When you buy a pair of hiking or climbing boots, you want make sure the fit is exactly right. Strolling around on the carpet at the outdoor store is not going to help much.
But, you also can’t go tromping around outside and expect to bring the boots back if they don’t fit.
So . . . you need a way to give them a decent test drive, while keeping them in pristine condition.
A great way to check for a good fit (and break them in a bit if you decide to keep them) is to wear them on a treadmill at a gym. Use the thicker socks you’d normally wear with them, and for about 15 minutes keep the treadmill flat. Then gradually increase the angle of the treadmill, which will quickly tell about the fit in the blister-prone heel! Wearing a pack with 20-30 lbs is a further refinement. Go for at least 30 minutes.
Sure, you’re going to get a few strange looks from other people in the gym, but that’s part of the fun.
If they fit, keep them. If you think you can do better, no worries, take ‘em back.
No gym membership? Most gyms offer a free one day guest pass.