Like most of us, I wore traditional hiking boots when backpacking or going on scenic day hikes. I would wear normal sneakers or sandals in the car to and from the trailhead, and after miles of hiking in my traditional boots my feet were both sore and uncomfortable.
Was this normal for my feet to feel this way after hiking in my traditional hiking boots? Unfortunately, sore, uncomfortable feet is very common when hiking in traditional boots.
This is because traditional hiking boots typically have a narrow, tapered toe box with a substantial heel to toe drop (12mm on average). This raised heel and narrow toe box causes our toes to be wedged and squished together step after step. The repetition of this mile after mile causes an increased strain on the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in our feet.
So, what are the benefits of ditching traditional hiking boots and going with a pair of wide toe box hiking boots like Lems for your next adventure?
First, a major improvement in foot comfort. With Lems natural foot shape design and spacious wide toe box, your toes will no longer be squished and jammed together step after step. Depending on the terrain and length of the hike, your feet may still become fatigued, but not nearly as much as with traditional boots.
Second, better balance. With a wider toe box hiking boot comes better balance, as your toes are now allowed to spread out and provide stability. Pair a wider toe splay with the minimalist features of a lower stack height boot, and you are now closer to the ground and have a lower center of gravity.
Third, with better balance comes a reduction in injuries. Now that your center of gravity is lower and your toes can provide better stability, your chances of rolling your ankles drops significantly. Wide toe box hiking boots also reduce your chances of ingrown toenails and intermetatarsal neuromas.
Fourth, improved toe alignment and foot health. Hiking in a wide to box boot actively encouraging your toes to realign to their natural position since you're no longer squeezing the toes together within a compact space. This improves the blood flow to your toes, reducing toe numbness in the long run.
Therefore, for your next day hike or backpacking trip do yourself a favor and try wearing a pair of the Lems Boulder Boots or Lems Trailhead hiking shoes. Your feet will thank you.