Q:

How can I stabilize a bad ankle while hiking?

I'm vacationing at Purcell Lodge in B.C. this August and I need a comfortable boot that will give enough support for the Canadian Rockies. I will only carry a light day pack. I have twisted one ankle and even broken my foot (not a hiking-related accident) so I definitely need stability. Thank you for your help; it is greatly appreciated! Leigh Ann Arlington, TX

Jul 29, 2005
Outside
Outside Magazine

Asolo Echo Boots

A:

You need to do two things, Leigh. One, find the right boot. Two, stabilize that bad ankle past what a boot—any boot—can do.

As for the boot, you’re looking for a light hiker that offers reasonable support and good traction. Lots of choices there. Asolo’s Echo boots ($100; www.asolo.com) are just the ticket: light, reasonably breathable, with good traction. An over-the-ankle design also offers more support than low-cut hikers. For a little beefier boot that’s still very comfortable for day-hiking, try on the Montrail Solitude II ($140; www.montrail.com). These have the advantage of one-piece leather uppers, a more durable, more weather-resistant design than boots that are pieced together from several bits of material. And, the Solitudes are fitted on a women’s last, meaning they’ll fit better than some boots that are sized for women but not really designed for women.

I really don’t think you need waterproof boots (the Solitudes already are very water-resistant), but if that seems appealing to you, Zamberlan’s Micron GT Hiking Boots ($150.00; www.zamberlan.com) have a Gore-Tex liner to keep just about any water out—unless you step in over the boot tops!

None of these boots, however, will hold your ankle in place if you really start to roll over on it. So buy a good-quality brace, such as the Swede-O Inner Lok 8 ($45; www.swedeo.com). It’s a lace-up brace made of non-stretching material, so once it’s on and secure, it’s almost impossible for the ankle to rotate sideways. And it will fit under most footwear (not all—buy a brace, then shop for boots). Several models resemble this one, so don’t hesitate to try a different brand. But it must be a lace-up brace made from Cordura or similar tough material; a stretchy, elastic brace won’t cut it.

Filed To: Hiking Shoes

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