Hiking Boots for Narrow Feet?

I have narrow feet and am having a hard time finding a pair of hiking boots that fit well. As a result, my heel slips and rides up when I hike uphill. Any suggestions for hiking boots for narrow feet and how to prevent heel slippage?
-Pat, Durham, NC

ANSWER: Sorry to hear that! I have narrow feet too, so heel slippage is something I’m unfortunately very familiar with.

Hiking Boots for Narrow Feet?

My Asolo Stynger's resting during long backpacking weekend...
My Asolo Styngers are my personal favorite narrow hiking boots.  My low top favorites are always from Vasque.

First, be sure you buy hiking boots for narrow feet – certain brands run narrower than others, such as Teva (for water shoes), Vasque (for hiking shoes) Asolo (for hiking boots), and La Sportiva (for mountaineering boots). Others run very wide, so just make sure you start off on the “right footing” by sticking to the narrower brands.
My personal favorite boots are my Asolo Styngers, which you will see all over this website!


In addition to having shoes that are designed for narrow feet, use insoles (if you aren’t already). I like Superfeet (my review on Superfeet is here). The insoles will fill up the heel of the boot and help a bit with slippage.

Use Proper Lacing Techniques

Finally, and very importantly, make sure you are lacing your boots properly. There is a special lacing technique for people with narrow feet. Check out my pictures below. Please excuse the dirt on my well used (but loved) Vasque Kota hiking shoes 🙂

Step 1:

After lacing up toward the top of the hiking shoe as normal, loop the lace through the last hole as shown in the picture.

hiking boots for narrow feet
Step 1: Make a loop

Step 2:

After you’ve made the loops, thread the remaining shoelace through the opposite loop, as shown in the picture. Then tighten the laces.

hiking boots for narrow feet
Step 2: Thread the laces through the loops

Step 3:

Next, tie as you normally would. Double knots are helpful so your laces don’t get undone!

hiking boots for narrow feet
Step 3: Tie as normal and double knot the laces

Step 4:

Finally, you’re all set! In conclusion, this lacing technique will help keep your heel in place. Good luck!

hiking boots for narrow feet

Additional Info on Hiking Boots for Narrow Feet

Furthermore, if you need some additional help with narrow foot issues, be sure to watch my short instructional video of how to lace hiking boots to prevent heel blisters and my article on boot shopping tips.

Happy trails!
Hiking Lady

Do you have a question for the Hiking Lady?


  1. Hiking Lady says:

    For those readers who are willing to travel to the United Kingdom to get a pair of narrow hiking boots, here’s a detailed tip that Hiking Lady reader Erica emailed to me:

    I have size 44 extra narrow feet (this is US size 11). I discovered and visited Whalley Warm and Dry in England, near Manchester. They sell Alt Berg boots which come in 5 widths, including extra narrow, for every size. Not only that, after making careful measurement of various foot dimensions and a video display of the pressures on your feet while standing, they find the best boot for you and then CUSTOM STRETCH as needed to fit your foot’s idiosyncrasies. I have never had a boot that didn’t slip at the heel before, or press on my bunions. Worth the trans-Atlantic trip, and hiking in England is so much fun anyway.

  2. Hiking Lady says:

    Thanks for the update Katie! Sounds like the Lowa Lady Sports are working fairly well for you given the conditions you’ve been working in. Too bad that the thorough soaking made them unusable. What do you think you’ll do? Get a new pair or try to stretch them?

  3. Katie says:

    Lowa Lady Sport update:

    The California autumn got a little rainy, and my Lady Sports experienced a thorough soaking. After taking the insoles out, opening them up, and letting them dry (away from a heat source), the inside leather lining separated from the outer leather lining, and shrank quite a bit. I can no longer get my feet all the way inside of my boots… I’m sure I could possibly stretch them out again, but that seems like a pretty lame option if this is going to happen every time they get wet.
    They were pretty comfortable before that, though they had a little bit of a break-in time. The rubber around the toe started to come off, but I’m really hard on my boots (I was working in post-burn forests all summer), so that might not be a normal issue…

  4. Ari says:

    Many of the boots mentioned here are no longer available. So I went to REI and I discovered La Sportiva’s Trango GTX boots. They are a wonderful fit on my narrow feet, when used WITH SUPERFEET INSERTS. Without the inserts, there’s a bit of wiggle room and they aren’t as wonderfully cushioned/comfortable. The laces go way down towards the toes, making the fit more adjustable than with most boots. I’m trying out the mountain running shoes as well. Will let you know how that goes.

  5. I am a size 6.5 2A — but often go up to 7 2A for running shoes or hiking shoes. My feet are also completely flat — so very “low-volume.” I have an orthotic, which helps take up some room. I bought La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor Trail Runner last year — primarily for travel in Scandinavia that included a lot of day hiking. They work VERY well for me. They are a “trail runner” so not good for any serious hiking, but day hikes without much weight on your back — try these!

  6. Katie K says:

    Hi all! I have super exciting (well, I think so) news!
    For the past few years I have been wearing the Lowa Renegade, which comes in a narrow. I have always found it to be a well-fitting boot (for my AAA feet , plus Superfeet insoles), that did its job well… for about a year, when it would basically fall apart (I’ve had a couple of new pairs, thanks to the one year warranty). For occasional day-hikers this boot is great! But I needed a sturdy boot for work (I do various types of field work) and play. I was just about to give up, thinking that saving up for custom boots was my only option…

    BUT, LO! Lowa JUST started making two women’s trekking boots IN NARROW! The sizing is slightly different (I wear a 10.5 Renegade, but a 10 Lady Sport – both are EU 42 1/2), but the narrowness of the width is the same.

    I JUST took my Lady Sports out for their first jaunt today, so I can’t comment on durability in the long run, but they were super comfortable! I was worried that the leather lining would make my feet sweaty, but I read that they might actually be better than GTX. While I was only out for a couple of hours, my feet stayed dry! Traction, grip, and flexibility all seemed amazing!

    The burlier, leather-lined Lady Sport

    The GTX lined Vantage (these seem to be out of stock at the moment that I’m posting this)

    I hope this helps some of you! If they seem like they’re going to hold up, I’m going to buy a second pair… Just in case.

  7. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Carolyn,
    I am so glad that you found this article and comments helpful! Unfortunately I don’t know of any CSA approved boots in narrow, but perhaps someone else will and share their findings in a comment. That’s great that you’ll be able to find some narrow hiking boots now. Thank you for reading HikingLady.com! Happy trails!

