It took me a Mt. Wilson peak (5713 ft/1741 m), a Mt. Baldy peak (10068 ft/3069 m), two Inca Trail peaks (12795 ft/3900m and 13776ft/4199m), and four lost toenails to finally realize that maybe my hiking boots are not quite right for me.
I walked into the REI Santa Monica store with my old boots in hand, walked right up to the first associate I saw at the shoe department, and said "I need help!". She hesitated for a moment, cocked her head to the side, and asked "Shoes?". She inquired about what I was planning to do and how much weight I would be carrying. Then proceeded to measure my feet at which point I learned that hiking boots (much like running shoes) should be a size bigger than your regular size. Obviously, mine weren't...
She showed me three options, and told me to try them out on the inclined rock formation in the corner to make sure my toes had enough room going downhill. One pair was too heavy, one pair was too stiff, and the last pair was perfect. After I made my purchase, I walked a block to the local Goodwill, and donated my old boots for someone else to enjoy them.
Hello new boots
Goodbye old boots
Oh, yes, the new boots have Red on their soles! :)