THE BEST KIDS HIKING BOOTS of 2018

Hiking is a very enjoyable way to spend time and pass the holidays across the globe. Not only do families embark on hiking trips for the enjoyment, but they also do for the fact that it’s healthy and they can experience nature.

That being said, the comfort and quality of your boots can make or break your next hiking trip, and this will even more true for your children. Hiking boots that are poor quality or uncomfortable can lead to an overall unpleasant experiences, which is exactly the opposite of what you want you or your children to experience when you’re spending time in the great outdoors.

The good news is that children’s footwear exist for about any kind of sport or activity there are, including hiking. Even though adults are the ones who will usually hike in rough terrain, children will also hike in the exact same environment with them. Subsequently, numerous footwear manufacturers have released an abundance of separate models of  boots for children of different ages.

When it comes to selecting a pair of hiking boots for your kids, you want to focus on the quality, function, and the fit over how much they cost or their appearance on the outside. To be more specific, you want to look for models that have a closed toe to protect your children’s feet from any rocks or tree roots, along with a firm sole that will decrease the number of times that they trip. In addition, you also want to look for a pair that will mold to your child’s feet better over other models.

In this guide, we’ll overview ten of the best picks that are currently available on the market, and then discuss some specific qualities that you need to look for.

Last Updated: November 17, 2017
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By Kristina Smolenski Nelson:

This buying guide has been updated, offering the most current top picks from each brands' most current product lines.

Keen Youth Torino
  • Keen Youth Torino
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Breathable and waterproof
  • Price: See Here
Hi-Tec Renegade
  • Hi-Tec Renegade
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Great Stability
  • Price: See Here
Rocky Waterproof
  • Rocky Waterproof
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Rugged and durable
  • Price: See Here

 

Kids Hiking Boot Comparison Table

BootCategoryWeightWaterproofUpper
Keen Youth Torino MidMidweight2 lbs. 6.4 oz.YesLeather/Synthetic
Hi-Tec Renegade Trail WPMidweight3 lbs.YesSynthetic, leather, and mesh
Rocky Boys Hunting Waterproof MOBUMidweight2 lbs. 1.6 oz.YesLeather
Keen Alamosa WPLightweight2 lbs.NoLeather
Hi-Tec Nepal Waterproof JuniorMidweight2 lbs.YesSuede/Synthetic
Timberland WhiteledgeMidweight2 lbs.YesLeather, Fabric
Merrell Capra MidMidweight3 lbs.YesLeather
Timberland 6" PremiumHeavyweight5 lbs.YesLeather
Columbia Youth Newton RidgeMidweight2 lbs.YesPolyurethane Coated Leather
Timberland PawtuckawayLightweight1 lbs.YesLeather

10 Best Kids Hiking Boots

 

Keen Youth Torino Mid

The Keen Torino is an overall very comfortable hiking with extra padding around the collar, tongue, and the upper side of the boot. These boots provide a lot of great traction and are great for using on the trails.
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Comfort: This padding doesn’t just increase the overall comfort of the shoe, it also ensures that the feet are given extra protection. One thing that a few customer reviews of the Torino have noted, is that the shoe can be a little snug around the heel, though this can also go away once the shoe has been broken in following extended use.

Traction: True hiking boots are intended to be put through extreme environments, and children’s hiking boots need to be held to the exact same standards. These boots meet if not exceed these standards thanks to the lugs on these shoes that are designed to be used in everything from a snowy mountain peak to a muddy trail to slick rocks.

Breathability: The Torinos sell with a completely breathable membrane that ensures your child’s feet will receive proper ventilation when you go on your next hiking trip. Ventilation is important for hiking boots to reduce sweat accumulating in the feet, which can lead to an overall unpleasant experience. Although the majority of this boot is leather, the offered breathability remains good, especially for colder climates.

Quality: As is customary with Keen products, overall build quality of the Torino WP hiking boot is superb. The entire shoe is constructed out of a waterproof leather construction so the shoes can pass the test of time and be passed down to your younger children when your current child outgrows them. Another notable feature about the Torino is its dual climate rubber outsole that further reinforces how this shoe can withstand being put through multiple environments.

