5 Reasons Hiking Boots Hurt Your Ankles!

Why Do Hiking Boots Hurt My Ankles

You can’t overemphasize the importance of quality gear to cope with the rigors of hiking. The mental drain is extraordinary, but perhaps the feet take the most beating.

Hiking boots need to be sturdy yet give comfort and support to the feet. It’s no good if your hiking boots hurt your feet.

Good hiking boots should protect your feet and ankles from the impact on trails. So, what does it mean when hiking boots hurt your ankles?

Hiking boots hurting your ankles when you hit a trail points to poor ankle support. Hiking boots should extend slightly above the ankles, unlike regular sports shoes. That’s so the ankle stays in place despite the motion during walks and impact from the ground. Less movement at the ankle means less pressure, thus, less pain.

Besides the ankle support you get from your hiking boots, your choices can also hurt your ankles. But don’t worry because you’ll get to know all about that in this article.

Read on to learn why hiking boots may hurt your ankles and how to avoid such instances.

Why Do My Ankles Hurt When I Wear Hiking Boots?

Why Do Hiking Boots Hurt My Ankles

Your ankles may hurt when you wear hiking boots because they have poor ankle support. But that’s not all there is to it, and that’s where the hiker comes in.

Choosing the wrong boot size or socks, poor lacing, and wrongly placing the boot’s tongue can hurt your ankles. So, it goes beyond just getting good hiking boots.

We’ll now discuss in detail why your ankles may hurt in hiking boots and what mistakes you shouldn’t make.

#1. Wrong Boot Size

You will lack proper protection from your hiking boots if they’re too small or too big. Hiking boots that are too small will tighten the grip on your feet and ankles alike.

That’s a good invitation for sores and all sorts of pains. Also, there’s too much space between the feet and walls of hiking boots when they are too big.

In that case, the feet will be hanging loose and so lack the cushion to reduce impacts from trails. The loose part of the boots will also put more pressure on the ankles.

Getting the size of hiking boots that suit your feet saves you trouble. So, avoid going for just looks, but ensure you’ll get the best functionality from your boots.

#2. Incomplete Break-In Period

Most new shoes take time to soften around the edges and become comfortable. How long that takes to happen is the break-in period, and it varies with shoes.

Interestingly, some shoes have the slightest need for break-in, which you can count out altogether. But it would help if you didn’t assume that for hiking boots.

You may feel discomfort with your hiking boots for the first few miles. But the boots will feel better on your feet after that period.

So, if you just bought your hiking boots, go for short walks to help the break-in period. After that, check to see if the boots still hurt your ankles.

With every walk you take, you should feel relief on your ankles and feet.

#3. Poor Lacing

The laces on your hiking boots can trouble your ankles if you don’t fit them properly. That happens when you make the laces too tight or use a poor lacing system.

Your feet will experience more pressure than they should, added to the impact from the ground. That pressure also extends to the ankles.

Also, your ankles can hurt when you have the wrong laces on your hiking boots.

#4. Poor Tongue Placement

The tongues on hiking boots ought to extend outside the boots. If you miss that, the tongue will fall back into the boots and push down on your feet.

Your ankles will feel extra pressure from the tongues as they push your feet in the opposite direction.

#5. Wrong Choice of Socks

You’ll find yourself in deep waters on a hike when your socks are too thin or too thick. Socks that are too thin offer no support to your feet and are less comfortable.

Then, socks that are too thick starve the feet of air and put extra pressure on your feet and ankles. That’s something you can only cope with for a short time.

We just discussed why your ankles might hurt when you wear hiking boots. So you should take note of the ones peculiar to you and avoid them.

How Do I Keep My Ankles From Hurting In Hiking Boots?

Checkmating possible reasons why your ankles may hurt in hiking boots is the best solution to the problem. But mind you, that wouldn’t guarantee total freedom from pain.

The truth is that ankle injuries are widespread on hikes, and keeping them at bay is a long shot.