  8. Carolyn says:

    I can not begin to explain HOW EXCITED I am to find this site!!!!! I have suffered for years with narrow feet and poor fitting boots. I work as a landscaper and am in workboots 12-14 hours a day. Years ago Terra ( a Canadian company) used to make narrow ones but a company takeover eliminated that style. In the past 7 years or more it has been impossible to find narrow safety boots! And trust me I have tried all over Canada. I may live in the smallest province of PEI but I have taken my search nationwide! Even talked to boot makers to see about custom made boots but unfortunately due to the standard width & size steel toes and the footwear lasts used to shape the boot, they are unable to make them in my size 6 narrow womens! The kind sir that helped me said he deals with this all the time and HE was frustrated for me…lol. I use the standard insole and then ad my New Balance I Motion insole for extra cushion and arch support.(unfortunately these are no longer available and I`m on my last pair:(
    I never had bunions befor but now it seems I have ones starting and I feel it is from having too wide of a toe box, and when I am working on slopes & grades I am forced to angle my feet to grip into the sides of my boots to hold my balance while running gear or equipment. It is ridiculous the hoops we have to jump through to try to find CSA approved boots. I recently bought a pair at Marks Work Wearhouse and although they are marked a medium width they are definately a wide width. With two pairs of socks on I could STILL slide my foot out of the boot with them fully laced up! The sales person had the nerve to say Oh well…maybe try an extra pair of socks!“ ….So in desperate measures and needing a pair now, I tried the pair that were new in their box and had not been tried on. They were better but still not great. I bought them out of necessity but after two days of wear the cushioned sides and tongue have settled and now i am up to three pairs of socks from the original two and have also added an extra insole to snug the boot. it STILL slips on my heel. As snug as i try. with the lace tip tricks and all my heels are still slipping. Not to mention how hot my feet get from my 3 pairs of smartwool socks!
    Please, if anyone knows of CSA approved safety toe and plate boots that are made in a narrow width for a womens size 6, please please please let me know! I am at my wits end.
    (although I am very excited to find this site and now find some narrow boots to hike in. as I love to walk and hike but have had the worst luck in finding narrow boots!) Keep up the great posts. I am so very very thankful for finding this site and all the amazing advice it contains. Thank you and keep up the great work 🙂

  9. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi DS, have you checked out this article I wrote about the Best Insoles for Hikers? That may be a good place to start. I realize custom orthotics are expensive but may be worth it for you so that you can get back on the trail.

  10. DS says:

    I am a woman with size 12 narrow feet, long, bony, moderately high arch. I’ve searched the various brands you’ve mentioned, but I can’t a satisfactory one in my size. I generally use a custom orthotic from my chiropractor, but they are expensive. I need a certain amount of heel cushioning that Superfeet don’t seem to have. Would welcome suggestions for an insole as well. Thnx!

  11. Coreezee says:

    It is almost impossible to find narrow hiking boots – I wear a 10 or a 10.5AAAA shoe. After a 20 mile hike a year ago where I ended up losing both big toenails (had to have surgery on one and it is just now finally recovering) because my hiking boots did not fit correctly I tried many different pairs of hiking shoes/boots and finally found one that works – it is the Asolo Ember – I have them in 10.5 and wear padded hiking socks and they are great! I hiked 9.5 miles last Sunday (the most I have done in over a year because of the toe problems) and I had no foot issues! Super comfortable and fit well!

  12. Longblades says:

    I anyone has feet as narrow as mine can you post what you found that fit? I’m a size 9 for length, 5A toe and 8A heel. That’s right, toes are AAAAA and heels are AAAAAAAA. If you have the same number of As regardless of your length I’d really like to know what fits you.. Boots that merely tend to fit narrow just don’t cut it and there’s only so much you can do with insoles and socks or fancy lacing. I’m in Canada where for some stupid reason there are NO narrow width hiking boots so I will likely have to order from the U.S.. If you guessed from my name that I speed skate, you’re right. My skates are custom fit.

  13. Kim the skifoot says:

    THANK YOU for putting up this site, Hiking Lady! I am a 9.5 AAA who is a wit’s end with trying to find nonexistent shoes “in my real size”. Your lacing techniques are helping me already! That, plus supporting the local shoemaker who know how to rebuild the few shoes I have that really do fit.
    I’m glad to see somebody mention Bates boots. I’m a civilian bugler, so need a polished-toe “jump” boot for winter missions, I’ve been making do with a pair of their men’s 8 medium for the past winter, but am happy to report that Corcoran’s “medium” is more like a true narrow than the Bates! Maybe this will help you other ladies who need military boots. Am very glad to have found this discussion, and I feel much less like such a oddball now.

  14. NamHiker says:

    You could try K-Way Kilimanjaro made on South Africa if you can get hold of it. They use UK sizing, so no choice of width. they’re narrow but quite deep, nice for high arches

  15. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Melanie,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m thrilled to hear that the Arc’teryx boots work for you and have enabled you to enjoy some blister-free hiking! Thank you to Linda for sharing her excellent find of those boots!
    Happy trails!

  16. Melanie says:

    I happened to fall on your site after many hours of research on the web for narrow hiking boots. I live in New Brunswick in Canada and we have very, very few options for good quality, narrow hiking boots. So I knew I was going to have to order some online, and possibly have to order from the States. But then I read Linda’s post on the Arc’teryx boots. So I checked out their website and saw they offered free shipping and returns in Canada. I ordered a couple sizes based on their instructions on how to measure foot size. I also bought a pair of medium support hiking socks. After trying the socks with the boots at home for a while, I felt I still had a bit of movement in the heel, but they were still the best fit I had found. So I went ahead and kept the pair that fit and went hiking the next day. Four-hour, moderate difficulty hike (rated difficult at the National Park we were in) with some scrambling, mix of rocky terrain and forest. I’m pleased to report that these boots fit like a charm and no blisters!!! The ankle support is good too. I don’t know how they’d hold up for backpacking, but no problems for day hiking! I’ve never worn a boot that fit so good to the point that I forget I have them on. I’ve done several hikes now and they just keep getting more and more comfortable as they get broken in. Thanks Linda for your post On the Arc’teryx boots! I know they’re expensive ($300 CDN), but they’re worth it for blister-free hiking!!!

  17. Hiking Lady says:

    Linda, thank you so much for sharing this. I like your idea of putting a heel insert inside the shell. The Arc’teryx Bora Mid GTX Hiking Boots are very unique for a hiking boot in the sense that they have a liner with an outer boot, but I am impressed how you made it work for you.

    Although they are pricey, I sure hope it helps other women with very narrow feet. Thank you again, and have a wonderful time hiking and backpacking again!

  18. Linda says:

    I’ve been looking for hiking boots for my narrow, low volume feet for many, many years. Actually, since 1982! I finally gave up hiking and backpacking because nothing fit.
    I’ve tried outdoor stores in Whistler, Banff and Vancouver so I think I tried everything. Gave up and just did short hikes in my New Balance running shoes.

    Recently, I began the elusive search again and tried Vasque, Scarpa and La Sportiva as recommended above but, they were far too wide. New Balance’s new 2AA width hiking boots were even too wide in the heel. Dunham’s narrow boots came close but not good enough. My ski boots and ice skates are custom fit due to my narrow heels and boney ankles so I was ready to give up on the hope of ever finding hiking boots. I also have custom orthotics for my high arch.

    FINALLY….I’ve found boots that truly fit: Arc’teryx Bora Mid GTX Hiking Boot. Bought in Whistler. Their unique design means they fit differently than all other boots and their liner means no uncomfortable seams or pressure from the tongue or back of the boot. I bought sz 6 although I normally wear a 7. Due to my really narrow heel, my heel wasn’t 100% tight so I stuck a pair of heel inserts (from a shoe store) onto the inside of the shell so unlike traditional boots, the liner is between the inserts and my heel for a comfortable fit. They feel like custom fit boots and now I’m ready to try backpacking again after over 30 years.

    I noticed that recent posters above have mentioned difficulty in finding larger sizes…these go up to size 12.

    I hope this info helps others who may be ready to give up.

  19. betsy says:

    I forgot to mention in my above post that the Drew shoe company has come out with hikers in narrow up to 12. I ordered an 11.5 and a 12 narrow from my local shoe repair/shoe store. I was so disappointed. I know Drew does extra depth for people who need orthotics, but even with my hard carbon wrap-around-the-ankle orthotics, the boots were too deep. They seemed far from a narrow and a half size too short. If anyone runs across these and sees the narrow, I hope they work for you, but don’t get your hopes up if you have a low volume foot.