All in all, these may not be the only high-quality hiking boots out on the market, but they certainly are one of the best options there are and easily earns are number one spot on our list of the top ten kid’s hiking boots.
Pros
  • Breathable waterproof membrane
  • Extra padding for ankle
Cons
  • Expensive

Hi-Tec Renegade Trail WP

The overall quality of comfort on the Hi-Tec Renegade hiking boots is excellent. Something that should be noted here is that the Hi-Tec Renegade does tend to run a half size too small, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when purchasing a pair for your child.
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Comfort: Hi-Tec invested much effort into making sure that these had a superior ankle support in comparison to their closest competitors. The boots also feature an EVA sock liner, a man-made sole, and superb stability as a whole. That being said, some customer reviews have noted that they do have a snug fit, and will require some time to break them in.

Traction: While comfort is absolutely critical in a hiking boot, so is good traction. In fact, without good traction a hiking boot isn’t even a hiking boot in the first place! The Hi-Tec Renegade has a multi-directional and traded outsole to ensure that these boots grip the surface of the ground firmly and without any slickness. These are boots that will be equally at home on a dirt trail as they are on a steep mountainside or swampy environment.

Breathability: Hi-Tec has installed the Renegade with perfectly breathable mesh panels on the upper side of the boot to ensure proper ventilation.

Quality: The Hi-Tec Renegade Hiking Boots would not have made this list if they weren’t high quality. These shoes are constructed out of a high-quality suede leather and have an entirely waterproof construction to ensure they can resist water both from rainfall and in a muddy/swampy environment.

The Renegade boots from Hi-Tec are designed to provide the definitive combination of stability, comfort, and strength. Being built to the same standards as an adult’s hiking boot, they should be a perfect choice for any of your children so long as you anticipate having to put the boots through an initial break-in period.
Pros
  • Great Stability
  • Good ankle support
  • Durable rubber outsole
Cons
  • Runs small
  • Difficult to break in

Rocky Waterproof MOBU

The first thing you want to look for in a pair of children’s hiking boots is the overall quality of the boots. If the boots are uncomfortable in any way, your child is not going to enjoy wearing them. These boots are made to be very comfortable, so your child will love wearing them.
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Comfort: The interior of the boot is padded to ensure that your child’s foot will be in comfort while hiking. At the same time, you also want the boot to fit snugly over the foot or else it can rub against the skin and cause discomfort and rashes. These utilize a lace-up design on the upper part of the boot, which will fit securely over your child’s foot but is also fully adjustable so they can select their own personal preference.

Traction: The Rocky Boys boot is designed to ensure maximum traction thanks to the TPR rubber outsole, which will allow your child to have stable footing even when they are walking over uneven terrain.


Breathability: The breathability is the main flaw of the Rocky Boys Hunting Boot. This is a hiking boot that is designed to be primarily used in cold environments during the fall and the winter.

Quality: The Rocky Boys is a completely waterproof boot, so you will not need to worry about your child’s feet becoming soaked when they hike trough puddles, streams, or areas of wet grass. It utilizes eight hundred grams of a lightweight Thinsulate insulation material, which is designed to perform warmth without adding any serious weight to the boot. This is a boot that is designed primarily for the colder months, which is why it is well insulated.

All in all, this kid’s boot from Rocky will be one of the warmest and most well insulated boots that you can buy for your child.
Pros

Durable leather and Nylon construction

lightweight, yet well insulated

Cons

Not as breathable as other models

Merrell Moab

Merrell Moab
The Merrell Capra Mid WP offers you an affordable choice in a good all-around hiking boot your child will love. Made with a lot of comfort and great grip, your child will love taking hikes with you and lacing these boots up.
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Comfort: Designed with removable EVA footbeds, these boots are great for absorbing shock and also include a waterproof outer coating to keep your child’s feet dry. Also, these boots feature M-Select Fresh technology, which helps prevent odor build-up inside the boots.

Traction: The traction on these boots is designed with M-Select Grip technology, providing your child with a lot of traction. The grip technology helps assist your child on all types of terrain, which will come in handy no matter where you plan to hike.

Breathability: The Merrell Capra Mid WP boots have a suede and mesh upper, which helps boost breathability in the boot. Also, the M-Select Dry membrane in these boots help to ventilate sweat out of the boot so that your child’s feet feel comfortable no matter how active he or she gets.

