QUESTION: I’m trying to decide between the men’s size 8 or the women’s size 9 of the Salomon Quest 4D hiking boot, and am having a hard time seeing what the difference is between them. Do you know if there is any kind of difference, other than the men’s boot weighs a few more ounces?
Excellent question, Carolyn!
Generally there are more noticeable differences between the men’s and women’s version of a hiking boot, but in this case they are very similar.
The most important difference between men’s and women’s boots are the “last”, the form that shoemakers use to create the fit and style of the shoe or boot.
Historically, almost all hiking boots, and mountaineering boots in particular, were made on men’s lasts. Now companies have realized that women’s feet are different from men’s, and many are using women specific lasts!
For the Salomon Quest 4Ds, I don’t know if they are using a women’s specific last on their boot. Comparing the length and width of the soles is a good start, but also be sure to take out the insoles and compare them.
The general differences between Men’s and Women’s hiking boots:
- Last size. Men’s boots are usually made on a larger last, to account for the additional size and volume of a man’s foot.
- Weight. Men’s boots usually weigh more.
- Higher ankle support. Usually the men’s version comes up higher on the ankle.
- Colors! Designers tend to make men’s boots earth tones, and recently they’ve started to add some unique colors to women’s hiking boots!
The most important thing for you is fit. Generally I recommend that women wear women’s specific boots, but if you have a particular foot shape that makes the men’s version more comfortable for you, go with that!
The best thing to do would be to test each of them on a moderate distance hike, as long as the store you bought them from has a return policy that allows dirty shoes to come back! Otherwise, wear them on carpeting – walk up and down steps to mimic hiking hills, and see if you notice a difference.
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