  20. betsy says:

    I’ve finally given up finding narrow hikers for women over size 11 in this country. The New Balance ones seemed good at 1st, but the 12’s are really too short. I’m saving up for custom boots I think — I have no other choice! In the meantime, I’d like to make another plug for the llbean cresta hikers, which come in narrow up to 11 for those of you still searching. Yes, they are heavier than some of the new space age boots, but they’re very supportive, classic boots. Though I’m technically an 11.5 AAA, I’m still wearing these for muddy dog walks. Unfortunately I really don’t have that extra toe room for downhill, so I’m afraid to go into the back country relying on the Crestas. I’ve already sent letters of complaint to many shoe/boot companies, and I’m sure they’ll put me on some crackpot list if I write again. Thank you for listening, and good luck narrow feet!

  21. Sharon says:

    I sent an extremely windy comment recently. Here’s a “super short”
    comment. I have designed and made my own custom “under-the-tongue”
    pads for my new hiking boots. They have solved the problem in filling
    in volume, stopped heel lift, eliminated hot spots and blister. I have
    narrow, low volume, flat feet. I am also 67 years old, so that makes
    it more challenging.

  22. Sharon says:

    People with narrow, flat / low volume feet face a daunting task finding hiking boots. I recently bought a pair of Scarpa Kailash GTX 2014 Model women’s boots. I wear Bridgedale socks – do not like “sock layers”. Of all the boots I tried on, the Scarpa Kailash had the best, but not perfect fit for my narrow, low volume feet. Nevertheless, even with special lacing techniques, I still developed one blister on the back of one heel while hiking uphill. I have previously owned Montrail Blue Ridge boots (the best, most wonderful boot ever made for someone with narrow / low volume feet). For starters, I switched out the insoles for Superfeet Green insoles. Additionally, after studying this matter, reading this website and many others and after focusing on the design of my Montrail Blue Ridge boots, I came to a conclusion. The reason the Montrail boot works so well is not only because it is well-made, “more narrowly” designed–the boot tongue is padded all the way down the tongue to where the laces start near the toe of the boot. The extra padding on the boot tongue fills out the boot, securing the foot in the boot and eliminating any heel lift, therefore eliminating blisters. I wore the boots straight out of the box, climbed a 1,000 foot rocky hill and came away with no issues whatsoever. The Montrails required no special lacing. The Scarpa boots fit snug, but not as snug as the Montrails. After putting the two boot brands on and off, I concluded the single distinguishing factor was the gusseted, padded tongue in he Montrails. I read about boot “tongue depressors” which are placed under the laces, but decided that was not going to resolve the dilemma. Therefore, I decided to design a special “under-the-tongue pad) for my new Scarpas. The tongue pads are made with a casing (as long as the boot tongue) made from an old polyester / spandex t-shirt filled with lambs wool. (Breathable casing, natural fiber interior). I slid the pad into my hiking boots on top of my Bridgedale socks and under the boot tongue, positioning the narrow end just above where the laces start at the toe of the boot, laced up the boots and instant comfort! I hiked my 7-mile 1,000 foot hill loop with a 20-pound pack, and no hot spots, no blisters, no sore toes. My feet stayed put in the boots. The tongue pads did not move at all while hiking. Scarpa Kailash GTX boots are solid boots with a polyurethane mid sole and TPU addition in the heel area. Vibram soles. Heel blister avoidance is not simply a matter of lacing the boots tightly around the ankle area to attempt to secure the heel. How snugly the boot fits over the top of the foot affects not only heel blisters but the overall comfort of the boots on your feet. Boot manufacturers would be doing themselves and everyone else a favor by designing boots with a more generously padded boot tongue. In the meantime, I am left to design and make my own boot tongue pads. I took them to the store where I bought the boots, and the owners were truly impressed with my remedy. I am thinking of researching breathable fabrics online, i.e. Seattle Fabrics, and perhaps make myself a couple extra sets of tongue pads.

  23. Steffanie Moccia says:

    I have very skinny feet. I went to the store today to try on some of Merrell Mhiking shoes and couldn’t believe some of the differences. I wanted something like the Maob ventilator because it seemed durable for hiking yet met my needs for air ( my feet get very sweaty and blister). However when I tried these on a 7.5 my normal size was so tight I had to put on an 8.5 and they felt waytoo wide. The ball of my foot area felt like I was swimming. I tried on the Grassbow Air, also by Merrell, and in my original 7.5 they fit my narrow foot wonderfully. They are a little more like sneakers but with a much more durable sole. They have a little less support on the ankle but I’m ok with that, they are similar to what I am use to now ( my sneakers). However if u dint need airy shoes like me to prevent overheating feet Merrell has a shoe called Grassbow sport which is waterproof, and they are available in a mid size too for more ankle support. Hope this helps!

  24. Esther says:

    I too am having hiking boot problems. My left foot gets heel blisters and the 4th toe gets black and blue. I had a great pair of Merrell’s that were broken in but the sole is worn out and the top hook is pulling out. I have orthotics but my new Merrell’s just are not as good as the old ones. I will try the lacing technique. Thanks and if that doesn’t work I will try buying the narrow boots. Thanks for your blog.

  25. Jean says:

    I’m laughing at those with big fat AAA feet. You think you have problems. I’m a 5A toe, 8A heel and have high arches. I have bought casual and dress shoes at a place in Toronto that caters to narrow feet, Harry Young, but he doesn’t have hiking boots. For some peculiar reason the few brands I’ve found that have some kind of narrow designation are not available in Canada. I really am loathe to order from the U.S., pay extra, pay shipping, pay duty only to try them on and find I have to ship them back. Anybody else in Canada that’s found a solution? Cross border shopping trip my only option? Not living that close to a border crossing.

  26. Katie says:

    I wear a size 10.5 AAA. I have found a successful and comfortable fit in the Lowa Renegade (narrow) boot, plus green Superfeet. However, this will be my second pair that is delaminating after a year and a half. This is super frustrating, but I still can’t seem to find a suitable replacement.

    For the first year and a half, though, they were GREAT!

  27. Jenn Grover says:

    I have done very well with Monorail boots. I have suffered blisters all my life but not a single one with my Monorails. I generally run A to AA.

  28. Christine says:

    I wear a size 9 narrow. My work just changed over from the classic black uniform boot to a brown boot, which includes hiking boots 6″ high. I recently bought two pairs to try from Zappos.com. The first was the Vasque St. Elias GTX and the second were Lowa Renegade GTX Mid. They both come in narrow thankfully. The Lowa’s were more narrow in the heels then the Vasque. The Lowa’s actually felt narrower overall then the Vasque. The Vasque fit pretty decent overall. I will have to find on insole to help with my heels. The only problem with them that I find is they don’t have the classic holes to lace on the top so I can’t use one method you describe. I have been using that tie method on all my tennis shoes for more years than I can count. Both pair of boots are expensive. The Lowa’s the most expensive at $225 and the Vasque came in at $190. I will be keeping both sets of boots and selling some of the many boots I purchased last year that didn’t fit. I can’t wait to break them in and be allowed to wear them at work.

    Thanks for your advice. It’s difficult when you have narrow feet to find anything decent.