Quality: Designed to be very durable, these boots feature a traditional lacing system and have a leather outer area. The bottom sole is made of rubber, and the extra waterproof features help make this an excellent boot option.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Breathable

  • M-Select Fresh Technology

  • Comfortable

Cons
  • Could be more durable

  • Could come in more styles and colors

Keen Alamosa WP

Keen Alamosa WP
The Keen Alamosa WP Fix a great high-quality boot that will keep your child happy and going strong all-day long. Your child’s feet will stay protected in these waterproof boots and the extra traction will help keep your child safe on the trails.
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Comfort: Developed with dual-density midsoles and both EVA and polyurethane, the padding on these boots provides excellent shock protection, making the boots comfortable. Plus, these boots also come with drop-in heel inserts for extra support.

Traction: The Keen Alamosa WP Fix comes with non-marking rubber outsoles that feature strong lugs for great traction. Also, the boots feature supportive thermoplastic urethane shanks for extra stability.

Breathability: These boots feature outer mesh panels and a Keen Dry waterproof breathable membrane. The membrane provides excellent moisture-absorption so you don’t have to worry about sweating inside your boots.

Quality: These boots come designed with nubuck leather that’s waterproofed, making them durable. Also, they are very durable and flexible.
Pros

Durable, quality construction

Good traction

Waterproof properties

Cons

Could be a bit more breathable

Hi-Tec Nepal Waterproof Junior

Hi-Tec Nepal Waterproof Junior
If you want a comfortable boot that’s got some great features, then you’ll love the Hi-Tec Nepal Waterproof Junior for your child. Made with a lot of comfort and great traction, your child will be able to play for hours outside while wearing these boots.
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Comfort: The fact that the Hi-Tec Nepal Hiking Boot has an extra pad liner in it greatly improves the comfort for most users (although you can also quickly remove it should the boots be too tight). Additional features that aid in overall comfort includes the padded collar and tongue.

Traction: The Hi-Tec Nepal boot offers superb traction power thanks to the design of its durable and high grip rubber made outsole. In addition, this boot is also notable for its excellent shock absorption capabilities that will protect your child’s feet during running and jumping.

Breathability: The boot is outfitted with a breathable mesh on the upper part of the boot that enhances the amount of ventilation the feet receive.

Quality: It is constructed out of a suede leather/synthetic material that is completely waterproof. The lacing system in particular is incredibly versatile and ensures a secure fit.
Pros

Fairly lightweight

padded tongue and excellent traction

Cons

Minor durability concerns with the outsole

Timberland Whiteledge

Timberland Whiteledge
Some customer reviews of the Timberland have noted that the toe box is a little large in comparison to similar models, however, which is why it doesn’t rank a little higher in this list. That being said, many other customer reviews have also claimed that absolutely no break-in time is needed for this boot.
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Comfort: The Timberland Whiteledge will fit snugly over your child’s foot thanks to the lace up design that is fully adjustable. The Timberland also sports extra padding in the ankle area of the boot for further comfort, in addition to a dual density EVA sole that is removable.

Traction: The Whiteledge offers decent traction in comparison to other boots in its class. The sole is very durable but also a little softer in comparison to other models, which is suitable for most hiking purposes but won’t be the best option for hiking on cliffs or over jagged rocks.

Breathability: It uses an internal breathable and waterproof membrane that ensures the user receives both proper ventilation to their feet while keeping water and moisture out.

Quality: Timberland has been continuously setting standards in the outdoor footwear industry, so quality is not something that you’ll have to worry about. The Timberland comes equipped with a completely watertight construction thanks to its watertight leather. All in all, these boots will be ready for almost any kind of environment that you can expect to put hiking boots through.
Pros
  • Durable construction overall
  • Good waterproof properties
  • Sturdy sole that offers solid traction
Cons
  • Runs a bit small

Merrell Capra Mid

Merrell Capra Mid
The Capra is a solid pick. In fact, most of Merrell’s offerings are solid picks. This particular model does just as well with adults, as it does with its kid sizes.
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Comfort: Aside from the minor drawback of being a bit difficult for some kids to put on, the hiker performs really well in most environments that you would most likely venture through with your children in tow.

