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It's not just women who care about a good pair of shoes. In the case of men's hiking boots, quality and durability is important. All good boots provide good protection on the sides. Hiking boot sides should be heavy with extra padding to protect your foot from stones, rocks, and branches you may step on. These could gouge into the side of the boot. Some fabric boots have protective "welts" 1/2-inch or more up from the soles to give added protection.