  29. Laurie Palmer says:

    Betsy, thanks for your input. I also have long, narrow and flat feet. I have worn various NB “country walkers” for at least 10 years. The last I had were the 978, and although I had previously worn 12N (I actually wear an 11N in regular shoes), as NB got shorter I had to get the NB 978 in 13N. They still didn’t fit, because they actually have too much volume for my narrow feet, but they were all I could find. They are not very good quality. I am an avid hiker and cry over the fact I can’t find good hiking boots. I just ordered the NB 1569 in a 13N, and will let you know how they do. Thanks, Hiking Lady, for all the good advice!

  30. Hiking Lady says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this Liz. I’m really glad Emma was able to get you set up with a pair of boots that sound like they work really well for you. Happy trails!

  31. Liz says:

    Major blister problems with all my previous boots despite being sold asolo stynger as the narrowest boot on the market (that’s what the guy at Cotswolds shop told me).

    Today I went to Whalley Warm and Dry, Lancs, UK after booking a boot fit session with them. Lovely young girl, Emma, I think her name is, took one look at my boots and said they are wAy too wide. If you like I can look at making some custom inserts? I went for trying a new boot. Over an hour later, after much measuring, many different lacing techniques, and various standard foot beds in variety of boots I settled on a pair of Lowa Khumbu11gtx (narrow) boots with a Sidas footbed and because I apparently also have a shallow foot, an extra thin footbed beneath as extra filler in the boot.

    Emma, like me also has narrow feet, has suffered blisters and is also studying podiatry and prosthetics. In other words….she really understood my problems.

    Anyone having problems like me who lives in the uk, have a weekend in the ribble valley (it is a truly beautiful area) and book a session here. You will not be disappointed. I can’t wait to get out in the hills!!

  32. Betsy says:

    I have the same type of feet that you do, and if you don’t mind a heavier boot, I would try the llbean cresta hikers. I have such long feet that I’ve sized out of them (at least going down hill), but I loved them. They’re not like these new light weight day hikers but more of a back packer boot.Good luck! My feet are like a skinny rectangle, so I know what you’re talking about!

  33. Lisa says:

    Hello 🙂
    I have read this whole thread and know I am totally illiterate!!
    I have NARROW from toe to heal feet…meaning my widest point up front (by toes/knuckles) to my heel are almost the same width…seriously skinny…but high arches.
    I see the thread address narrow heels, but nothing for people with all over skinny feet…help!!
    Need a boot with ankle support for hiking but honestly my feet swim in “hiking boots”.
    Am I just an odd ball??
    I wonder…if anyone could point me in a good direction I would be so grateful!


  34. Lorie says:

    I am thrilled to have found this website as I too have suffered with shopping for narrow feet. I have worn many New Balance low cut hiking/trail boots but found that they really don’t hold up over time, thus I have gone through many pairs. I just bought the Oboz women’s Firebrand II multisport shoe and have worn it on several day hikes and love it. I have a narrow heel- low volume and flat arches. I use insoles as well. For backpacking I wear Lowa Renegades which come in a narrow width and they have a narrow low cut as well. Good luck to everyone I know the frustration of finding the right boots~

  35. Betsy says:

    I’ve been wearing the New Balance 1569 13 narrow, and I think it would fit you well. It runs a half to a whole size short, so since you’re a 12 narrow, you have hope! I’m just shy on the brannock device of a 12 narrow, but do fine in some 12’s. Admittedly I’m wearing the 13’s with orthotics (carbon fiber that wraps around the heel and goes up the arch) that take up some space, but you could add a little insole if they were a tad short. I think they’d fit your needs since you said a heavy duty back packing boot wasn’t necessary. The 1569 is a new release or update, and I’ve been testing it on dog walks through rocky woodsy trails, and I love them. Don’t mean to be bossy! I know I’ve mentioned these New Balance before, but now I’ve had some miles to report on.

  36. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for the feedback! I have purchased a pair of Vasque Talus, Injinji sock liners and a new pair of Darn Tough socks (fit better than my previous socks). I haven’t been able to put the new boots to the test yet- waiting for my current blisters to hea1. Thanks for the idea about powdering my feet before hiking as well! I will let you know how it all works once I am able to get out there and hike!

  37. Betsy says:

    Here’s an update for the New Balance hiking “shoes.” I ordered them, and they run short like the 978’s, but I think they’re pretty great as a trail shoe — not a backpacking boot. I measure an 11.5 narrow, but the 12 narrow was too short, and they don’t come in 12.5. But I’ve been wearing the 13 narrow (sent back the 12’s) with an added insole. I think there’s a good chance the 12 narrow lady above would do ok in the 13’s.

  38. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I’ve had good luck with Vasques and my Asolo Styngers. I have very narrow heels and bunions too, so I understand your predicament! I find Keen’s to be too wide in most cases. Merrell boots can run wide too, causing heel slippage.

    Sweaty feet are going to create a happy home for blisters, so please powder your feet and wear sock liners to avoid too much sweat. Also be sure to lace your boots properly (video here of how to do it), which will help prevent heel slippage.

    Good luck. Please let us know which ones you end up buying.

    Happy trails!

  39. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for the valuable information! I am looking for your feedback/suggestion: I have bunions WITH narrow feet. I have tried a pair of Merrell low hikers which caused blisters everywhere. I then switched to a pair of Keene high boots. They seem to fit a little better in the toe box area however the heel slips causing serious heel blisters. I have tried superfeet inserts as well as heel inserts, to no avail. I plan to purchase a pair of the Ijinji toe sock liners which you suggested as I feel my socks may be too big AND causing my feet to sweat. I have been considering a few pair of Vasque boots, given the thought that a narrow heel might fit better, however I am not sure about the toe box which might need to be a bit wider to accommodate my bunions. Thanks!

  40. Betsy says:

    Hello SHARON who wrote May 4th and is also a 12 narrow, I’ve been in contact with the Altberg boot company in the UK. I traced my foot and sent in the measurement, and I also sent in the “volume” measurement around the ball of my foot. My volume measurement is less than the extra narrow, but what does that mean? Maybe the boot would fit fine?! If only I could hop on a plane and try them on. From my foot tracing in centimeters, I would be a 10 in UK sizes (though some charts have me at a 9.5). It would be scary to order such an expensive boot from across the pond, but that’s what those of us who are only a half to one size larger than the offerings in the US are stuck doing. If the New Balance boot coming out in July is not a sturdy back packing boot, I will probably save my money and try to order a pair from the UK. I will keep you posted because I think we’re very close in size.

  41. Thehillsarealive says:

    Hello, thanks Hiking Lady for this great blog entry, so nice to know I’m not alone in my struggles to find footwear that fits. I also have long narrow feet and am a size 8 to 9 uk size, depending on the make and style of boot. I’ve just been on a mammoth boot trying on mission and wanted to share some exciting discoveries I’ve made. Firstly, I’ve found that Salewa, Mammut and Aku’s boots all come in a nice narrow width as standard that fits my feet like a glove, while Brasher, Salomon and altberg are baggy on my feet.

    Salewa go up to a size 9 in ladies sizes which Tiso stock (UK shop), and while I found their size 8s too small, Aku’s size 8s were spot on, even ever so slightly generous length wise. Mammut’s 8s were sadly too short but great width wise. So basically I’m sold on Aku’s boot range now, specially the sl hike gtx as it looks nice and lightweight and not too clunky like some, yet it’s sturdy in the sole with robust ankle support at the same time. Feel like someone had my feet in mind when they made these 🙂
    Good luck everyone in finding footwear that fits you

  42. Sara says:

    I have also used Lowa boots in a “schmall” (i.e. narrow). It’s the only boot I’ve ever found that is narrow enough to keep my feet happy!

