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Hiking (walking) boots are footwear specifically designed for protecting the feet and ankles during outdoor walking activities such as hiking. They are one of the most important items of hiking gear, since their quality and durability can determine a hiker's ability to walk long distances without injury. Hiking boots are constructed to provide comfort for walking considerable distance over rough terrain. Boots that protect the hiker's feet and heel are recommended. Hiking boots give ankle support and are fairly stiff. A less popular alternative is to use light trainers with thin soles. Footwear should be neither too loose nor too tight, to help prevent blisters and sore feet. Hiking socks that wick sweat from the feet, provide warmth, and cushion the feet are recommended and a thin, inner sock may also help. Most hiking boots are also designed for other outdoor activities such as backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, and hunting.
There are three main types of walking footwear.
Most are constructed of leather, sometimes with a breathable waterproof lining, such as Gore-Tex. However, the shoes are not comparable to rubber boots when it comes to being waterproof and drying quickly, making it difficult to cross rivers while keeping the inside of the boot dry. Although there are rubber lace-up boots designed for hiking purposes, rubber hiking boots are not ideal for extensive use because the feet cannot breathe and sweat extensively, which can lead to foot problems such as blisters, fungal infections and trench foot. These drawbacks negate any advantage rubber boots have in keeping out external moisture. However non-rubber hiking boots are generally quite expensive and require more care. The largest hiking boot is 7.14m long, 2.5m wide, and 4.2m tall by Schuh Marke (Germany).
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