Hiking Boots – Parts And Construction

When shopping for a pair of hiking boots, it is important to know how they are made. No, you do not need to know how to make your own, but you have to understand what goes into them and how it affects the comfort and durability – the overall quality – of the hiking boots. In this article I will describe the parts of a hiking boot, what they are made of, and how they come together to form the ideal hiking boot for you.

Like any shoe, a hiking boot consists of an upper and a sole joined together by a welt and with an inlet at the front covered by a tongue, and the whole is lined with various pads and cushions. I will discuss each of those parts in detail, in terms of what they are made of and what to look for in various types of hiking boots.

Sole and Welt

Let's start at the bottom. The soul of the hiking boot is the sole.

Soles are usually made of synthetic rubber in varying degrees of hardness. A harder sole will last longer, but generally will have poorer Traction on hard surfaces (such as bare rock) and will provide less cushioning. A softer sole gives you the cushioning you need for long hikes and the transaction you need on rough ground, but it will wear out faster.

Manufacturers have made their trade-offs in choosing the materials to make their boots out of. The final choice is up to you when you choose which boot to buy. If you expect to do most of your hiking on soft surfaces, such as desert sand or bare soil, you might lean more towards harder soles. But most of us hike on fairly rugged trails with a good deal of bare rock, and we need the traction of a softer sole.

Inside the sole is a shank. It is a stiffening structure, either fiberglass or steel, that prevails the sole of the boot from twisting and that provides arch support. Shanks may be only three-quarter or half-length. Hiking shoes generally have no shank at all, deriving all their stiffness from the molded rubber sole. Good day-hiking boots may have a full-length fiberglass shank. High-quality backpacking boots will give you the choice of fiberglass or steel. It will depend on how strong you need your hiking boots to be, and how heavy.

Look for deep, knobby tread. Deep cuts in the sole allow water and mud to flow out so you can get traction. "Fake" hiking boots, designed to look like hiking boots but not to perform like them, may have thinner soles and shallow tread. Working boots also may have shallow tread, and they generally have harder soles than hiking boots have.

The welt is the connection between the sole and the upper. Virtually all hiking boots these days are glued together rather than sewn. If you are buying a very expensive pair of backpacking boots, give preference to a sewn welt. Boots with a sewn welt will be easier to resole when the original sole wears out. For hiking shoes or day-hiking boots, when the sole wears out, the upper is not worth salvaging, either, so a glued welt is just fine.

Upper

The upper of the hiking boot brings warmth, protects the sides of your feet from rocks and brush, and repels water. It must also allow your feet to "breathe," so that moisture from perspiration will not build up inside the boots and cause blisters.

Uppers of hiking boots are usually at least partially made of leather. High-quality backpacking boots are often made of full-grain leather (leather that has not been split). Lighter boots may be made of split-grain leather (leather that has been split or sued on one side), or a combination of split-grain leather with various fabrics.

Fabrics that are combined with leather are usually some type of nylon. Heavy nylon wears almost as well as leather, and it is much lighter and cheaper than leather.

In any hiking boot, especially those made of combinations of leather and fabric, there will be seams. Seams are bad. Seams are points of failure. Seams are points of wear, as one panel of the boot rubs against another. Seams are penetrations that are difficult to waterproof.

The uppers of backpacking boots are sometimes made of a single piece of full-grain leather with only one seam at the back. This is good, for all the reasons that seams are bad, but it is expensive.

You're going to have to deal with seams. But as you shop for hiking boots, look for customer reviews that mention failure or undue wearing of the seams, and avoid those brands.

Inlet and Tongue

There are two things to look for in the inlet and the tongue:

1. How the laces are attached and adjusted

2. How the tongue is attached to the sides of the inlet

The inlet may be provided with eyelets, D-rings, hooks, and webbing, alone or in combination. They each have these advantages and disadvantages:

* Eyelets: Simplest and most durable way to lace a boot. Not so easily adjusted.

* D-rings: Easier to adjust than eyelets, more durable than hooks. More failure-prone than eyelets. (They can break, and they can tear out of the leather.)

* Hooks: Easiest to adjust of all lace attachments. Subject to getting hooked on brush, or bent or broken in impacts with boulders, main cause of breakage of laces.

