Why Do My Hiking Boots Hurt My Ankles? (Explained)

Why Do My Hiking Boots Hurt My Ankles

Developing sore feet and ankles can be very challenging, especially for hikers. And often, hiking boots are responsible for sore feet and swollen ankles. 

You can choose to replace the boots, but you also need to know why the boots are hurting your ankles to choose better. 

A tight fit is a significant reason your boots can hurt your ankles; also, if you’re tying your laces too tight, the boots can hurt your ankles. Additionally, if your boots are new, you may need to break them in to get that snug fit. 

Hiking boots are the most important thing you need on the trail, so keep reading to find out how to prevent hiking boots from hurting your feet and find the perfect hiking boots.

Is It Normal For Hiking Boots To Hurt The Ankles?

Why Do My Hiking Boots Hurt My Ankles

Hiking boots should be comfortable around your feet and ankles, especially as you’ll have them on for a while and navigate steep slopes.

It isn’t normal for your hiking boots to hurt your ankles. If that’s happening, it could be a result of any of the following;

#1. Wearing Incorrect Socks

Wearing thin socks with your hiking boots can cause pain around the ankles, as the socks will make the hiking boots slip around. 

If the socks slip around constantly, it will cause blistering and irritation around the ankle. If the socks are too thick, that could also cause a lot of pressure leading to ankle pain. 

So, the socks you choose should be just right, not too thick but not too thin either.

#2. Physiology

In some cases, it may not be a problem with the boots, and it could result from changes in your physiology.

That is especially likely if you’ve been hiking long and suddenly start experiencing pains in your ankles, joints, and muscles.

The pain could be in one foot at a time or both. In that case, you may need to visit your orthopedist. They can recommend boots to suit your feet or advise you on actions.

#3. The Shape of Your Feet

Feet sizes are universal, but feet shapes are a whole different matter. If you wear a pair of hiking boots that have a much different shape than your feet, it can cause you pain. 

And since your two feet also have different shapes, one foot may hurt more than the other. If that’s the case, you’ll have to get custom boots to avoid hurting yourself. 

#4. Wearing The Wrong Size of Boots

Many people buy boots that aren’t their exact size, especially online shoppers.

And if you wear too tight boots, your ankles will undoubtedly hurt. Always get the correct pair of boots for yourself.

You can ask the store attendants for help if you need more clarification on the right size. Hiking boots should not hurt your ankles or any part of your feet. 

If your boots are causing you pain, you can find information below on why your ankles may be hurting and how to tackle it.

Cause Of Ankle PainRemedy
Your hiking boots are the wrong sizeAlways shop for the correct size of boots. 
Wearing incorrect socksDon’t wear extremely thin or extremely thick socks. 
Lacing your boots tightlyDon’t apply too much pressure when lacing your boots. 

Should Hiking Boots Be Tight Around The Ankles?

Hiking boots should not be tight around the ankles or anywhere else; your hiking boots should have a snug, comfortable fit.

Wearing tight hiking boots can cause ankle pain and make your feet swell, especially if you have them on for a long time. 

And with tight hiking boots, when your feet swell after a long day, you’ll be very uncomfortable.

Hiking boots should have a snug fit around the ankles, sides, and heels, but the toes shouldn’t be too snug; there should be at least half an inch of wiggle room. 

If your hiking boots are tight around the ankles, when you put on a pair of socks, the boots will become even tighter and cause irritation, pain, and swelling.

So, when you buy hiking boots, measure the length, width, and arch length of your feet. Also, you can have a specialist assess your foot volume to ensure you get a good fit. 

Why Do Your Ankles Hurt In Hiking Boots?

When engaging in activities that stress your feet and legs, like hiking, you need to exercise caution to prevent permanent injuries.

So, once you notice any issues, it is best to figure them out and fix them.

For example, if you notice that your feet hurt when you wear hiking boots, there could be various reasons. 

#1. The Laces Are Too Tight

The most likely reason your feet hurt when you put on your hiking boots is that your laces may be too tight. You could hurt yourself if you tie your laces tight around your ankles. 

#2. Tucking Your Pants Into Your Hiking Boots

Another mistake hikers make tucking their pant legs into the boots and then tying the laces. The pants will create a pressure point around your ankles if you do that.

Also, ankle socks with thick seams can have a similar effect. They can make the boots tighter around the ankles and cause some discomfort. 

#3. Heavy Hiking Boots

Furthermore, if your hiking boots are weighty, that can cause pain in your ankles, knees, and hips. So, if you have a pair of heavy boots, it might be time to replace them.

#4. Improper Fit

If your hiking boots are too tight, walking up and down slopes in them is a recipe for disaster. Since there is too little space in the boots, it will severely limit the movement of your feet.

And if your feet can’t move freely, that will cause abnormal walking gaits and affect how your ankles should function.

#5. Boot Collar Design

The design of your boots can also be a factor in your painful ankles. For example, if your boots have a low cut, they can improve the movement of your ankles. 

But, if you have a pair of high-cut boots, they can make your ankles less flexible and reduce their function in your ankles. The pressure gets worse when you have them on for a long time. 

How Do You Prevent Your Hiking Boots From Hurting Your Ankles?

Many hikers have experienced the discomfort of wearing boots that don’t quite fit and hurt their ankles. 

But there are ways that you can make your boots hurt less.

#1. Break in Your Hiking Boots Before You Go Hiking

Always break in your boots before you wear them on a long hike. To do that, you can wear them for short walks and maybe around the house.

But don’t buy a pair of new boots and immediately wear them for a long hike. That can cause you pain.

#2. Don’t Lace Your Boots Too Tightly

Lacing your boots too tightly can cause them to hurt your ankles. 

It’s always better to tie your laces loosely instead of tying them tightly; that way, there won’t be too much pressure around your ankles.

#3. Change Your Socks Along the Way

You can change your socks halfway through the hike, especially if you’re hiking long distances. 

During a hike, if your feet are sweaty, your socks will begin to slip inside your hiking boots.

Just stop for a bit; maybe when you take a break for snacks and water, you can change into a fresh pair of socks. Always remember to take a Ziploc bag for the old pair.

How To Find the Perfect Hiking Boots For You?

If you wear the wrong hiking boots to the trail, your ankles may hurt for a few days or weeks. So, to enjoy your hikes, you need to have the perfect hiking boots.

You may have a nice comfortable pair of shoes when shopping or on picnics. But, more is needed on a hike. 

Choose a pair of shoes or boots made especially for hiking. These will serve you better. 

Secondly, the boots should not be tight. It will help if the boots have a snug fit at the heel and sides, but the toes should have at least half an inch of room for you to move them.

When shopping for shoes, put them on and try wiggling your toes a bit to ensure the fit isn’t too tight.

When shopping for shoes, always put quality and durability ahead of beauty, fashion, and style. No one will be bothered about your shoes on the trail. 

Good hiking boots should withstand all kinds of weather because they are made of high-quality materials. 

Also, choose boots with quality insulation so your feet can stay warm even if the weather becomes cold. Finally, go for waterproof shoes in the case of rain and snow.

Always get the width of the heel right. If you have wider feet, but you get a narrower pair of shoes, you may get blisters along the soles of your feet. 

Josh Matthews

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *