When speaking about shoes in terms of hiking, I’m normally talking about trail running or hiking-specific shoes. I have friends who hike in Chucks. But that isn’t most of us. We could make a slight exception for trekking-worthy sandals like Tevas or Chacos here. Many human beings genuinely sandal up for long hikes whilst it’s hot. But I’ve busted my feet on rocky hikes, and it sucks. Protecting your feet could make the distinction between a very ugly hike and a brilliant one.
Exceptions aside, an excellent pair of hiking shoes boast some matters that most boots can’t beat.
The first is a lack of weight. And for long distances, cutting weight to your feet is a literal godsend. If you have joint problems or weaknesses in your legs, cutting weight is crucial for comfort. Like, severe knee problems for years and was capable of maintaining more activeness thanks to uber-plush, lightweight hiking shoes. Another aspect that I love about trail runners is their capacity to dry out fast on the fly. Mesh, GORE-TEX
, synthetics, and more combine to either keep water out or dry very fast.
This additionally lends itself much better to maintaining feet aired out on hot days. Put on summer weight merino socks and you haven’t got a blister in years with this method. I’ll add that I individually don’t restrict hiking shoes to low-profile sneakers. Most manufacturers provide a huge sort of mid- or high-top sneaker-style “boots.” If a boot seems like a sneaker, walks like a sneaker, and is priced like a sneaker, it’s a damn sneaker.
Most oldsters will speak about the lack of ankle balance when they speak about their reluctance to shop for hiking shoes or trail runners. I’ll counter this by saying that a boot doesn’t always assure that balance. I’ve rolled ankles in both boots and shoes. However, when I put on a sneaker that offers my foot what it desires support-wise, I don’t tend to roll my ankles. I suggest an ankle brace if you have specific issues; it will offer legitimate support.
That said, the max shoes lack stiffness. This proves difficult if you are an off-trail hiker who can shore from time to time to get from one area to another. It can also be problematic for those who need a stiff, extra accessory rather than a plush, shock-absorbing effect. And even though you can find many cheaper options, I don’t expect my trail runners to last much longer than the summer-to-fall season. Most companies say their shoes will last about 500 miles. But if you’re an energetic mountaineer like me, I’d say the terrain dictates that put more than mileage.
Whereas the terrain will probably set in motion a little extra protection than your average hiking shoe. And of course, shoes run the gamut, and that they do so slightly more differently than shoes. A tall, tight boot will provide exceptional support off-trail or on rocky terrain. Plus, an insulated tall boot will keep your feet warm while keeping you rocking. Some older people prefer a stiffer boot when packing even heavier weights. The added support and fairly defined traction can be a real lifesaver in high alpine, rocky and snowy terrain.
Boots also allow for a wide variety of specialized activities
. For example, mountain climbing and hunting-specific shoes solve so many problems that a shoe can’t solve the tamer terrain they create. And the variety of their materials is wide, from leather to high-tech synthetics. Boots are truly the 4×4’s of the shoe world. If you’re going off-trail for whatever reason, shoes are probably in your future.
You can spend it on a good hiking boot that will meet the needs of, particularly intense terrain. The versatility of the boots allows them to be little more than a pocketbook wipeout than your average hiking shoe. But, the high quality you pay for lasts a lot longer than your normal shoe. Most shoes are heavier than boots, and they tend to hold in more heat. The denser material supports the foot and ankle, but they are often thick and not breathable.
Boots additionally require a more precise break-in period. If they don’t require a break-in period, they’re probably what I’d call sneaker boots, and you can assume that their long-term durability won’t be impressive. Blisters are not uncommon in the break-in period, so keep sessions short in the beginning. A general rule of thumb is to run 30 miles in shoes before committing to a hard day in them. It can take them all over the house, to the grocery store, and general errands. If you are style-conscious, this will be a dramatic but necessary trip to the dark aspect of street fashion
Should I increase boots or shoes?
An appropriate pair of shoes provides the required amount of support, protection from the elements, and comfort that makes them forgettable. Thanks to technologies like waterproofing, injection molding, synthetics, and more, we live in a time where footwear has never been so changeable and personal.
The right option is the one that works fine for you. If you’re day hiking on trails, hiking or trail running shoe is probably your best bet. If you’re going in cold or wet conditions, getting out of the way, or need a lot of balance, spend the extra bucks for a good pair of shoes.
And if you’re like me, you probably need a few options in your closet. I invested money and break-in time on my shoes 3 years ago. And since I use a trail runner for most of my outdoor walks, my shoes tend to take less of a beating, and they’re there when I need them. Win-win