A lot of hiking boots are offered in wide and regular, but not narrow sizes. Unfortunately, this means that people with narrow feet have to purchase regular hiking boots that are often too wide.
Having said that, you can make hiking boots that are too wide fit you better with certain lacing techniques. If that doesn’t work, you can try adding an insole or two pairs of hiking socks. Down below, I’ll explain how to make wide hiking boots fit your narrow feet.
Hiking Boot Lacing Technique For Narrow Feet
Use this lacing technique if the hiking boots feel narrow along your whole foot. The main idea here is to do no more than 3 crisis-cross patterns within the whole shoe and to always loop laces from inside to outside. It helps you tighten the hiking boot slightly more compared to typical lacing techniques.
- Do the first loop from the outside to inside
- On the second loop pull the laces outside without crossing them
- On the third loop do a criss-cross pattern from inside to outside
- Skip the fourth loop
- On the fifth loop do a criss-cross pattern from inside to outside
- Finally, do the last criss-cross pattern and finish off with a knot
- If your hiking boot has fewer or more loops, you can skip other loops in the middle or don’t skip any loops, as long as you have 3 crisis-cross patterns in total
Hiking Boot Lacing Technique For Narrow Heel
Use this technique if your heel is slipping up and down, and you can’t tighten your shoe any further.
- Tie all the bottom loops normally, except the last 3 ones
- Do a surgeon’s knot, which will separate the bottom part of your shoelaces from the top one and let you have a looser bottom while having a tight ankle
- On the second to last loop, loop the laces inside-out
- On the last loop, tie the laces outside-in without crossing them, to make a new loop on each side
- Then loop each lace on the opposite side through the loop you just made, tighten it all together, and finish off with a knot
You Should Consider Wearing Two Pairs Of Hiking Socks
Wearing two pairs of socks increases the total volume of your feet inside your hiking shoe, so if you have some room left in your toebox, you can try wearing two pairs of hiking socks. A lot of hikers actually use this technique to increase warmth, comfort, and reduce blisters.
Usually, this method is achieved by wearing a thin liner sock and a thicker outer sock. The inner sock should be made from polyester or nylon and spandex, to keep your feet dry and provide a tight, slim fit. The outer layer should be made from merino wool fabric, which is breathable, soft, and also wicks away water. Just don’t wear cotton socks, as they usually result in blisters. I personally use the Silverlight Merino Wool hiking socks, and I haven’t been experiencing any blisters with them.
You Can Try Adding An Insole To Your Hiking Boot
Another technique, that is even better for people with narrow feet compared to wearing two layers of hiking socks, is to swap their regular insole with a thicker one. This reduces the total volume of the boot, while not making it shorter, so your toes won’t be touching the toebox.
Depending on how narrow your feet are, you should get a high-volume or a medium-volume insole. The high-volume one will take up more space in your shoe, which will hopefully stop your feet from moving around within the hiking boot.
In terms of the insole type, you’re looking for something that lifts up the volume within the whole shoe, not just the heel. Look for an insole that has support not just under the heel, but also under the arch.
You also ideally want to get insoles that are meant for hiking, running, or any other sporting activity, rather than casual, everyday insoles. They will generally be stiffer, but that’s actually a good thing because too-cushioned insoles may cause your feet to move around the shoe and get blisters.
For hiking, the most popular insoles by far are made by Superfeet. For narrow feet, the Superfeet Green high-volume insoles will be a good fit. I’d say that getting the more-expensive Superfeet insoles are worth it, but if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, then the Plantar Fasciitis High Arch insoles are also a good option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which are the best hiking boots for narrow feet?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any hiking boots specifically made for people with narrow feet. However, there are certain hiking boots that run narrow.
The best narrow hiking boots are usually considered either the Asolo Fugitive GTX or the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor 2 hiking boots. They’re both made by reputable brands, they’re really comfortable, and their typical sizes run narrow. Another, more budget-friendly option is the Vasque Talus at Ud hiking boots, which also run narrow and are of superb build quality and comfort.
Which brands make narrow hiking boots?
Some hiking footwear brands “run narrow”, which means that they’re usually a bit narrower compared to other hiking boot brands. These include La Sportiva (an Italian mountaineering/climbing/outdoors gear brand), Asolo (an Italian mountaineering and hiking footwear brand), and Vasque (an American hiking footwear brand).
What’s better for narrow feet – hiking shoes, boots, or trail runners?
Although properly-fitting hiking shoes and trail runners will also be a good choice, hiking boots will allow you to get a more narrow fit around the ankle, due to more lace hoops around the ankle area.
However, if you choose a well-fitting trail runner or hiking shoe or fit it with a high-volume insole, then they should also work for narrow feet.
Personally, I prefer trail runners myself because they’re the most comfortable to wear, they’re super breathable, and also much lighter. Hiking boots offer the best ankle protection and they’re better for hiking on rough terrains. Hiking shoes are something in between trail runners and hiking boots – plenty of protection and comfort, but not as lightweight or breathable as trail runners.
I would recommend you go to an outdoor gear store and try all three, to see what works best for you specifically.