* Webbing: Cause less chafing of laces, slightly easier to adjust than eyelets, slightly more durable than D-rings. More failure-prone than eyelets.

The most common lace attachment of any hiking boot is eyelets below ankle-level and hooks above. You may see eyelets all the way up, as in classic military-style combat boots, or a combination of either D-rings or webbing with hooks.

The attachment of the tongue is a critical factor in how waterproof the hiking boots are. Provided the leather and / or fabric and seams of the upper are waterproof, water will not get into the boots until it gets higher than the attachment point of the tongue.

Most hiking shoes and day-hiking boots have the tongue attached all the way to the top. If the tongue is not fully attached, consider carefully wherever you will need that extra inch or two of waterproofing.

High-rise backpacking boots have the tongue attached only partway up, but that still reaches higher than most day-hiking boots. It's difficult to get the boot on and off if the tongue is attached very high.

Linings and Pads

There are many pieces that go into the lining and padding of a hiking boot, but two in particular you need to pay attention to:

1. The sole lining

2. The scree collar

The sole lining must be appropriately cushioned. You want a firm, durable surface in immediate contact with your socks, but enough cushioning below that to absorb impact.

The scree collar is a cushion around the top of most hiking boots. It enables you to pull the boots tight enough to keep out loose rocks ("scree") but without chafing against your ankle and Achilles tendon. This is the thickest and softest cushion in the whole hiking boot. It must be soft enough to conform to your ankle and Achilles tendon as they move, and still keep close enough contact with your leg to keep the rocks out.

Very high hiking boots, such as military-style combat boots, may have no scree collar at all. The height of the boot is what keeps the rocks out.

Throughout, the lining and padding of the hiking boots must be thick enough to provide warm, durable enough to last, and smooth enough that it will not cause chafing and blisters.

Conclusion

So, these are the things you need to pay attention to when going a pair of hiking boots. Be prepared to compromise, and pay attention to which features are really important to the style of hiking you intend to do.

Increase Your Conversion Rates With Product Photography

High-quality product photography is an essential tool for driving sales to your eCommerce store. It compensates for customers’ inability to touch and feel the items that you’re selling.

In bricks-and-mortar shops, people would usually try the products on display racks before deciding whether or not to buy them.

When it comes to online shopping, they weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a product based on what they see, not feel.

Unfortunately, sometimes the actual look of a product is different from its picture on a website. When a customer experiences this, they end up disappointed and returning the item.

To avoid returns and increase your conversion rate, create visually-appealing product images that are almost tangible.

5 ways to create quality product photos

Proper lighting can be the big difference between a spectacular product image and one that is, well, second-rate.

Anyone can take pictures using a mobile phone or an instant camera, unmindful of the unsightly elements like shadows, but product photography should always produce shadowless photos.

Ample lighting captures not only the shape of an object but also its actual colour and texture.

Now, remember we mentioned the “touch-and-feel” aspect of shopping and how it matters to a shopper? Taking close-ups breaks the invisible barrier between your product and customers. A close-up allows them to scrutinise your product down to its tiniest detail.

Still on the subject of touching and feeling a product, shoot from as many angles as you can to give customers a three-dimensional view of what you’re selling. That way, they can experience the item as if they’ve walked into your shop and touched it.

Also, you’ll want to add a responsive video, which shows how the product works, alongside your multi-angled photos. Not only will it give your customers a clearer picture of your product, but it will also boost traffic on your website. Besides, who doesn’t love videos?

Most important of all, you have to keep it real because a potential customer will want to see how your product can be used day-to-day. Instead of over-editing a picture in Photoshop until it looks extremely fake, apply it to a real-life situation.

If you’re selling a ball gown, for example, how would you present photos of it to a woman with a nine-to-five job? She’s unlikely to buy it if she only sees a tight shot of the dress, but if you show her when and where to wear it, then you have her attention.

More than increasing traffic on your eCommerce website, these tried-and-tested photography techniques will surely lead to a higher conversion rate.

How do you come up with beautiful product images for your site?