Traction: The traction on the Merrell Capra Mid makes these boots have excellent grip. Their lugs will make sure your child is able to walk easily.

Breathability: The reinforced yet breathable upper construction really holds up quite well to the hurt kids can often put on a pair of boots. Especially for a pair intended for more rugged use.

Quality: The Capra is a great all-around boot, offering a lot of excellent features. Its high-quality materials mean it’ll last and you’ll wind up with a durable pair of boots for your child if you purchase them.
Pros
  • Removable footbed
  • Excellent traction
  • Durable materials
Cons
  • A bit narrow

Columbia Youth Newton Ridge

Columbia Youth Newton Ridge
Columbia’s Youth Newton Ridge Boots bring you a lightweight, comfortable boot option for your child’s outdoor explorations. With a lot of great traction and a nice ventilation system, your child will love wearing these boots each time he or she puts them on.
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Comfort: As a whole, the Columbia Newton Ridge Hiking Boot is very lightweight, which many children who enjoy running are bound to enjoy. These boots also come equipped with a compression molded EVA insole for even added comfort.

Traction: The Columbia Youth Newton Ridge Waterproof Hiking Boot will offer your child all the traction they need thanks to their durable and grippy rubber outsole. The excellent traction will always help your child get to where he or she needs to go.

Breathability: These boots are equally as breathable as they are waterproof thanks to the textile mesh material that Columbia has installed in them. Your child’s feet won’t overheat from sweat, and there’s a lot of great ventilation in this boot.
Quality: One of the selling points of these boots is their completely waterproof construction thanks to their PU coated leather. All in all, these are boots ready to tackle any kind of outdoor terrain.
Pros
  • Great cushioning
  • Membrane keeps it waterproof even behind laces
Cons
  • A little stiff

Timberland Pawtuckaway

Timberland Pawtuckaway
The Timberland Pawtuckaway is a lightweight, high-quality boot option that will get your child going to whatever destiny he or she plans. With great traction and rustproof material, you’ll get a pair of boots that is very durable and will last for a long time.
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Comfort: First of all, these boots are highly comfortable thanks to their internal cushioning and adjustable laces to ensure a proper fit. This cushioning is also lightweight and the boot is a very breathable boot thanks to its breathable mesh system.

Traction: This boot offers excellent traction and is easily one of its main selling points. These boots were tested in multiple different conditions and are even marketed as being for different environments.

Breathability: The Timberland Pawtuckaway is a highly breathable boot with a good ventilation system in it. You won’t have to worry about your child’s feet feeling too sweaty or overheating whenever he or she wears the boots.

Quality: The Timberland Pawtuckaway has an overall excellent build quality thanks to its full grain leather material and hardware that is rustproof. However, it does lack an internal liner, meaning these boots are not fully waterproof. Even though the full grain leather on the outside will likely resist most of the water or moisture your child encounters, it’s still something to think about.
Pros
  • Protective toe overlay
  • Great traction & all day comfort
Cons
  • Not 100% waterproof

 

The Criteria We Used To Find The Best Kid’s Hiking Boots

So, what are some things you can look for when you are researching to select a pair of hiking boots for your child? Obviously, you want to make sure you purchase something your child loves to wear, and feels comfortable in, or else you’ll wind up wasting your money and your child will never want to put his or her boots on. While many people stay brand loyal and tend to want to buy a pair of boots from a brand similar to their own, your child’s needs might be different from your own needs. So, you’ll need to consider that he or she needs to like the boot, and it can’t just be from your favorite brand. More important than choosing a specific brand of hiking boots for your child will be to choose a boot that offers the perfect combination of the primary qualities that you need. If you want to purchase a pair of hiking boots that will be the most ergonomic, resilient, and long lasting for your child, these will be the top qualities that you must look for:

COMFORT

As we have touched on several times in this article already, the first and foremost quality that your selected children’s boot must meet is comfort. If your child does not enjoy wearing their boots, then they are most likely not going to enjoy going out on hiking trips with you either. This is why the comfort of your boots of choice are so important. You’ll want to make sure you select a quality pair of boots that your child loves wearing, so how your child feels when he or she wears the boots will be an important factor. Make sure you focus on your child’s comfort and feel while wearing the boots, ask questions to your child to make sure the boots feel well, and allow your child to have some range of opinion with this choice.

