How to Pick the Right Hiking Shoes
Treading through the woods on a strenuous hike gets more thrilling with each step. But are your feet as exhilarated as you? If not, then you are missing out on something important! The secret to rigorous hiking is happy feet. Your feet hold the bulk of the work on a hiking trip, so it is important that they have the right padding and protection. This is where hiking shoes come to rescue, they keep your feet comfortable and supported against all odds.
Selecting the right hiking shoes can be difficult with so many options to choose from. From size and style to weather protection and support features, what hiking shoes are best for your feet will depend on your hike length and terrain as well as personal preference. We’ll suggest tips that will help you choose the right hiking shoes.
Here are easy tips to select the right hiking shoe:
5 Tips for Choosing The Right Hiking Shoes
How to pick hiking shoes can be confusing. No two feet are similar. Your friend may have shoes that he swears by, but that might not be working for you. Your perfect hiking shoe may be something totally different. To ease down the selection process, this guide will provide you relevant information about various factors that will affect your shoe choice. Depending on your feet’s shape and the type of padding you are looking for, we have worked to round the perfect hiking shoes for your feet. Here are a few tips that will dictate which category you should choose from.
Know the Styles:
Hiking shoes are designed for specific kinds of trekking. Ask yourself a question. Do you spend more of a time doing light hiking or are you a rigorous hiker? Drawing a line between the two will help you determine which hiking shoes will work best for you. Here are the three types that you should look at:
- Light hiking shoes: There is a thin line between running shoes and light hiking shoes. Better to call them shoes rather than boots. Here’s why. These are best for day hiking. However, this ultra-light fit style is worn by many long distance backpackers.
- Mountaineering boots: If you are going over rocky terrain or snowy paths, then these boots will be best for you. They are designed to handle heavy weights, and can survive against toughest rocky territory.
- Backpacking boots: these boots are built for different territories i.e. on and off tracks. If you are traversing for a multi-day hike, then these will be most suitable for your needs. They bear stiff soles thus making them long lasting and durable.
Find the Right Material:
When it comes to purchasing hiking shoes, place all your attention on its material. Because a wrong fabric can have disastrous effects on you and your poor feet such as make you feel hot, uncomfortable, tight, and cause foot injuries. So always, look for the right fabric for ultimate trail comfort. Have a look at these three material compositions in order to refine your selection.
- Synthetics: often made with material such as nylon and polyester. These are not water resistant, however, and can dry up quickly once wet. Easy to wear and carry.
- Split grain leather: the materials in this category are often built with half leather and half synthetics. This makes it very breathable. Not fully resistant to water as a result of low durability.
- Full grain leather: Almost all the mountaineering boots are crafted with full-grain leather. Its high end durability makes it ideal for rigorous trekkers traversing unsteady terrain. Plus, its material is less breathable but has greater stand ability against heavy loads.
Consider the Cut:
Hiking shoes are available in different cuts, and this should especially be personalized according to your trekking type. The wrong cut would cause a sprained ankle or bring rocks in your shoes. Have a glance at three cuts to make a wise purchase:
- Low-cut: These are similar to running shoes. Ideal for light weight and casual hiking. Low-cut boots work best if worn on steady trails; otherwise, it will make you prone to ankle injuries.
- Mid-cut: this design offers more ankle protection and balance. Provides a good defense against debris along the trail.
- High-cut: This style offers optimum balance and ankle protection making it suitable for adventurous trekkers who are going one and off the trails, and crossing potentially dangerous territory.
Give Them a Size Test:
It is much easier to fall prey to product attributes and ignore the size fit all together. But no one ever loved ill-fitting shoes as they cause blisters. For accurate fit and comfort, double check these pointers while trying them on for the size:
- It should fit comfortably around the heel
- Make sure your heel stays in place, it should not float
- Try hiking shoes with trail socks on
- Ask the shop dealer for trail socks, shoe lacing technique, and insoles
Give Them a Test Run:
Once you have purchased them, do not keep them in the box or wear them directly on the trail day. Take them out of the shoe box and wear them. Run errands to break them in. This will give you a better idea of whether they are appropriate for you or not. If they are not, then return to the store and do not hesitate to ask questions. Ask for an exchange, if needed.
Hiking Shoes for Women:
Hiking shoes have been heavily advertised for their support/protection against unsteady trails and ankle injuries. Lightweight shoes offer greater flexibility and stronger toe grip to help keep balanced. Plus, wearing a lighter shoe helps in quick hiking. Although all the flexible shoes still have rock plates, lugs, and toe caps.
Here are some of our favourite women’s hiking shoes:
TX4 Woman by La Sportiva is one of the best hiking shoes for women. It is a part of the Traverse X approach series.
- For what: For technical routes through ferrate and hiking.
- Why buy it: It is ultra-light and comfortable, thus making it the best choice for mountaineers and mountain enthusiasts.
- Material: Leather
- Options: Available in color carbon/aqua. Sizes 38-43.
Spire Woman Gtx by La Sportiva is a modern low cut boots for fast hiking. The design is based on the concepts of La Sportiva’s Mountain DNA along with technologies borrowed from Mountain Running and Mountain.
- For what: For quick hiking
- Why buy it: A versatile product with 100% waterproof and dustproof lining. It is super breathable for the ultimate hiking experience.
- Material: full grain leather
- Options: Available in color clay/celery. Sizes 38-43.
Hiking Shoes for Men:
Snow climbing shoes and rigorous off trail routes both need extremely rigid boots. These designs will not be suitable for hiking on normal terrain and will hinder your ability to hike on typical terrain. So for tougher terrain, you will need boots that will offer protection against weather and ankle injuries.
Most of the men out there might be interested to know are hiking shoes waterproof? Yes, they are. But, the temptation for water resistant shoes comes with a drawback. A water resistant shoe is not breathable thus making your feet hotter, wetter, and more prone to blisters. Once it does, there is nowhere for it to go. However, a normal mesh shoe will dry out relatively faster. Keeping these points in mind, our experts recommend heavy weight, waterproof, yet breathable hiking boots for men.
Here are some of our favourite men’s hiking shoes:
One of the popular hiking shoes for men. Pace3 Men's BUGrip GTX by Icebug is a functional everyday hiking shoe. It is a mid-cut boot for all kinds of superior winter traction.
- For what: For hiking and walking.
- Why buy it: It is comfortable, warm, and durable with 16 dynamic steel studs. Keeps feet dry with 100% waterproof and breathable membranes.
- Material: Ripstop textile
- Options: Available in color black. Sizes 8-11.
Men's Zion Mid Waterproof by Merrell is designed on a trail running platform for a sneaker fit.
- For what: For trekking on aggressive terrain
- Why buy it: It has waterproof and breathable mesh lining making it great for a men’s waterproof hiking shoe. The mudguard technology keeps out the debris. Compression molded EVA midsole provides stability and comfort.
- Material: full grain leather and mesh upper.
- Options: Available in color cloudy. Size 7.
Selecting the right hiking shoe is a match making process. Most importantly, you should look for comfort and great fit. Make sure your hiking shoe fits your needs for which terrain you plan to hike and for how long. Have an adventurous trek!