When you’re shopping around for a good quality pair of hiking boots, you’ll face all manner of different decisions. What color do you want? What fit do you want? What style do you want? You’ll also come across all manner of abbreviations which relate to the features the shoes have.
If you have no idea what these abbreviations mean, how are you supposed to know whether you need what they’re about or not? Yes, buying hiking boots can be a complicated process.
The truth is, it’s certainly worth familiarizing yourself with the different styles and types of hiking boots out there, because that way you can make the best decision based on your personal circumstances. One abbreviation you’ll see time and time again when shopping around for hiking boots is something called GTX.
What on Earth does GTX mean?
GTX stands for Gore-Tex Lining. You might also see V or GV when shopping around. The V stands for a Vibram outsole, and the GV means a Gore-Tex lining with a Vibram outsole. Still as clear as mud?
What is a Gore-Tex Lining?
Firstly, a Vibram outsole is designed to absorb pressure and shock when walking over different terrains, while also being more resistant to wear and tear. The Gore-Tex lining relates to the inner portion of the boot, so it is really referring to the fit, the comfort, and the durability of your boots, all within one feature.
While you don’t need to go down the line of Gore-Tex if you really don’t want to, because these are going to cost you a little more, it is certainly worth the investment if you are an avid hiker or walker.
When walking over any type of terrain, you’ll be well aware that you’re likely to come into contact with water, mud, and all manner of rather dirty and wet conditions. In order to overcome this, without your feet becoming wet and uncomfortable, and without ruining your boots, a Gore-Tex lining fits the bill.
Gore-Tex linings have a longer life, they are comfortable, and they give you all-weather protection. In terms of the major plus points of hiking boots, that pretty much ticks every box required. The Gore-Tex lining isn’t an insole, and it’s not a coating, it’s actually something altogether more complicated. It is actually a membrane.
The Gore-Tex lining is made of a membrane of very thin polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE for short), and this has been expanded to cover the surface area of your shoe. This material is home to more than 9 billion pores in every square inch of the shoe, and that should tell you a lot about breathability and how waterproof it is.
Many shoes will claim to be waterproof, but Gore-Tex’s waterproof ability really lasts for the duration of the shoe’s life. The other plus point is that hiking boots with this feature are going to be warmer than those without. This is an ideal point when you’re out walking in wet conditions and cool, or even very cold temperatures, even in snow.
Finding the Right Pair of Hiking Boots for You
Finding the right pair of boots can be a time consuming process; it’s almost like trying to find your ideal partner in the walking world. You need shoes which are not only comfortable, but durable too.
You need them to offer support in the places where you require it, and you also need them to be as waterproof and warm as possible. It is certainly a good idea to consider GTX when buying hiking boots, as you’re really ticking off several boxes all at one time.
You’re going to have a huge amount of choices to make before you pair yourself up with your ideal hiking boots, so it’s vital to shop around.
Remember to always try the boots on and never simply buy without. Different boots have slightly different fits and remember that our feet expand whenever we’re doing any type of physical exercise, or in different temperatures.
For that reason, it’s a great idea to go boot shopping later in the day or in the early evening. This means your feet will have expanded to the amount that is likely to occur when you’re out walking or hiking, and the fit will therefore be more accurate and comfortable over time.
Blisters and pain are certainly not pleasant parts of hiking and can easily be avoided by taking the right amount of time, to find the proper fit.