Hiking can be extremely enjoyable, until you reach the top of a mountain and realize that your feet are sore, bruised, and blistered. Then, hiking back down the mountain turns into a painful nightmare, and you end up spending the next few days seeing the podiatrist and soaking your sore, battered feet. Luckily, there is one key way to prevent foot issues on the hike, and that is choosing the right boots.

There are hundreds of types of hiking boots on the market, and personal preference plays a large role in determining which one is the best for you. However, if you want to keep your feet healthy, you must steer clear of hiking boots that do not have these qualities:

Ankle Support

How many times have you stepped funny and twisted your ankle? If you do that at the top of a mountain, you'll have a pretty hard time limping down. Boots that come up and cover your ankle prevent you from rolling it when stepping over a tree root or scrambling up rocks.

Moisture-Wicking Liners

One of the biggest contributing factors to blister formation is wet skin. Hiking boots with moisture-wicking liners keep water and sweat away from your skin, reducing your risk of painful blisters. Make sure you also wear moisture-wicking socks, especially if you're prone to blisters.

Water Resistant or Waterproof Exteriors

You never quite know when you're going to come across a wide puddle that you can't quite jump across. Just because it's dry at the trailhead does not mean there won't be water a few miles away. Water-resistant boots are sufficient if you hike mostly in dry areas, but you'll want fully waterproof boots if you have plans to hike in muddy terrain.

Arch Support

Walking around the neighborhood might not put too much strain on your arches, but hiking miles up and down a mountain certainly does. A lack of arch support can cause injuries such as plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the connective tissue along the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis requires plenty of rest to treat, so if you attempt a long hike in shoes without adequate support, you may find yourself having to stay home for the rest of the season.

Many hikers have to take time off due to foot injuries. Though other factors, such as lack of training, can contribute to these injuries, every hiker can considerably reduce the risk of foot injuries just by choosing the right boots. For more tips, talk to a professional like Advanced Foot & Ankle Center of Palatine.