The spring and soon to be summer seasons are finally here. After a long winter, most people want to head outside and enjoy the warm air and abundant greenery blossoming everywhere. What better way to enjoy nature than taking a hike throughout your city’s expansive park or forest?
People also travel to other places to hike through the vast and earth-rich landscape that they might find there. Hiking trips are pretty common in warmer weather—and there’s a pretty good reason for that. Hiking’s an excellent way to get outside during the warmer months and really appreciate what your local area – and the planet itself – has to offer.
Hiking paths are abundant, if you know where to look. You can find plenty of hiking paths woven throughout urban forests, city outskirts and countrysides. Not only that, it’s pretty easy to get into hiking as a recreational activity. But do note that like every recreational activity out there, you’re responsible for doing a bit of necessary preparation work before you head out on your hiking trip. Luckily for most people, prep work mainly involves researching and buying the supplies and tools you’ll need to make your upcoming hiking trip exciting and safe.
Hiking shoes are an essential tool that everyone needs before heading out on a hiking trip. Many trails are rough, unpolished and aren’t suitable for most types of footwear—except for the footwear specifically designed for the activity. So, in this article, we’re going to review some of the features that you need to look for before you buy a good pair of hiking shoes for your next trip.
Buying A Hiking Shoe ~ Footwear To Look Out For
Before you buy the right hiking footwear, know that you have options—two options. Hiking boots and hiking shoes both exist for casual and avid hikers. Some hiking trips don’t need the heavy duty style of a good pair of boots, while others do need extra protection to keep one’s feet well protected and insulated along the way.
The best hiking boots or shoes do the following:
- They successfully match your hiking goals and provide you the most comfort when on the trail.
- They comfortably fit your feet and don’t give you any problems while you’re on the go.
Naturally, there are several types of hiking footwear designed for light to heavy hiking trails. The following is a look at several types of hiking footwear you might find on the market.
These specially designed shoes are low cut with flexible mid-soles, which provides a lot of comfort while traveling along a hiking trail. Trail running shoes typically suit backpackers who might be heading on a long hiking journey.
These boots typically feature a mid-cut or high-cut design, best suited for day hikes or weekend trips with lighter loads. While they fit comfortably, they might not have enough support and durability to help hikers withstand longer trips.
As implied, these shoes are designed to help hikers carry heavier loads on hiking trips that span multiple days. These durable boots typically have a high cut design that rests above the ankles, providing great support.
Hikers planning to head on mountain trails need these boots. They’re designed to withstand heavier loads and are pretty much built to last.
Buying A Hiking Shoe ~ Features To Look Out For
Hiking shoes have various features that do influence how the footwear fits and performs when hiking. Some of the most essential features of any hiking footwear include its materials and various support elements like the midsole and outsole.
The materials used to create hiking footwear can directly influence its durability, water resistance, breathability and weight.
Full-grain leather provides the best overall durability, water resistance and abrasion resistance, but it takes time to break in a pair of boots made from this material.
Synthetics, such as nylon and polyester, break in quickly, dry easily and weight less. They’re also less expensive than leather footwear, so it’s pretty common to find many types of hiking shoes and boots made from those materials. They do, however, erode faster than leather footwear.
Hiking boot support elements ~ Midsoles and outsoles
Midsoles provide cushioning and helps protect your feet from impact. It also influences the ‘stiffness’ of your footwear. Most hiking footwear utilize polyurethane or EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) as a midsole.
EVA midsoles are common in both shoes and boots made for hiking. It’s lighter and provides a bit more cushioning when needed. Polyurethane, on the other hand, is stiffer but more durable and is usually found in heavy duty hiking boots.
Outsoles are generally made from rubber, sometimes combined with additives to produce a stiffer rubber outsole. Stiffer outsoles, typically found in heavier hiking footwear, provide more durability for tougher trails.