Q:

Which hiking boots work best for a narrow foot?

I have low-volume feet, and my Vasque Sundowners just died after 12 years. I have visited every outdoors store in town, and I just can't find a good hiker that actually fits. I tried Vasque, Kayland, Scarpa, La Sportiva, Montrail, Asolo, and even a few others. Nothing. Any suggestions? Greg Portland, Oregon

May 23, 2007
Outside
Outside Magazine
LL Bean Cresta Hiker

Cresta Hiker

A:

Oy, you do have narrow feet! You mention a lot of shoe makers that are known for boots that fit as many feet as possible.

Still, you do have a couple of decent choices. If your Vasque Sundowners were a boot you liked, then what you’re after is a midweight boot for day hikes and light backpacking. Fair enough? If so, then you might take a look at L.L. Bean’s venerable Cresta Hiker in the all-leather version ($179; llbean.com). These are a classic, high-cut hiking boot, great for backpacking but perfectly fine for a day hike. And they come in widths, including B for narrow feet. So you might find that these work great. I have moderately low-volume feet myself, and I find the regular width in the Cresta fits me just fine.

A shoe that doesn’t come in widths but has a narrow fit is the La Sportiva Halite ($150; sportive.com). Sort of a mid-height boot, the Halite still has good support for heavier trekking, plus a Gore-Tex liner. It’s very light and nimble—you’ll feel like you have ballet slippers on. Try La Sportiva’s Trango Trek GTX ($170) as well. I have a pair of the somewhat similar Trango S Evo GTX ($285) and find them comfortably narrow. Both are built on the same last.

You also can pursue different fitting strategies. Look for boots that use Euro sizing, such as Scarpa and La Sportiva—I know, you already have—as those offer smaller increments in sizing. Also, don’t be shy about trying a woman’s boot. They are built the same as the men’s boot, but on a narrower last. I, the most-macho Gear Guy, wear women’s ski boots because they often fit me better than men’s.

Lastly, try after-market retrofits, such as replacing the stock insoles with ones from companies such as Superfeet. Superfeet Orange Premium Insoles ($40; superfeet.com), for instance, are specifically designed to sop up extra space in boots and shoes. So if you find a boot that’s “close," then a little tweaking with Superfeet might get you where you want to be.

Check out Outside's picks for Gear of the Year and 400-plus gear reviews in the 2007 Summer Buyer's Guide, on newsstands now.

Filed To: Hiking Boots

More at Outside

Not Now

Need a Gear Fix?

Open email. Get latest gear. Repeat.

Thank you!