It’s very crucial that you research the comfort qualities for the boots as much as possible, while also keeping in mind certain factors that your child may require, such as high arches, flat feet, for pronation. The best method to determine what the most quality pair are will be to have your child actually try them on physically to see what they like.

Many of the boots on our list offer many comfortable cushioning options, like EVA cushioning and other types of materials that can help with shock absorption.  Make sure you take a look at the level of cushioning your child needs and remember, it’s almost always best to take your child to the store and try the boots on.

TRACTION

As we have also discussed throughout this guide already, the traction of your boots cannot be called into question. In fact, the primary point of difference between any normal footwear and hiking boots is specifically the traction. Hiking boots are designed to be worn in rough environments consisting of uneven terrain and natural elements such as rain and wind. If a pair of boots are unable to grip slippery surfaces properly, you should reject them.

Depending on the type of hiking boots you buy, traction and grip can vary. When you’re trying to assess how good the traction on a pair of boots might be, make sure to look at the sole on the boots. Good, grippy soles are usually made out of a rubber base, and include features like lugs and other materials to help the boot grip well in any type of terrain. So, look for those good, hard rubber soles with strong lugs and a good grip system so that your child will feel comfortable on all types of terrain.

One of the best ways to test how the traction feels is to allow your child to try on the pairs of boots you are both interested in. Usually, by simply walking around in a store, you can assess a lot about traction and the overall feel of the boot. So, don’t forget to go to the store, have your child try them on, walk around, and feel out the situation.

BREATHABILITY

Breathability may not be a quality you want in a pair of winter hiking boots where warmth and insulation will be the primary factors you want to look for instead. That being said, for hiking boots intended for any other purpose, breathability should be a primary point of concern.

The breathability of the boot simpler refers to the amount of ventilation that they provide for the wearer, allowing the insides of the footwear to air our properly and reduce the impact of sweating. A good ventilation system helps to add extra comfort to your child’s feet. He or she won’t feel perspiration building up, and cutting back on odor as well, which is also a great benefit for healthy feet.

Breathability is a very important factor because it also helps to provide more comfort, and overall great feeling when on the move. So, find something that will keep your little one’s feet comfortable, and make sure the ventilation system allows for the added comfort your child will want whenever he or she is active with you on the trails. The better ventilation, the better comfort, and the better your child will feel for long periods of time. So, if you plan on taking some long outings with your child, you can make sure he or she feels more comfortable for that by getting boots that offer a great ventilation system.

BUILD QUALITY

The build quality of any boot simply refers to the materials it is made out of and whether it is built to last. You will never want to invest in a pair of hiking boots for your child that are not made to stand up to the tasks that they are intended to perform. You want to make sure you get something that is durable and stable, and will keep your child happy and going for long periods of time. So, quality will tell you a lot about how long the boots will last, as well as how well they will perform each time you use them.

Pay very close attention to the specific materials that the boot is made out of. Leather or nylon are two examples of high quality materials that are often used for making hiking boots. They have proved to withstand adverse conditions for extended periods of time and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of them. You want to make sure you get a decent boot that will do a good job of protecting your child’s feet and also offer that extra boost of performance. So, make sure you don’t go too cheap with the quality of the boots, because you want to make sure your child gets the stability and support he or she needs when out on the trails.

 

Other Things Worth Considering

SOLE

The sole of the hiking boot is what provides it with its support, cushioning, and overall stability. You want to make sure that your boot appropriately fits your child for both their personal foot and for the role the boot is intended for. The sole is important for stability and how well the boot performs each time your child wears them. So, pay attention to what the boot offers, and make sure you measure that against what you know your child needs. With that information, you should be able to make a good decision and buy the right pair of boots to fit your child’s needs.

WEIGHT

Some hiking boots are heavy, others are light, and most are somewhere in between. There is no definitive answer here as to how much your boot should weigh, though generally speaking hiking boots made for the summer should be lighter as they offer greater movement and breathability while those made for the winter should be heavier as they offer improved insulation. Think about what your child will be using the boot for and base your purchase off of that. Depending on how lightweight you think your child needs his or her boots to be, consider the weight factor in that. Some children feel better with more lightweight boots, while others don’t mind the heaviness of other styles. If you aren’t sure what type of weight might be better for your child, then take your child to the store and have him or her try on some lightweight boots, and try to measure them against how your child feels when they are on your child’s feet. Sometimes, simply trying the boots on is the best way to measure how comfortable your child feels with the weight of the boots.

