You’re jumping between tabs eyeing up a new pair of hiking boots, and comparing them to running shoes. The concept of ANKLE SUPPORT is slapped on pretty much every pair of hiking boots, but the question remains – do hiking boots provide ankle support?
Hiking boots do provide ankle support, but there’s a catch. It works best if you already have ankles that are strong and healthy. But that’s not to say they are without their benefits, they absolutely provide support for your whole foot.
Is Wearing Hiking Boots for Ankle Support a Myth?
The answer? It is and it isn’t. Myth is a strong word to use, but the ankle support in hiking boots isn’t QUITE as good as many companies claim. The concept of excellent ankle support is more about boosting boot sales than actually adding something beneficial to you.
Now, if you have healthy ankles, you’re in for some good support. Hiking boots do offer some ankle support, after all, but not for those with dodgy weak ankles.
If you have suffered a previous injury or you have naturally weak ankles, then sorry to say the boots alone aren’t going to be enough for you.
But the good news is we have more information below to help with that.
Hiking boots do have a semi-rigid top that goes around the ankle. This helps to keep you sturdy and try to prevent injuries if you trip or lose your balance.
However, they are not guaranteed to keep you from hurting your ankles if you’ve got clumsy footwork.
Hiking Boots Benefits for Your Ankles
The idea of ankle support might be a little touch-and-go, but that’s not to say they are without benefits. After all, they do still offer you some form of support while on the trail.
The padding at the top is one of the most essential parts of hiking boots. You will find that it is semi-rigid to keep your ankle straight, and the padding is there to cushion your ankle bone and make things more comfortable while you walk.
Nothing worse than bone-against-boot.
They help to STABILISE your ankles too. If you’re like me and have feet with a mind of their own, you know the struggle of falling over all the time while hiking (embarrassing, right?).
The support in the top of the boot helps to straighten the ankle and try to prevent painful twists and falls.
Rough terrain can be a real problem when you are wilderness hiking, and while hiking boots don’t guarantee you won’t injure yourself, they do improve stability and reduce the risk of injury if rocks or earth suddenly move from under you and cause you to fall.
Steps to Help Prevent Ankle Injuries
Prevention is the best medicine, and working to actively avoid ankle injuries is better than solely relying on your boots. There are a few steps you can take to help prevent ankle injuries.
#1 Good Footwear. Pretty obvious, but you don’t want cheap and flimsy hiking boots, make sure you are investing in good quality ones that offer some ankle support. Check out our helpful guide to finding the best walking boots.
#2 Lace Right. If you’re experiencing ankle pain it’s probably down to how you’re lacing your boots. It’s not a serious injury, but it certainly puts a damper on your hike and the sores caused by rubbing can take a while to heal.
There are several different lacing methods that you can try out – and the video above from Trekkit should help you to figure out which one is going to work best for you.
#3 Take it Slow. Don’t rush into your hikes, start small and gradually make them longer over time. This builds strength in your ankles while also helping to avoid too much strain that could lead to an injury.
#4 Brace Yourself. Investing in an ankle brace is a massive help if you already suffer from weak ankles or have had an injury in the past. They are COMFORTABLE to wear and discreet, strengthening the support offered while also helping to prevent injuries.
This brace here available from Amazon is a great option and very reasonably priced too boot 🙂
#5 Go Pro. Speaking to a professional physio can be a good option, especially if you are concerned about potential injuries. They can offer you a great deal of support as well as a series of daily exercises that will help to strengthen your ankles over time ready for hiking.
To start off, you could try some of the great advice offered by James Dunne who is a rehab specialist based here in the UK
#6 Warm Up, Cool Down. Before you head out on the trail, take the time to do warm-up exercises so that your body is stretched and ready for the journey ahead. When you get back, you can perform a series of cool-down exercises to reduce soreness and the risk of injury.
Here are a few pointers you should be following, but we have also written a handy guide on injury prevention stretches that you can perform before and after your hiking trips
Can you wear hiking boots every day?
Absolutely, you can wear hiking boots every day. They are a really comfortable footwear choice, but you should keep in mind that the tread will wear out faster with regular use. On the plus side, they offer plenty of support for your feet to keep you going every day.
Can you run in hiking boots?
Definitely, you can run in hiking boots. They won’t do your feet or ankles any harm, but they are not recommended for regular running. This is because they don’t offer the right support for running, especially long-distance, and so dedicated running shoes are best for this task.
Why do hiking boots hurt my ankles?
If your hiking boots are hurting your ankles they are likely laced too tight or too stiff. The stiffness can be easily rectified by breaking your boots in – which means you just need to go for more walks in them. You should also wear thick socks to prevent ankle rubbing from the boots.
Your hiking boots will be able to provide you with ankle support, but if you already have a history of weak or dodgy ankles then you are going to need to consider some additional measures to keep yourself safe and help prevent injuries.
That’s not to say hiking boots aren’t without their benefits. They do still provide support for both your ankles and your feet as a whole, and they are exceptionally comfortable for long distances. All you need to do is make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to avoid ankle injuries.
If you need some help finding the best hiking places, we have created this guide.
A seasoned camper and hiker, there is nothing he doesn’t know about the Great Outdoors. Hiking alone, with friends, or even little ones, he’s done it all. A trained survivalist, he gives Bear Grylls a run for his money.