4elements Logo

Hiking boots | Four elements

hiking boots categorised A–D

These boots are made for walking!

It may sound obvious but having happy feet on a hike is one of the ground rules to having an enjoyable experience. However, knowing what you need in terms of footwear is maybe less obvious and with a wide range of footwear for all manner of outdoor activity- how do you know which is the right shoe for you?

In Germany, hiking boots are roughly categorised into an A – D system. Here is our general breakdown of the categories and what you should look for:

A – Hiking shoes

Features:

  • Lightweight
  • Low-cut (no ankle support)
  • Very flexible soles
  • Some may be made of goretex or a waterproof material

Ideal for:

  • For everyday walking, paved routes, easy day-hikes
AB – Day hiking boots

Features:

  • Lightweight
  • Mid- to high cut ankle support
  • Flexible soles
  • May be made of goretex or a waterproof material

Ideal for:

  • Day hikes or backpacking with a light or little load
  • Prepared and well-trodden hiking routes
B – Hiking boots

Features:

  • Sturdier
  • Higher cut and stable ankle support
  • Stiffer soles with a good profile
  • Leather/ goretex / other waterproof material

Ideal for:

  • Multi-day hikes with heavier load
  • Higher alpine terrain and easy snow field crossing
BC – Trekking boots

Features:

  • Sturdier
  • Higher cut and stable ankle support
  • Rigid soles
  • Leather/ goretex / other waterproof material

Ideal for:

  • Multi-day hikes with heavy load
  • Via ferrata
  • High alpine terrain, snow fields
C – Mountaineering boots

Features:

  • Rigid boot
  • Higher cut and stable ankle support
  • Rigid soles
  • Leather/ goretex / other waterproof material
  • Sole compatible with some types of crampon

Ideal for:

  • Difficult trekking and high alpine tours
  • Via ferrata
  • High alpine terrain, snow fields
  • Glacier tours
D – Extreme mountaineering boots

Features:

  • Extremely rigid boot
  • Higher cut and stable ankle support
  • Absolutely rigid soles
  • Leather/ goretex / other waterproof material
  • Sole compatible with some types of crampon
  • Certain models have extra padding for warmth

Ideal for:

  • High altitude trekking tours with climbing in mind
  • Glacier tours
  • Difficult mixed terrain tours

For our hiking events and tours we recommend a category B - C boot.

TOP TIPS FOR BUYING HIKING BOOTS
  • In store: As well as good advice, trying on hiking boots before a purchase is an absolute must for getting the right fit
  • Take time: Leave plenty of time for the boot-buying process, you will want to walk around in the store for a bit, compare models and fits. Many stores have sample terrain areas for you to trial the shoes
  • Go in the afternoon: Your feet swell during the day, giving a more realistic impression of how the boots will feel a few hours into hiking
  • Bring your own: Bring whatever you would normally wear on your feet whilst hiking to get the most realistic fit and feel too- whether that's your usual hiking socks or orthapedic insoles
  • Staying loyal: If your last boots were a great fit, it is likely that the cut of that brand is a good fit for your foot and makes life a little simpler. However, it’s still worth trying another brand for a comparison
  • Break them in: Wear them around the house, office, to/ from work in the time leading up to your first hike to get your feet used to them
Contact
4elements UG
Follow 4elements
Subscribe

Get our top tips, latest news and offers!