  43. Betsy says:

    I’ve sized out of the LLBean Cresta hikers, but they were great for narrow feet while they lasted. They go to size 11, and I am now an 11.5, which doesn’t work for down hill. They are really a classic, and I wish they accommodated over size 11. It’s not a super light boot, but I didn’t find it heavy either. So if you’re in the 11 narrow and under range, check out the reviews. I’d buy another pair in a heart beat if they went to 11.5 or 12!

  44. Betsy says:

    Thank you so much for your responses Hiking Lady! On further reflection, I think you’re right about the military boots. I have stability problems due to loose ligaments, but I can see how such boots would actually make me trip more. Also,I see there’s another 12 narrow in the world as I read through all these letters. I had a similar experience to hers with a New Balance hiking shoe where my left toe hit the end of the shoe, but it’s a soft shoe, and it’s getting better as I wear them. Maybe because I can wear some 11.5’s (in dress shoes), I can get by with these light hikers (I like them, but I need a real back packing boot). I hope the New Balance boot coming out is more like the old 1500. Someone above also mentioned that boot for narrow feet. There’s hope!

  45. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi there narrow size 11.5 hiker! 🙂 The Bates boots may work, but I think they could be on the heavy side. In most situations on the trail you wouldn’t need or even want a boot that comes up that high around the calf – you’re feet and legs will be really hot by the end of the day. In a military combat type situation I can see the use for these boots, but a steel toe is a bit overkill for hiking. I’m thrilled to hear about New Balance! Good luck!

  46. hiker says:

    Hello, It’s me again — the frustrated lady with the 12 narrow feet
    (well, technically 11.5 narrow). I wrote to the New Balance company a
    few days ago, and I just heard back from them. Apparently the company
    is introducing a new hiker in mid July in narrow widths. I’m assuming
    they will go up to a 12 as well. I’ll be first in line when they come

  47. hiker says:

    Hello fellow narrow footed ladies.
    I feel your frustration…life with narrow feet is difficult. So I thought I would share my thoughts. I just tried on many hiking shoes (not boots) size 9 and nothing was useful, everything was too wide (Keen, Patagonia, Merrell). I did some investigating and found that Approach Shoes are interesting because they lace all the way down to the toes. Approach Shoes are a combination of hiking/climbing shoes…some lean more towards hiking….some more towards climbing. I’m not a climber, but these shoes are a good option for hikers with narrow feet because they are designed to hug the foot. I tried on the Crux made by Scarpa, it’s a good choice but the toe box is too big. Then I ordered the Sticky Boulder by Garmont. Spot on! The Sticky Boulder is pretty narrow, small toe box, no heel slip, laces all the way to the toes. Check them out!! I am walking around in them right now, I think they are keepers and I’m going to try them out on a hike this weekend.
    If anyone has any other suggestions, I’m all ears.

  48. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Diana,
    Thanks for the comment, and also sharing your modification. I hope you can find a shoe partner. Boots that fit well make all the difference in keeping your feet happy out on the trail. 🙂

  49. Diana says:

    Your video lacing technique for boots with hooks to prevent heel slippage is pretty awesome! Thanks for sharing this bit of wisdom. I just bought a new pair of Vasque Breeze Size 9.5, and I too have a narrow foot with little volume and my heel was slipping, tried your technique and it helped, I modified it just a bit and it is even tighter, might be too tight. After the first step of slipping opposite lace under, instead of coming up and double looping on the first hook I crossed over cinching the loops toward the center then hooked onto the next hook. I will have to test it out on the trail it may cause a pressure point on the top of my foot. By the way, I am looking for a shoe partner as my feet are exactly one size different. Left foot is 8.5, right foot is 9.5, narrow.

  50. Sharon says:

    Help Everyone, I have narrow feet, AA-BUT I wear a US 12! Just returned a New Balance because the left big toe was hitting the end, which we know is no good. I have Googled every hiking shoe mentioned and none go to 12. I generally have a problem with men’s lasts, but….I am getting desparate! I don’t need a heavy duty hiker–just day hikes. Thanks.

  51. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Stacey,

    Great question. Your heels really shouldn’t be slipping. A very small movement is ok, but this is a good rule of thumb: if you are noticing your feet when you hike, then the boots don’t fit well. Have you tried this lacing technique to see if it will prevent heel slippage?

    Perhaps that will help. If not, you should look for another pair and wear them as much as possible before your trip in a couple of weeks! Have a great time.

  52. Stacey says:

    I have a pair of Oboz that I want to like, but I feel my heel slipping and it worries me since I am walking the Camino Frances on May 13. I am hoping I am being neurotic and that the slip isn’t really all that bad. How much slip is normal and how much is too much?

  53. Gladys says:

    Thanks, will do! I think you misunderstood,I returned the size 8 boots. I kept the 8.5’s. I’ve worn them outside and done a few hikes with them, approx 5 kms each. The last couple hikes though,I put in the insoles from a pair of running shoes (not special insoles, they were just the ones from my runners) in additional to the ones that came with the boot; so there were 2 insoles in them. They seem cushier with my ‘runner liner’ in too (it also has a bit of a ‘heel cup’)…actually fit more like the 8′! I am also using a midweight wool sock. I am hoping this does the trick with the 2 insoles. So far so good. Unfortunately I don’t have time to try more boots as we leave soon for MP. It would have been nice to try the 8’s outside on a hill but oh well 🙂

  54. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Gladys,
    Thanks for the update. It sounds to me like you need a size 8.25! 🙂 Too bad they don’t make that. Yes you can use insoles from a different pair of shoes. I like Superfeet insoles because they are well made and better quality than the ones that come with most shoes/boots. You may also want to wear thick hiking socks to take up some of the volume. If you still feel the 8.5s are too roomy after adding thicker insoles and a cushy sock, and the 8.0s are not big enough, it may be time to try another boot. Keep walking in them inside at home on your makeshift ramp to see which ones are the best for you. Don’t settle for a pair that isn’t just right for you. Have a great time in Machu Piccu!

  55. Gladys says:

    Thanks HL, I went with the size 8.5 instead of the 8. I made a makeshift ‘hill’ putting an exercise step down my stairs to test the 8’s (they could not be worn outside), they may have slightly touched the end of the boot, so I returned them. I am now breaking my boots in but the toe box /ball of the foot area seems very roomy, maybe too roomy. I have to lace my boots very tight across the top of the foot or they seem too loose. Yesterday, I took a pair of insoles from a pair of runners and put them in too and I think they were better. Can this work? I am doing a hike to Machu Picchu …if my feet swell, I thought I could take out the extra insoles. I think your boot lacing technique may work also, but perhaps doing it upside down. The guy in the store showed me something similar.

  56. Helen says:

    Had terrible trouble trying to find narrow hiking boots in Western Australia. Got a pair of Scarpa – great on right foot but the left foot, I just couldn’t stop from getting blisters on the heel.
    Have now purchased a pair of Merrell Moab Mid. Think?? they may be better although the left heel still feels like it may be a problem. Have tried 1 of the lacing techniques but have got the hook thingys at top not holes to do the loops.
    Any other suggestions would be appreciated as I’m off to kokoda in 4 weeks!,

  57. Nadine says:

    Oh man this is great! I’m breaking in a new pair of hikers and I have one foot that was giving me heel slip issues, but this lacing technique really helped get rid of that. Thanks!

