smaller boots too but bigger boots could cause you to slide forward continuously and hit the interiors, especially the toe box causing an ache in your toenails. The boots fit but are quite hurtful. This often happens with people with rather big toes.

4. Your foot keeps on shifting within the boot.

The foot needs to be rather fitting within the boots and must not slide causing any sort of friction upon the skin that might cause inflammation to your skin, be it the rear, the sideways or the toe box.

discomfort in feet if boots are too big

How Are Hiking Boots Supposed To Fit?

The hiking boots are meant to be rather fitting upon your foot to all the sides and up to any corner making as less moves as possible except for your fingers to wriggle. First, you make sure that they are firmly fitting without causing any pain to your toes/ fingers and then you could tie up your laces.

Picking the perfect fit:

1. Checking the length of hiking boots:

Well to check the length of your boots, just slide in your dominant foot and check the fit. The fit of the hiking shoes could be checked by inserting a finger into the heel area. Make sure that the fingers slide in with minimum difficulty.

The one-finger rule is just to check the expansion of your foot once it gets wet and swells a bit once you hike with it.

checking length of boot for perfect fit

2. Check the girth of the boot.

Most of us might have this girth issue. Especially if you are flat-footed, the foot flattens once you step which might take up more girth than a regular arched foot, or the sizes might not be uniform for everyone and though the hiking boots fit. Well, there are laces to solve this girth issue. If there is too much room at the side, blisters will form due to the constant sliding of your foot within the interiors.

Make sure to tighten your laces firmly before starting off your hike.

3. Try them in the evening while buying

When buying hiking shoes, always get yourself to try them in the evening after you have put on hiking boots the whole day. This makes your foot swell a bit and helps you find if the hiking boots fit, which might cause the least possible effect on your foot during the hike.

4.  Try it on with the same size socks that you intend to put on during the hike.

Try on your hiking shoes with the same size socks that you would intend to put on during your hike. Thinner socks might not last much so prefer nice quality ones.

use quality socks with hiking boots

5. Try running around with them and walking on elevated areas.

It would be great if the shop has an area with altering elevations to try on your boot. There must be minimal movement between your foot and the hiking boots.

Make sure that you buy these shoes from a physical store and avoid buying them online as far as possible.

try wearing your shoes in

Well, now you are careful enough to not let yourself buy somewhat bigger-sized hiking shoes for sure. But there is always a ‘what if?’ scenario for everything.

What Measures To Follow In Case Of Bigger Hiking Shoes?

1. Well! Put on an extra pair of socks:

The easiest way of course. Try adding an extra pair of socks (or two) t if the boot doesn’t tighten to your foot. Make sure that it fits just right into your foot and if it is still dangling try thicker socks that might help to make the perfect fit, check properly on the sides and toe box.

what to do if your hiking boots are too big

2. Tighten up the hiking boots’ laces.

Well, this could help with the girth issue. If your boot is wider or let’s say more girth than actually required you could opt. to tighten the laces instead to stop your hiking boots from dangling on your foot.

3. Use soft materials as a temporary measure:

There are tons of stuff that can be used as a temporary medium if in case the hiking boots are quite bigger than what you expect them to be. You could use any measures like;  newspapers, cotton pads, and stuff.

4. Buy insoles over choosing to buy a whole new pair of boots:

Buying an insole is the best way to remodel your shoes into a much more comfortable pair from the earlier dangling pair of hiking shoes. The insoles could be thick ones that help to maintain the length of your foot to the boot while the other ones could be insoles that are wider and help you to tighten the girth of the boot.


Well, we have had many ideas over what sort of precautions could be taken before choosing the right size boots that are meant to be worn on your hike. Besides, we discussed some hacks to use your somewhat oversized boots efficiently without causing any discomfort to your feet.

Therefore, the best option is to buy yourself the perfect fit pair without having to worry about other temporary options.


Is it okay if the hiking boots are big?

Well, it is better than having a smaller boot. But the fitter the shoes easier would be your hike. Bigger shoes would cause more movement of your foot and might cause you to hit the toe box quite often. This might result in pain in your toes and extreme discomfort as the hike continues.

How much room should you have in hiking boots?

One’s hiking boots should have exactly enough space for your foot to insert into. A little bigger size would be even better as that space would be required once your foot swells up a bit after a bit of walking. The best way to make sure that you are having the right size of the boot is to check by one finger method i.e. inserting one finger from your heel side.

What is the toe box? Should my toe touch the toe box?

The toe box is the space on the tip of your shoes that would eventually fit the fingers of your foot on the exact provided space. The toe box is a special section in your hiking boots and they are manufactured with care to your spreading of fingers while you step.

Why do toenails hurt after hiking?

The toenails hurt after hiking because they have been moving around in the insides of the boot and keep hitting the toe box section quite often. The best way to minimalize this effect is by choosing the exact size of the boot. Smaller boots are likely to cause instant discomfort and bigger ones make you slide your foot and hit the toebox.

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