Differences Between Damask, Brocade, and Jacquard

Often times, uneducated individuals use the terms damask, brocade, and Jacquard interchangeably with one another. It can often confuse those who are unfamiliar with the world of fabrics. Jacquard is a decorative or woven pattern that is created by using a Jacquard attachment on a loom. The attachment resembles the punch card on a piano. It is purported to offer better versatility and fabric control for the operator of the loom. The Jacquard technique can be applied to a variety of fabrics, and it is commonly used on brocade and damask fabrics. It is commonly used in a variety of apparel and home goods, from tablecloths to bedding.

Brocade is defined as a lavishly decorated, shuttle woven fabric. It is primarily woven from silk; although, it is possible to find brocade constructed from a blend of silk and synthetic fibers. Often, it will be embroidered with gold or silver thread. Brocade can trace its origins back to India, where weaving is a traditional art form. It is typically woven on a loom, and it may or may not be woven using the Jacquard technique. It is also characterized by the manner in which the brocaded or broached parts of the fabric hang in loose groups or are clipped away. Although the scenes and patterns on brocade appear to have been embroidered, the scenes are actually woven into the fabric using advanced weaving techniques that involve manipulating the weft and weave of the fabric. The most common types of scenes depicted on brocade fabric are those of floral prints.

Damask, similar to brocade, is a fabric that features woven scenes of floral patterns, intricate geometric designs, or simple scenes of domestic life. It may be woven of silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibers. However, it is most commonly created from silk. It is primarily different from brocade in the fact that its woven fabric pattern is reversible, while that of brocade is not. Similarly, shorter weft patterns in damask allow for more subtle effects in the fabric to be created as it plays off of shadow and light. Damask weaves also contain a higher thread count than that of brocade. Double damask weaves are the highest quality of damask produced; however, it is also the most expensive.

Six Awesome Motorcycle Parts to Soup Up Your Hog

Ask any biker: your motorcycle is not only a high-powered vehicle built to create awesome experiences, but also an expression of your personality.

Even though machines come off the lot stacked with great features, there’s always room for modifications. Working on your bike is just one more fun part of ownership, while adding and subtracting components lets you to create the look, feel, and riding experience you desire. Let’s look at some super-cool motorcycle parts you might consider adding or altering to perfect your bike.

1. Frame Sliders and Engine Guards

Frame sliders are very simple add-ons that prevent your frame from touching the ground, in the event that your vehicle tips over. These metal components create a short cushion between ground and bike, preventing impact to your frame. Similarly, engine guards are steel bars that fit over the cycle’s engine to protect it if the craft keels over. Both of these are easy to install, and give you some cheap insurance against frustrating damages.

2. Fender Eliminator Kit

Most bikes come with bulky, unattractive rear fenders. It’s not a surprise, then, that fender eliminators are one of the most common alterations riders make. Look for a good eliminator kit that works with your rear brake light and gives your vehicle a sleeker appearance.

3. Exhaust System

You feel the need for speed, but do you also feel the need for… noise? Many riders are excited about the powerful sound of their engines, and adding an exhaust system gives you control over that sound’s character and intensity. Though this isn’t the cheapest of motorcycle parts, it adds some power to your engine and is usually easy to install. With so many systems that create unique sounds, you have control over how you announce yourself to the streets.

4. Air Filter

The air filter is the exhaust system’s partner in crime. If you opt for a new exhaust system, you’ll need a filter that can handle it. Air filters heighten performance by keeping the engine clean and aerated. Well-maintained filters can last for tens of thousands of miles, so it’s smart to invest in a good one.

5. Custom Suspension

Suspension is much different for motorcycles than it is for cars. A biker’s weight is much higher in comparison to his or her vehicle’s weight. When you buy a bike, have the suspension adjusted precisely to handle your weight. Very few riders do this, but it makes for optimal handling and performance once you hit the road.

6. High-Performance Tires

Tires are crucial motorcycle parts. Good ones allow you to ride on a wider range of surfaces, while also optimizing handling and fuel efficiency. The tires included with new bikes are functional, but basic. Look for tough, high-performance tires that are built for the kinds of surfaces you plan to encounter – it will make a big difference in the feel of each ride.

Working on your bike can be just as fun as riding it. With these motorcycle parts and modifications, you can transform a good machine into a great one.