Taking precautions will, however, reduce the chances of the occurrence.

Below are steps to keep your ankles from hurting in hiking boots.

#1. Complete the Break-In For Your Boots

Stiff hiking boots will do you no good on your hiking trips. But all you’ll get in return will be tears and blisters. So ensure to go through with the break-in period for any boots you get.

#2. Wear Appropriate Socks

Ensure that the socks you use in your hiking boots are not too thick or thin. It’s best to go for socks with minimal thickness. Wool is usually the best material for hiking socks.

#3. Place Tongues Properly

Always ensure that you draw out the tongues on your hiking boots fully. Don’t let any part of it fold and fall back into the boots. That will inconvenience you a great deal.

#4. Get Your Boot Size Right

You should always ensure that your hiking boots fit your feet well. That’s a priority, even if you have to get the boots online. You can only test them after buying.

But it’s also possible to initiate a return if your hiking boots need fitting after you get them.

#5. Get Proper Laces

It’s vital to use proper laces on your hiking boots and a proper lacing system. Ensure your laces are not too thick or heavy; they’ll make your feet uneasy.

Lacing your boots should turn out differently than tying a sack of potatoes. Keep it plain and simple. It’s less of the aesthetics and more of the functionality here.

#6. Take Breaks During Hikes

Resting at strategic points during your hikes can help to ease the pressure on your ankles. That also allows you to catch your breath and observe the terrain.

You can have chats during the break if you’re moving with other hikers. It could also be a food break if you packed some supplies.

#7. Use Trekking Poles

Trekking poles offer hikers extra support and increase their balance. That serves to ease the pressure on their feet and redistribute it down the poles.

So with trekking poles, both your arms and feet will handle the impact from hitting trails.

Applying the measures above will help you limit how much your ankles hurt from hiking boots. Though very long hikes will most likely overrun any precautions.

How Long Does It Take to Break In New Hiking Boots?

You may need a few hours or up to four weeks to break in new hiking boots. The time you spend to break in hiking boots differs across the brands.

Some boots may feel great on the first wear, but you may need weeks to get that feeling with others. How long the break-in lasts depends on how your feet feel in the hiking boots.

It’s best to prolong the break-in period until your feet are comfy. So, feel free to give your hiking boots a couple of runs at home before you hit any trails.

You can even walk in them or wear them to the mall. But it’s vital to start with short distances and increase the distance bit by bit.

That way, your feet can ease into how the boots feel. It’s not a crime to hit a trail immediately after you get new hiking boots. That’s okay if your feet feel at ease and the boots aren’t stiff.

How do I Pick a Size of Hiking Boots?

It would be best if you used the length and width of your feet as a guide to choosing hiking boots.

Please avoid the school of thought that says bigger is better with hiking boots.

The myth is that you should leave extra space in your hiking boots since the feet swell on hikes. That sounds logical, but the reality is far off from that expectation.

Having oversized hiking boots will make your feet slide more than they should. Also, the increased friction will leave you with more soars and blisters.

Place your feet in the boots when possible and push them to the front. After that, ensure there’s no space behind your feet as well.

Then look to the sides and ensure that there’s no space there. But lacing can cover up for excess space by the width.

Yet always ensure to get the checks right. Once you find hiking boots that fit and are comfortable, grab them!

However, you can use a sizing chart to get your boots’ size if you order online. First, measure the length of your feet, then see what size it comes up against.

Sometimes people may have one foot longer than another. In that case, you should use the longer foot length to get the size of your boots.

Below is a sizing chart for hiking boots that matches foot length against the boot size.

Foot Length (mm)Boot Size

Final Thoughts

Your ankles may hurt when you wear hiking boots because they lack good ankle support. But some of the hiker’s choices can also pressure the ankles and hurt them.

Wrong boot sizes, incomplete boot break-in, poor lacing, and tongue placement can trigger ankle injuries. But avoiding such mistakes will limit the chances of such injuries.

Josh Matthews

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