/ Women's hiking boots for broken ankle - advice needed

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Ildiko - on 31 Aug 2018

After breaking my ankle in April while hiking in the Lakes I only just started to walk properly, but I still have to do physio and I'm far from walking up hills. I'm planning to visit New Zealand next May hoping to be able to do some serious hiking there. 

But I need to replace my Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Womens Hiking Boots since they have started to leak and I'm not really sure what I shall go for now that I need extra ankle support. I quiet like Salomon boots but would the high rise boots give enough support. 

Any suggestions would be welcomed or if someone could point me the right direction where I could look into this?

Post edited at 13:41
Rigid Raider - on 31 Aug 2018
In reply to Ildiko:

The question of ankle support has been in my mind most of my life as I'm a serial ankle-sprainer. I've reached the conclusion that ankle support is an impossible quest if you expect a boot to be comfortable and flexible enough to allow your ankles to match the terrain. At its most extreme you could try walking in a plastic ski touring boot; you would never sprain or break an ankle but it would be grossly uncomfortable and you'd probably break a knee instead. 

My most recent devastating sprain happened on pavement while wearing very flat-soled brogues, I think because my ankle was able to go over easily being so weak and the heel probably went onto a paving slab edge. My casual shoes on the other hand are very soft and flexible but the foot bed cups the heel securely, meaning I am less fearful of the ankle going over. I have seen an orthoticist who confirmed this belief. So after years of ankle sprains I've concluded that it's heel support I need, not a boot that's stiff around the ankle. Hope this helps.

Jon Greengrass on 31 Aug 2018
In reply to Ildiko:

Boots are to keep your feet dry, the exercises from your physio will build the muscles required to support your ankle, do you have a wobble board?

Babika - on 31 Aug 2018
In reply to Ildiko:

About 10 weeks after breaking my fibula I did a couple of big mountains in Bosnia and Croatia. I have Meindl boots that are comfortable, supportive and also pretty waterproof. They're a bit more heavy duty than most Salomans but they work for me. 

Do your physio religiously - I bought a wobble board and definately take a pair of walking poles! 

Good luck! 

girlymonkey - on 31 Aug 2018
In reply to Ildiko:

strengthen your ankle. Boots will never stop you going over on it again, strong muscles and good proprioception will. I used to sprain ankles all the time, I snapped all the ligaments in one and had to have reconstructive surgery. Eventually, I stopped wearing boots and worked on ankle strength. I now only wear boots of a sustained bog trot and wear trail shoes for everything else in summer conditions. (Boots are still necessary in winter!).

Build it up gently and get it really strong!  

summo on 31 Aug 2018
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> , do you have a wobble board?

Agree. Everyone has one already. Improvise. Clean your teeth stood on one leg. Alternate am/pm. Build up over time to one leg calf raise at the same time. Pretty good for balance too. (I'm rubbish at them). Combine this with one of the big rubber bands and some professional instruction there isn't much you can't do. Discipline is key, takes a fair while to build up strength and flexibility again. 

I'm currently recovering from a displaced cubiod bone (under ankle) that I wrecked when I wiped out racing downhill through heavy under growth. 

Post edited at 15:58
damowilk on 31 Aug 2018
In reply to Ildiko:

It’s interesting to see the other replies on this thread: ankle support from boots is mostly a myth, evidence shows that they don’t affect the rate of sprains or fractures, but the interesting bit is that this message seems to be getting out there! Not so much in NZ yet, the average footwear in the tramping club I go out with sometimes is big, leather and clunky. Partly this is due to the scrub and scree being hard on lighter footwear.

I use lightweight footwear here like Inov8s for everything below the snow line, and replace them about yearly. There’s a lot of river crossings here, so it’s good to have quick drying footwear.

I’d second all the previous advice about the most important thing being building up your lateral support and proprioception with wobble boards etc.

oldie - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to Ildiko:

As per previous posts ankle suport from boots seems dubious. The following is from UKC forums: Trail runners vs hiking boots.
"My partner works for a company that makes many of the boots that you buy for hiking. ..... they regularly joke about it.  "Ankle support" sells boots, but doesn't protect your ankles. .... The only reasons for wearing high boots are a) warmth, b) waterproofing and c) sole stiffness for crampons. Equally, I work in the forces and a particularly pointy part of the forces where we spend a lot of time on our feet. Ankle MSKI due to  boots being low is being debunked and people are regularly running long distances with weights from 15-30kg and little to no "mechanical ankle support" and mski are reduced."

If you really need ankle suport then maybe you could get professional advice on orthotics, but you probably have ample time to strengthen your ankles before your May hiking as suggested in the previous replies. I increasingly find I like lighter footwear which helps me place my feet more precisely (and decreases fatigue).

Personally I still use high ankled boots but it may be that they feel better because the high lacing helps grip the foot better rather than giving ankle support (somewhat similar to the heel cups in another reply).

As mentioned in the post from NZ, goretex etc=slow drying if water gets over the top. I don't know if anyone ever considers carrying some form of beach type footwear just for river crossings. Incidentally it may be flexing hiking boots are particularly likely to stress a water resistant membrane compared to stiff soled mountain boots

If you liked your Salomons and don't blame them for your ankle fracture then perhaps a replacement pair or even just try Sealskinz socks in the old boots first (I sometimes use plastic bags but unlikely to appeal to many!).

damowilk on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to oldie:


The problem with changing footwear for river crossings in NZ, is that there are so bloody many! Additionally, they are frequently “proper” crossings, fast flowing, up to waist, uneven bottoms, so you’d want something substantial for them, not just some flip flops. I do remember one trip where a guy had brought crocs for the crossings. After the second time of waiting for him laboriously swapping out of his boots, and knowing how many more there were, someone suggested he adopt the kiwi style: straight through, in your boots, with barely a deviation or slowing down.


alicia - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to Ildiko:

I’m not totally sure why people are assuming that physio exercises and boots are an either/or situation. It is perfectly possible to be performing a solid daily physio routine AND wearing boots whilst waiting for the injury to achieve full strength!

I had a serious foot injury 7 months ago which resulted in loss of my peroneus brevis, the tendon that controls ankle eversion. At this point I can run for 6-7 hours at a time whilst wearing boots, but only about 1.5 hours in regular running shoes. Quite a difference!! I use the Hoka Tor Ultra boots. They are surprisingly waterproof, and they’re light for a boot. And no, wearing the boots has not somehow prevented me from continuing my daily physio routine


oldie - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to damowilk:

Thanks. I was thinking more of slip on neoprene type footwear with grippy soles, cheap and widely available at least in UK. However I take your point about continuously taking off and replacing lace up footwear and socks....in fact I use cheap non-waterproof boots for traversing walks and scrambles at sea level where they're likely to get wave soaked.

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