  58. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Gladys,
    The best thing to do is to try walking in these boots downhill, or walk down a ramp in the store (some good outdoor stores have these in the footwear sections). If your toes touch the front of the boots when you are walking downhill, and the boots are laced properly and your heel isn’t slipping too much, then the boots are too short. Also keep in mind that your feet will swell at altitude and in warm weather.
    A surgeon’s knot can help keep your heel back. Also try this lacing technique for low top shoes.
    Happy trails!

  59. Gladys says:

    That should be – This saleseman said the TOE can be from 5 – 10 mm from the front of the boot.

  60. Gladys says:

    Thanks Hiking Lady! I’ve decided on the Salomon Sector boot. I am unsure of size. The boot fits bigger than other kinds I tried. I have the 8.5 at home but went yesterday and tried on an 8 again, they felt pretty good. In the 8, my toes do not touch the front of the toebox. Is this long enough? This saleseman said the boot can be from 5 – 10 mm from the front. I read that your toe should be close but not touching and if pressed down in front of toe, if there is a thumbwidth between your toe and front, the boots are too big. I also read you should be able to fit a finger behind your heel. In the 8.5 (which felt alright too, a bit bigger)there probably is a thumbwidth from front altho kind of hard for the salesman to press too; and maybe more than a finger at the back but again, hard to get the finger to reach down in the boot. Is this too big/long? I am wondering if there might be less slippage with the 8’s. The lacing is a bit different on these Salomons, I am not sure that your boot lacing techique would work. The salesman mentioned a surgeon’s knot too. Does that do the same thing? When I had tried the 8’s before, the salesman said to really jam my foot down on the incline, then I could feel my toe. Unless I need to try a hill/incline again, not jamming the toes too? I wore a Wigman merino wool light hiking sock…but tried a Smartwool one on in the store, that may have been a bit cushier and could make a difference too. Just wondering what you think on size, thanks.

  61. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Gladys,
    Your feet will swell when hiking, especially if the weather is warm. Your toes should not touch the front of the boot when you are walking downhill, or else you’ll end up with black toenails! I personally think you’ll be better off with ones with room in the toe box, and then use this boot lacing technique so your feet don’t slide forward when you are hiking downhill. If readers have tips on the Salomon Sector or the North Face Hedgehog boots hopefully they will share their opinions. Best of luck!

  62. Gladys says:

    I tried the Vasque Breeze but returned it. To get the extra length,it just felt too big and I felt I was walking funny with the ‘rocking’ heel. I normally wear an 8 or 8.5, my feet were measured, solid 8 on one foot, slighly under on the other. Now I am trying a Salomon Sector Mid Gtx. An 8 felt pretty good, I couldn’t feel my toes when walking. The salesman thought I might need extra length(for downhill) so I have an 8.5 but it feels bigger/wider, not so sure. It has lots of room in the toe box, that could be good? Does anyone know if your feet swell when hiking? I also have a size 9 North Face Hedgehog Tall GTX III. I think the fit is a bit narrower, fit shorter too. How much extra room should you have in length? Has anyone tried these boots?

  63. Shelley says:

    I feel everyone’s frustration. Was boot shopping today. I liked the narrow fit of the Vasque Breeze. In fact, it felt great. But I didn’t like the mid height. It digs in too much at the back (around the collar/cuff) just walking around the store, and a full day of hiking would be murder. My preference in height was the Solomon Quest but then I lost my narrow fit. 🙁 I wish Vasque made a taller boot.

  64. Hiking Lady says:

    Sarah, this is excellent information, especially for other UK hikers and trekkers. Thank you so much for taking the time to detail your experiences, and best of luck with the new Tethera boots. Happy trails!

  65. Sarah says:

    I posted back in May 2012, and I wanted to update you on my situation. I am in the UK and suffer with very narrow size 9 feet (a US 11-12?), which is a huge problem, as most women’s shoes stop at a UK 8. And men’s boots are way too wide for me, causing awful heel blisters.

    I had the same pair of leather boots for literally 15 years (Lomer, men’s UK size 9/9.5) but these have all but fallen apart, so I’ve been trying to get replacements for over 2 years now. First I tried men’s Scarpa boots, as these are Italian and have a narrow last (another brand I tried were ‘Zamberlains’, also narrow Italian boots). However, being a men’s boot they were still too wide and the Scarpa’s ultimately ended up on ebay, after obliterating my heels with the worst blisters of my life! Next I tried the German brand ‘Jack Wolfskin’ as they do ladies boots in a EU 43 (a UK 9). However, after 30 minutes walking around indoors I already started to get very bad ‘hot spots’ on my heels, and so I returned these while I still could.

    So a few days ago I finally made the epic drive to the Yorkshire boot manufacturers ‘Alt Berg’ (http://www.altberg.co.uk) after quite a few recommendations to try them out. They make leather hiking boots in UK half sizes and 5 width fittings (including an ‘Extra-Narrow’ option). They measured my feet and told me I probably needed a UK 9.5 in an Extra Narrow. I walked away with a lovely pair of ‘Tethera’ boots (http://www.altberg.co.uk/stockist-product/the-tethera-mens-boot/) and some Superfeet insoles for under £200, which wasn’t too painful a price! I’ve only worn them around the house so far and I’m still a little concerned about the left heel, but I am hopeful that these ones will break in and work out ok. First of all they really are nice and narrow – my feet don’t even look that bulky in them, which makes a change. The leather is incredibly soft, especially around the ankle. And they have a locking nut for lacing at the ankle, which really helps me lace them tight. My heels are STILL moving a little, even though the Superfeet insoles help reduce that, but I am trying a sock liner under my thinner hiking socks, and that seems to reduce any potential rubbing.

    One day soon I will brave going outdoors in them. Fingers crossed this will be the pair I keep! I will report back in a few months.

    For the record, Alt Berg also make completely custom-made boots (for a price tag of £1000 upwards! and a long waiting list…) which may be the only option for people with foot deformities and severe fitting issues. But if your problem is less severe they also offer a service whereby they heat the leather boots and re-mould them slightly in the problem areas. Useful information for anyone in the UK.

  66. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Devi!
    There sure are a lot of us narrow footed women out there! I have had good luck with Vasque…they have some other models besides the Vasque Breeze that might work – Vasque Scree and Vasque Velocity 2.0. These are newer ones and I haven’t tried them yet. I have a pair of Vasque Blurs that is an older model similar to the Velocity and they hug my narrow heel really well, and are quite lightweight.
    Best of luck and if you find some you like please let us know.
    Happy trails!

  67. Devi says:

    Wow, Can’t believe that hiking-shoe makers have not taken note of this link as yet! Narrow feet issues seem to be more common than I expected. I tried a Salomon Women’s 3D Fastpacker recently, which supposedly run true to size. I usually wear size 6.5. Salomon size 7 (with a sock liner and hiking socks on) felt fairly comfortable to me around the heel. The toes however felt like they were hitting against the head of the shoe (even though it had a nice big toe box). Size 8 I expect, would be too loose around the heel. At Rei, I was pretty much told that the best option they can offer me was Vasque Breeze 2.0..I find these shoes a bit bulky though..

  68. Lisa says:

    I have a narrow foot and have suffered with finding a narrow boot – I Love my LOWA women’s narrow boots – two pairs later and still they do a great job – check them out – now checking on Scarpa and La Sportiva … more to follow! Happy hiking!

  69. Sandy Johnsen says:

    I ended up buying Superfeet Berry inserts and would never have actually dreamed they would do such wonderful things. Cured the slippage and now I swear I can walk much further without fatigue. Thanks for the info on the other shoe though.

