One of the most important features in hiking boots is their waterproofing ability. Most hiking trails are crisscrossed with small rivers and streams, if not bigger ones. With you hit such areas you really want something that is waterproof. While waterproof material is great, many times you just cannot avoid submerging your feet in the water completely. In such cases just waterproof shoes are not useful; you also need breathable shoes that will dry out quickly. So these are the two main aspects of any waterproof hiking books.
Many times the waterproofing features adds quite a few dollars to the shoe price and this can be a huge setback for many people. Some people even contemplate not getting the waterproofing and just using the regular boots. While this sounds like a great decision, it will not take you many hikes to realize that it is a mistake. Waterproof boots are absolutely necessary, if you are a hiking enthusiast. On the trails, you never know what you will encounter and this terrain you will traverse. You should not be limited with what you can enjoy because you do not have the right boots.
There are three popular designs for waterproofed hiking boots.
a) Oil based hiking boots: In these boots the leather is coated with oil to make it waterproof. While this is a highly effective solution, most oil based hiking books do not have a long life.
b) Wax Based hiking boots: These are one of the most effective hiking boots available. They last long and can waterproof the shoes very effectively. However, waxing the shoes can seal the breathing holes in the shoes. What this means is that if your socks ever get wet, it will take long to dry.
c) Silicone hiking boots: These are also very popular waterproofing techniques used in many shoes. The problem with this though is that the boots can crack easily which puts a question mark on their longevity.
Hiking boots are sturdy, long lasting and really great footwear for hiking, but price is always a premium with these boots. On the other hand, some people have found waterproof hiking shoes cheaper and easier to maintain. Boots offer a better level of protection as compared to shoes. But if you are not so keen on long treacherous hikes, shoes would substitute boots well.
Lastly coming to purchasing the waterproof hiking boots, you can get them in stores or online. At the stores, you get to try out these shoes, see if they fit you and make a purchase. However, stores may not the complete range of shoe models in them.
If you purchase it online, you will not get to try the shoes out before purchasing, so you need to know your boot size and also understand the store return policies well, before making the purchase.