How to Choose Hiking Shoes

Long gone are the days when tourists walked exclusively in thick leather boots with soles. On the other hand, hiking shoes are increasingly visible at the feet of modern hikers.

Despite their common name, hiking boots vary widely in appearance, functionality, and recommended conditions.

Apart from hiking boots, running shoes for cross-country and the approach to rocky routes and climbs are structurally very similar.

Understanding this will help you make informed choices that directly depend on the intended use of your shoes.

Speed Hiking Shoes

If you prefer high-speed routes on good trails, then you should pay attention to sneakers that combine the features of hiking and a running model.

Midsole with footprint combined with grippy and durable, and manufacturers are trying to find an optimal balance between flexibility and stability.

When paired with trekking poles, this shoe provides enough ankle support to carry loads up to 15 kilograms over your shoulders in easy terrain and fine trails.

Also, sneakers for speed-hiking/fastpacking are the best choice for anyone looking for a pair of versatile LDPE and multi-racing shoes.

Speedhiking shoes are rarely categorized by manufacturers. And usually, speed-hiking shoes can find among shoes that claim to be cross-country running or hiking boots.

If a potential run of sneakers is not suitable for you or your backpack weighs less than 8-10 kilograms. Then trail running shoes are perfect for high-speed tourism and light climbing.

They provide a confident foot position in steep terrain, are distinguished by the good grip and very low weight.

However, trail running shoes are less durable than trekking shoes and less support for the feet and ankles.

Therefore, it is difficult to use it safely in combination with a backpack weighing 10-15 kilograms, especially in steep terrain.

Hiking Shoes and Approaching

How to Choose Hiking Shoes

For hiking and rock trails, hiking on the mountain and forest trails, and trails marked long, you need classic trekking shoes – with aggressive treads, durable tops, clear toe guards, and excellent ankle support.

They almost always have a membrane top that makes them waterproof, as well as a tough outsole.

The latter may differ in their properties: some sneakers are better to save in the mud or the loose soil and rocks.

Also, expertly check like moments in the store, as well as in the catalog of manufacturers.

Lower cushioning and flexibility than running shoes, but much more stable, stronger, and more durable than fastpacking shoes and trail running shoes.

And in combination with trekking poles, you can confidently move in it even on steep terrain with a fairly heavy backpack weighing 15-20 kilograms, if the route is good.

For example, this happens during the climbing approach: mountain boots are carried in a backpack, and comfortable, lightweight sneakers are worn on the climber’s feet.

Rock Climbing Shoes

For the exploration of the climbing area, associated with the long journey and the need to climb part of the route, the rock model is more suitable.

In the English-speaking environment, they are called approach shoes, and the main difference between such models from others is that they are very soft and easy to grip rubber, coupled with a special base with a low strap.

All this is necessary for confident rock climbing and moving over rocky surfaces.

Low or Above Medium

Many hiking boots are available in two versions: low cut and middle cut.

The former provides more mobility and flexibility when walking and has less weight. The second provides more support for the ankle joint and protects from small stones and debris entering the shoe.

The basis of choice in this situation will be careful route analysis and installation.

If the weight of the backpack you are carrying is more than 15 kilograms and a difficult path is expected to be traversed, then sneakers with a middle-top are preferred, but not all travelers find them comfortable and light enough.

How to Choose Hiking Shoes With or Without Membrane

hiking boots

The lack of a membrane would be a definite plus only for routes in dry and hot climates.

For most areas, this is rare, and therefore, waterproof sneakers will be preferable when you need to move in wet trails or wading shallow rivers.

But remember, there is always a risk of water running through the low top of the shoe.

Here the membrane can play a cruel joke with the user: it passes water equally badly both from the outside and from the inside.

To prevent moisture from entering, it is advisable to complement your sneakers with leggings.

As part of the smooth running of the route, it is better to use an elevated version made for tourists.

For runners, special running models are suitable – low, light socks. Leggings will come in handy even in dry weather. They don’t allow all sorts of trash into their shoes: small gravel, needles, hay, and so on.

But remember, there is always a risk of water running through the low top of the shoe.

Here the membrane can play a cruel joke with the user: it passes water equally badly both from the outside and from the inside.

To prevent moisture from entering, it is advisable to complement your sneakers with leggings.

As from the smoothness of the route, it is better to use a high made for tourists.

For runners, special running models are suitable – low, light socks. Leggings will come in handy even in dry weather. They don’t allow all sorts of trash into their shoes: small gravel, needles, hay, and so on.

Tips for Trying and Putting on Hiking Shoes

  1. Come to the shop at night – the legs will be a little wider and the volume will be bigger, which mimics the conditions on the route.
  2. Bring or ask the salesperson for two pairs of socks. One diluent to determine how the shoe will sit when running in hot weather. The second is of medium thickness to determine the suitability of shoes in cold conditions. Light trekking socks are great.
  3. If you are using orthopedic insoles or special stabilizing soles, try shoes with those soles.
  4. Consider the inevitable increase in leg volume over a long workout. Trekking shoe size should be 0.5-1 larger – toes should not touch toes. This will prevent your fingers from getting injured when going down the length. To judge if there is enough room in front of your toes, simply loosen the shoelaces a little and push your feet forward until they stop. Your pinky finger should fit freely between the heel and heel of the shoe. If you have doubts about the choice between two adjacent sizes, for example, 42.5 and 43, it is better to go for the larger one. Remember that the legs swell during long movements.
  5. Evaluate carefully the full size and width of the shoe as you try it on. There’s no way the heels hang down, and the feet slide back and forth in tight sneakers.
  6. Shop for sneakers and use stairs or a sloping cupboard if available. Pay attention to the position of the foot in the shoe. If the heels dangle a lot on tight running shoes, then you cannot avoid the appearance of scuffs on the route.
  7. When trying, try a pair of the most comfortable sneakers for you paired with socks of different thicknesses. Sometimes socks that are a little thicker are enough to fit snugly into the heel. This will not affect the fit of the shoes during the warm season, as the market today offers thick socks even for hot weather. For example, soft trekking socks with Coolmax fibers.
  8. To further support the arch of the foot and stabilize its position on the sneakers, you can replace the standard sole with a custom one. This further reduces fatigue and reduces the risk of calluses and corns since to the stable position of the feet.
  9. If the overall fit is good, but not perfect, try it with an anatomical insole designed for trekking or running. The suitability can change significantly for the better.
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Candra
Hi There, My name is Candra Setiawan. Indonesia for me is a real paradise with crazy friendly people, you know. I’m so glad born and living in Indonesia, even though we have different ethnicities, religions, and languages. But we’re still one.