In the Store: Finding the right hiking shoe is like choosing a mate: You'll be sorry if you settle for anything less than perfect. Remember, it's all about fit, so keep trying on different brands until you find The One. » Shop at the end of the day, when your feet are a bit swollen, and try on shoes with the socks you plan to hike in. » Walk up and down an incline board (a quality shop will have one) to check for heel-slip and toe-bang. » Fine-tune fit and support with aftermarket insoles.
In the Field: To prevent blisters, air your feet during rest breaks, change into dry socks midway through a long day, and choose breathable shoes for warm conditions. » If a hot spot develops, treat it immediately with duct tape or moleskin.
At Home: Treat leather with conditioning agents from Nikwax or Granger's. Even shoes with waterproof liners should be treated to preserve the leather. » Clean dirty shoes to prevent seams and fabric from damage, and dry them slowly in the sun.