  70. Hiking Lady says:

    Thanks for sharing Elizabeth! I’m glad to hear that you are so happy with the La Sportiva’s! Hope you got a good deal 🙂 Happy trails.

  71. Elizabeth Hardman says:

    I have extremely narrow heels and a really high arch (I don’t know if this is the case for you), and I recently bought some LA Sportiva Boulder X shoes that are amazing. They were one of the shoes in the shop that I was least interested in (due to looks and color, of course), but after taking advice from a worker and trying them on, I was literally in love. I never knew shoes could even fit so well. They feel like a part of my feet, with no slide, and have wonderful traction if you like hiking in rocky areas. Good luck!

  72. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi there Sandy!
    So sorry to hear about your blisters…but you are now on the right track to solving your issue. Please try the lacing technique first. Superfeet will definitely take up a bit of volume in your boot, so the fit will be a little more snug and prevent a little bit of slippage. However, a full size larger may be too roomy for you and cause even more slippage problems. Getting the 10 1/2 boots would be the last option I’d try. Good luck, and let me know how it works!

  73. Sandy Johnsen says:

    My left foot is a solid size 10 in regular shoes, but my right foot is closer to a 9 1/2, so I just purchased Asolo Stynger GTX boots in a 10, went out yesterday for 6 mile hike to test them out with FITS Rugged Hiker socks, but on terrain with little to no incline and was so happy about having no blisters or pressure points. I was very happy with how the boot felt, other than a little tenderness on the balls of my feet – maybe Superfeet would be the solution for this? But I did the hill test today to see how my heels would fare, and almost no suprise – a blister on the larger left foot after only 2 miles uphill. This foot has always been the one with the slippage issue, and I think that heel is slightly more narrow than the other heel. Out of frustration, I googled heel slippage and found this site. I can’t wait to go back out and try the lacing technique on the same hill. This could be the grand solution for me! I’m feeling so hopeful.

    Do you think it would be possible that I may have to go to size 10 1/2 for the larger foot? I’ve never had to go up before?

  74. Long, thin, and flat! says:

    For Carolyn:

    Consider trail running shoes. Use the services of your local specialty running shoe store. They tend to have a good selection, and knowledge to help fit you into something appropriate.

    I have Brooks ASR. They have great tread, and I can manage hill sides where I live in rural Colorado. I, too, have foot comfort issues and trail running shoes have been a good solution for me. I have rigid semi-custom orthotics, and I use Spenco plain green on top of those.

    I still have some heel slippage (had that all my life) but my running shoes are more forgiving than hiking boots, so I haven’t had any blisters.

    Good luck!

  75. Jen Ticsay says:

    PS. I feel all your pain. It is no fun to find any shoes with AAA feet. I dread the decision.

  76. Jen Ticsay says:

    I have AAA size 10 feet. I had a pair of Vasque Sundowner for 11 years and they fit well. Since then I have had good luck with Merrell’s. I have had a couple pair of hiking boots and a pair of hiking shoes that fit well. The Chameleon model plus a soft sol insert fit great. I hike a few miles a couple times a week in Colorado – My problem is that they don’t last more than a couple of years.

  77. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Carolyn!

    I too wear a AAA in dress shoes…and I end up having to spend a lot of money on dress shoes because only the Italian brands seem to make shoes with heels that narrow. For hiking boots, my favorite pair are the Asolo Styngers. Not surprisingly, Asolo is an Italian brand! The price has gone up since I bought my pair a few years ago, but they have a narrow heel area for people like us, and when laced like shown in this short video about boot lacing, my heel stays in place. For me there is plenty of room in the toe box. I bought size 8, even though I wear size 7.5 in street shoes.

    Hope this helps. If you find a particular boot that works for you please share it here so all of the ladies out there with narrow feet can learn from our collective experience.

    Happy trails!

  78. Carolyn says:

    Wow, do I ever feel for all of you. I, too, have a very narrow heel (3A in dress shoes) and am having a terrible time finding a shoe/boot to fit my needs. I am not a continuous hiker, although I do hike some in the woods around our home. My current need is for something that I can wear gardening/landscaping on a steep hillside, as well as hiking. To add to the situation, I have developed psoriatic arthritis in my metatarsal joints and ankles so I need something with metatarsal cushioning and a wide toe box to accommodate the swelling and tenderness across the ball of my foot. I am currently sitting on about $500 worth of shoes/boots that I have purchased either at my local outdoor store or ordered online and ALL of them are going back. I currently have shoes/boots from New Balance, Northface, Keen, and Carolina Womens work boots. If any of you have any suggestions, I would be so very grateful, because as it is right now, I am pretty much sidelined from all the things that I love to do.

  79. Sarah says:

    I am over in the UK and I suffer from the same narrow heel problem, but I also have size 9 feet (I believe a US 11 ish) which causes even more problems 🙁 Most women’s boots seem to stop at a UK 8 and the few rare ones I have found in a 9 are still too wide. I bought a men’s Scarpa boot last year since these are a narrow last, and tried lacing techniques, liners, insoles… you name it! But they still destroyed my heels. I am now about to sell them on ebay! Finding any shoes for my feet really is a nightmare! Next I am trying a boot-maker in Yorkshire in the UK called Alt Berg, since they make their leather boots in 5 width fittings. I only hope and pray that their X-Narrow is narrow enough! Will let you know if it is a success…
    Sarah 🙂

  80. Heather says:

    I also have crazy narrow feet & high arches. I tend to wear sneakers on most hikes when I’m not carrying a ton of extra weight–Nike & Solomon work well. For the hikes that call for boots, I found that Lowa makes leather boots in narrow. The toe box isn’t too narrow, but the heel is still a little big. I look forward to trying your lacing & layering techniques.

  81. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Katharine,
    I have not tried the 2 insert method myself, and I agree with you that slippage issues could end up causing even worse problems. Have you tried this hiking boot lacing technique?
    Have you tried the liner sock + hiking sock method too? With thicker hiking socks you’ll have additional cushioning and more volume will be taken up in the boot. You could wear thicker sockers, and while your feet will get hotter, the liner sock will wick the moisture to the outer sock to help prevent blisters.
    Good luck!

  82. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Linda,
    Glad you find the Hiking Lady website helpful 🙂
    I hope the LL Bean boots break in a bit more for you so they are comfortable. I haven’t tried those, so thanks for sharing the feedback that they are a little unyielding along the top. Perhaps a thicker pair of socks could provide additional cushioning for you around the ankle?
    Happy trails!

  83. Katharine says:

    One commenter above mentioned trying two inserts… Is that something to try? I have Vasque hiking boots and have a lot of issues with my feet sliding forward on the downhill. No purple toenails yet but still painful. My feet are very narrow but also skinny in terms of height. So I think I’m not able to sufficiently tighten the the laces in the lower part across my foot (it seems to get them tight enough, too much of the fabric from the tongue bunches up and digs into my foot). So could an additional insert help take up some volume in that part of the boot? I have some concerns about the 2nd insert slipping.

