Q. I want to buy some hiking boots and I was looking at some different brands. What boot brands do you like and what else should I consider when shopping for hiking boots?
— Bootless Casey, Tuscola, Tex.
A. My favorite hiking boot brand is the one that fits me best. Seriously, there are a bunch of great brands out there like Vasque, Merrell, Lowa, Hi-Tec, La Sportiva, Tecnica—the list goes on. With so many great choices, your main job is to narrow them down. First off, price. Find several pair that fit your budget and then try them all on. Walk around the store. Hop around. Climb around. Just make sure they fit correctly and feel good. Brand and cool styling should be secondary because there’s nothing cool about 20 miles of blisters in a pair of ill-fitting boots.