When you begin the search for hiking gear the first and most important step in the process is choosing the right footwear for your adventures. High mountain hiking is vastly different from low desert hiking, and summer adventures are far different than slogging through ice, snow, and mud. Choosing the right footwear for your hiking adventure is a process of elimination based on the activities you choose to do. Will you be hiking with heavy loads or going out on day hikes with an ultralight kit? All of these choices influence your gear decisions.
Let’s get things straight, your boots will not improve your hiking skills but the right one will make things a lot easier for you. You could read up a hiking blog to know how a decent, comfortable, and durable pair of boots could make the whole hiking experience more enjoyable. Distinguished blogs may even have some very informative product reviews and comparisons. Let’s take a look at a few of these activities, and we can talk a bit about what you should look for when choosing your hiking footwear.
Hiking Shoes or Hiking Boots?
High mountain hunting and hiking usually involve heavy loads and steep terrain, so when looking for hiking boots, I like to look for strong outsoles with a stiffer feel. Great traction and strong torsional stability help you on steep rough trails. Arch support is important, as well. Look for waterproof designs that allow your feet to breathe when moving up the steep ground and keep your feet from getting wet in high country snow.
For low desert, hiking look for wide, sturdy and stable shoes that are lightweight and offer great fit and feel. Sticky soles help you grip the trail and keep you on your feet for fast hikes. Low desert hiking is usually hot so lightweight breathable boots help keep your feet from sweating.
Hiking shoes are sometimes a better fit than hiking boots for lightweight packs and day trips, but if you plan on carrying heavy loads look towards hiking boots to provide stronger ankle support. For the heavy backpack trips, we like some of the great boots from companies like LOWA that offer a really strong platform, strong uppers, a Vibram sole, and a GORE-TEX lining. For lower elevations, we like the hiking born Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots. And for extreme high country hikes, we tend to gravitate to the backpacking born Tibet GTX Hi boots. These offer a higher boot with strong rubber soles, a 1.5-inch heel, and a proven backpacking platform to tackle even the toughest terrain. These are just a couple, examples of different types of boots from just one great manufacturer. There are many great companies producing quality boots.Quality hiking boots that are comfortable allow you to get out and do more hiking. We all know the benefits of your health and the quality of life from spending more time outdoors. Quite a few people also use their hiking boots for work situations as well as for recreational use. Lighter boots are good for many work situations. If your work requires steel-toed boots, however, buy those specifically for work and keep your hiking boots on the trails.
Most importantly we hope you enjoy your time outside with your new hiking footwear. Be safe out there, and don’t forget to invite someone new to the outdoors every chance you get.