  84. Linda Hamilton says:

    I have tried many hiking boots for my long narrow feet! Had an old pair of leather Vasques that actually were ‘Narrow’ size from the late 70s never even had to break them in and they were as comfortable as shoes (the ones with the old black and red laces) I lost one boot coming back from the Arctic and nearly wept. I now have Vasque Breeze GTX in narrow and they are ‘OK’ but I still kept the moleskin company alive on long hikes. I’ll try the tying technique you mention. Also even ‘going backwards, top to bottom around the hooks’ at the top on boots will snug them up a little. I ordered the ‘Women’s Gore-Tex Mountain Treads, Mid-Cut and Low Cut’ from LLBean in narrow and they are very stiff so even though they are sort of narrow they won’t tie up tightly at all so I actually sent them back. I have the LLBean leather/gortex Cresta’s and they do fit quite well with Superfeet insoles but they are a little uncomfortable/unyielding along the top. Perhaps I just need to break them in a little more. Thank you for your site ….. nice to know I am not alone

  85. Peggy says:

    Hi Hiking Lady,
    I, too, have very narrow heels. I don’t do much hiking right now, so I don’t need hiking boots. But I am trying to do more walking and I have the hardest time finding socks that are thick enough to really cushion my heels so that they don’t slip out of the walking shoe. I do have a walking/running shoe store nearby where there is an expert on shoes, so we have found me the shoes with the most narrow heels possible that are still suitable for walking. But even with these, I need to wear socks with very, very thick heels, and I have had the hardest time finding some.

  86. Hiking Lady says:

    Thanks John! I haven’t tried LL Bean boots. I love their fleeces… great value. Please share some feedback here on your boots after you’ve tried them. Hope they work out well for you.

  87. John says:

    We’ve been looking for narrow boots as well. Just wanted to point out here that LL Bean makes Gore-Tex boots that come in size narrow. We will probably buy some, and see how they do.

  88. Steve Menzel says:

    I wore a pair of New Balance womens boots for over a year because of the very narrow width. I tried to order another pair in Dec 2011 and learned that they have discontinued the product. They were the first boots I have found in 50 years that fit. Very disappointed.

  89. Erika G says:

    Hi Hiking Lady,

    I did two small (approx. 6mi) hikes this weekend and tried the toed sock liners. Seems to have helped quite a bit, and I only got a little baby blister on one foot (still the ball of the foot). Thanks for the advice!

    I guess I wouldn’t have been able to do your lacing technique anyways because my Keens don’t have the double hole at the top, only the hook thingy. I still have some toe discomfort after down hill, but I just kick the back of my heel to kinda adjust my feet back to the right spot and that seemed to help this weekend too.

    Thanks again!

    Happy in OC – Erika G

  90. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Kate – I haven’t been to Alaska in June, but with waterproof hiking boots and thick socks you should be fine. I haven’t tried any Scandinavian hiking boots yet, but perhaps one of the readers has and can comment! 🙂 Have a great time in Alaska!!

  91. Kate O'Brien says:

    Hi, Thanks for the tips. I’m going to Alaska in late JUne 2012 and need something for me A3 narrows. I’ll check out the two brands you all have mentioned.

    Years ago I found I could wear Scandinavian cross country shoes.
    Any one had any ( I think they were Danish???) luck with Scandinavian hiking boots?
    Also, any of you been to Alaska in late June? Wondered if I needed a really warm hiking boiot.

  92. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Erika,

    Great question. This lacing technique likely won’t be helpful for ball of foot blisters. Those could be caused by your feet needing more cushioning, so a softer insole could help.

    For blisters between your toes, those are likely being caused by sweat that is keeping the area moist, and therefore a happy place for blisters to crop up. I wear “toe sock” liner socks a lot of the time, which helps prevent this from happening. Here’s more info about them: Hiking Lady’s Toe Sock Liners.

    Please share what you try and what works for you!

    Happy trails!

  93. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Erika,

    Great question. This lacing technique likely won’t be helpful for ball of foot blisters. Those could be caused by your feet needing more cushioning, so a softer insole could help.

    For blisters between your toes, those are likely being caused by sweat that is keeping the area moist, and therefore a happy place for blisters to crop up. I wear “toe sock” liner socks a lot of the time, which helps prevent this from happening. Here’s more info about them: Hiking Lady’s Toe Sock Liners

    Please share what you try and what works for you!

    Happy trails!

  94. Erika G says:

    Hello, and thanks for the great info!

    Will this lacing technique work for blisters on the balls of your feet too? I always get blisters in this location and sometimes they are large and cover the area between my big toe and index toe. I don’t have narrow feet – quite the opposite, but will this lacing help with that too?

    Thanks in advance!

  95. Hiking Lady says:

    Thanks for the info! I love my Vasques, because even the regular width runs narrow. And yes, I like how they come in widths. I haven’t seen the New Balance hiking shoes, but I’ve definitely bought Narrow width New Balance running shoes in the past.

  96. Long, thin, and flat! says:

    New Balance has ladies hiking boots in various widths from narrow to extra wide. The 1500, which is on clearance right now, runs narrow, and maybe a 1/2 size small. It comes in 3 widths. New Balance has a *fantastic* return policy too!

    Vasque also has several widths in their ladies hiking boots. I bought the Vasque (B width) in REI last week, but wasn’t able to take up the extra volume even with 2 insoles. Later discovered they make a narrow width, but you have to order from Vasque.

    Only trouble you have is if you wear 11+ like me…most of them only go up to 11…

  97. Hiking Lady says:

    If you get a chance to try my lacing technique I’d love to know how it works for you. If you haven’t tried a liner sock in addition to a good quality hiking sock that could help you too. Happy trails!

  98. Trekker says:

    Hmm…I also have not been able to find ideal hiking boots. I’ve owned 4 pairs, and haven’t met my perfect match 😉

    I currently wear Vasque. While breaking them in gradually, I developed purple toenails from some bruising (not wide enough at the toe?). But, I feel the heel is too wide? Or the volume is too big? I wear non-custom orthotics in them, and I feel my arch is separating from the shoe too much when I hike. I wear thick hiking socks, and sometimes a sock liner. I do feel some friction on the bottom of my foot sometimes, so I’m thinking they are too big.

    Looking for a brand I guess with narrow heels, wide toes. I like a midweight boot. I haven’t tried different lacing techniques yet. Maybe that would help.

  99. Hiking Lady says:

    Great tip! Taking care of your boots will make them last a very long time, so when you find a pair that fits treat them like you’ll have them for life! I have found some narrow boots and dress shoes on ebay…which is great for my narrow heel. The older styles were definitely made narrower than current models.

  100. OlderPerson says:

    HikingLady has the right idea- buy a narrow brand. My heels measure out at AAAAAAA width and I wear vintage Vasque in a “N” width. Some of the vintage Italian boots (like 1970s-1980s vintage) are impossibly narrow for most people. Once you find a pair that fits, take good care of them and have them resoled when they’re worn out and they’ll last for decades. It’s also possible to find ice-skating boots or sturdy dress boots in severely narrow widths (new, used, or custom) and have hiking tread installed by a bootmaker.

  101. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Charlene,

    I wear a AAA width in dress shoes, so I totally understand your frustration. Since I have yet to find women’s hiking boots that come in widths, I buy brands that run narrow – the 2 that fit me best are Asolo and Vasque. I discuss how these brands run narrow, as well as those that run wide (Keen), in my 10 Tips for Hiking Boot Shopping.

    Once you put in enhanced insoles, and use the lacing technique described above and also demonstrated in this video, you may be able to wear standard width boots like I do.

    Happy trails!
    Hiking Lady

  102. charlene walker says:

    Well this is all very interesting but doesn’t help me find narrow hiking shoes one little whit. I have searched the internet and am very frustrated. No one seems to make hiking shoes that come in narrow. Specifically AAA or AAAA. So your advise is useless.

Comment or Question:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *