Hiking Socks: 2-4 pairs

  • Wool or synthetic
  • Must be taller than the ankle of your hiking boot
  • Brands to look for: Thorlo®, Smartwool®, or other equivalent brands

Hiking boots: 1 pair

NOTEFailure to bring over the ankle hiking boots designed for carrying heavy packs approximately 40-50 lbs over rough trails will result in dismissal from the LandSea program without a refund at your own expense, including forfeiture of fees and transportation home.

For the LandSea program, we require boots that are designed for:

  1. Hiking long distances (approximately 5-8 mi per day)
  2. through rough terrain
  3. while carrying a heavy pack (approximately 40-50 lbs).

This type of boot will provide ample support and allow you to safely participate in the LandSea activities. Boots made for this type of trip will be harder to break in than many of the lightweight ones you will see, but are definitely worth it in the long run. Make sure that you have your boots well broken in before arriving in the Adirondacks.

Expect to pay $100 to $200 for your boots. Cheaper ones are usually less expensive for a reason! With boots, you cannot compromise on quality– they will be your most important piece of equipment in the wilderness. There are a variety of reputable brands including: Asolo®, Danner®, Merrill®, Montrail®, Raichle®, and Vasque®, to name a few. Other brands of boots that provide comparable features and support are acceptable. The brand that is best for you is the one that best fits your feet!

Features to Consider

Ankle Support:

We require boots that fit above the ankle, as they will provide support for your ankle and lower leg and protect your ankles from painful sprains. 

Boots that are constructed of full-grain leather with few seams are very durable.

All leather boots are supportive and can easily be waterproofed. Materials such as GorTex® are often used in combination with or instead of leather, which is also great as long as the boots provide enough support.

Ability to withstand water:
Waterproof boots are important for LandSea. Both full-grain leather and some synthetic materials can help keep your feet dry. It is also recommended to buy a waterproofing treatment that can be applied to your boots.

The lining of the boots can be made of synthetic materials or leather. In general, full or partial-leather linings are more durable than the linings made with synthetic materials. Leather linings will mold to your feet after being broken in. Synthetic linings will usually dry quicker.

The soles should be thick and rigid and provide plenty of traction so you can safely walk on wet or slippery rocks. Most likely, you’ll want semi-rigid plastic mid-soles or half-length shanks that will make the boot stiff enough to protect your feet from rocky trails. These should also provide good flexibility at the balls of your feet.

REI has an in-depth article on how to choose the best boot.
Options for where to buy hiking boots:
REI Outlet
DICK’s Sporting Goods
Remember to look locally for boots too! They can often be found at local
shoe stores and boot dealers.

Tips for Proper Sizing

No matter how good the boots are, they will be inefficient—and even painful—if they do not fit properly.

  • Find the general size first. If possible, have your feet measured by an experienced sales person.
  • Try on many different styles and sizes by a variety of manufactures to find the style and size that work best for you.
  • When determining the correct length of your hiking boots, allow for a bit more room in the toes than is normal for most shoes. You should be able to kick your foot to the ground without your toes touching the front of the shoe. This assures that when you are hiking down steep trails, your toes will not hit or rub up against the front of the boot, which will lead to blisters.
  • After the correct length is found, then evaluate width. Boots often come in wide, medium, and narrow. When assessing the width, it is important that your feet fit comfortably inside, yet snugly. This is especially true in the heel. It is recommended that your heel move no more than ¼ of an inch in any direction. However, you should be able to wiggle your toes and flex your ankles comfortably.
  • Try all boots on with the same socks that you will be wearing to hike. A small variation in sock size can change the fit of the boot dramatically.
  • When you find a pair of boots that fit well, you will know.

Where to Purchase Boots

Hiking boots can be found at most outdoor stores. Sales personnel will be able to assist you in finding the right boots as well as answer questions you might have. We recommend buying boots in person rather than through the mail, over the phone, or on the web in order to ensure a better fit. Buy your boots early so you will have plenty of time to break them in!

How to Break In Your Boots

The sooner you start breaking in your boots, the more comfortable they will be for LandSea! As soon as you get your boots, begin by wearing them 2-3 hours a day with the same sock combination you will be using on LandSea. Begin wearing your boots full-time for 1-2 weeks before the program begins. The more active you are in your boots, the quicker they will be broken in– sweat and movement are the key factors! Remember, the break-in period for different boots varies widely. It is essential that your boots be well broken in before participating in LandSea!