PROTECTION

The protection of a boot refers to two things: how well it protects the feet against the ground and against moisture. The outsole is what goes into direct contact with the group, and you don’t want to feel any kind of roughness from uneven or jagged surfaces whatsoever. This goes right along nicely with the build quality of the product, because poor quality hiking footwear will not going to be very durable in rough environments. If you know you will be outdoors and your child’s feet are likely to get wet, or you live in a wetter climate, then you’ll want to consider purchasing some boots with waterproof protection. Keeping your child’s feet dry when you are out on the trails can help cut back on days where your child might feel miserable with wet socks. Even worse, if the interior area of the boots do get wet, they can tend to rub more and cause blisters, and that’s certainly something you’ll want to avoid. So, consider the level of waterproofing protection you’ll need, and remember, even if it costs a bit more, it’s certainly a feature you’ll want your child to have so he or she feels comfortable when on the trails.

 

FAQ

Q: Do I need to consider how much my child might grow when I select a pair of hiking boots for my child?

Remember that when on the market for a pair of children’s boots, if you want those boots to last your child for as long as possible you want to purchase ones that offer plenty of growing room, or else you may end up using the boots for only a single season (if not less). Something else to look for is proper support that will allow your child’s foot to grow properly while also offering plenty of protection from moving, jumping, and running. So, do take into account any possible growth, since that can affect your child’s overall comfort when he or she wears the boot. If you are investing in a decent pair of boots, you also want to make sure you get the most use out of them for your money.

Q: What do I need to consider before purchasing a pair of hiking boots for my child?

When purchasing hiking boots for your children, you need to look for the exact same qualities that you would look for in boots for yourself or any adult. The days where children’s footwear, in general, used to not be made to the same level of standards as adult’s general footwear are long gone, as all ten of the boots that we have covered in this article should show you. That’s good news, because most children’s boots are excellent nowadays, and offer a lot of protection, stability, and support that your child will need when out on the trails.

Q: What do I need to know about boot quality before purchasing a pair of boots for my child?

Don’t skimp on the quality of the boots when looking for boots for your child. Hiking boots are intended to be put through rough environments and your children’s boots should be no exception. Waterproof qualities, durable materials such as leather or nylon mesh, proper comfort, and excellent traction over uneven terrain are all factors that must be taken into account when purchasing a pair of boots for your child. You want to consider every factor, and the features you know your child will need to feel comfortable when out on the trails.

Q: What do I need to know about arch support?

One of the largest impacts on the overall comfort of the boot will be on how much arch support it offers. Poor arch support will not just make the boot be unpleasant to wear; it can also cause tenderness or soreness in the foot after it has been worn for an extended amount of time.

Q: Do I need to consider purchasing waterproof boots?

Making sure the boots are fully waterproof is also a quality that you do not want to overlook. If you’ve done enough hiking already, you no doubt know your boots can come into contact with rain, humidity, streams, or muddy places on the ground. If a pair of boots are unable to resist water to keep the feet dry, you will not want to consider them.

Q: What do I need to consider about the style of the boots?

While it has very little to do with the overall quality of the boot, the style of your boot is also something to think strongly about. Even if your selected boot meets all of the qualities above, if your child dislikes the looks of it in anyway than he or she is not going to want to wear it.

For this reason, make sure your child is pleased with the looks of the boot before making a purchase. You also want the overall aesthetic design of the boots to be relevant to other currently styles and for the colors to match.

 

 

Sources

  1. Backpackjer, Gear: Choosing the Right Pair of Hiking Boots, Informational Hiking Website, Jul 06, 2017
  2. Jessica Sanders, 5 Tips For Choosing Hiking Boots, Informational Hiking Website, Nov 15, 2017
  3. Ryan Huetter and Ross Robinson, How To Choose The Best Hiking Boots, Informational Hiking Website, Oct 15, 2017