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What Kind of Shoes Are Best for Hiking?
Published: July 14, 2021
Hikers encounter a lot of unpredicted events throughout their endeavors, whether that is bad weather, or worse, damaged equipment that is important for the adventure. To avoid such circumstances, you need to research the best gear before you buy it. That is essential for everything you are eyeing to pick.
To choose the best kind of shoes for hiking, you need to know if common shoes like sneakers can be used for hiking, what to select between hiking shoes or boots, the different types of hiking shoes, the different components of hiking shoes, and how to choose the right fit.
We will be talking about each of these topics, and give you some tips, along with techniques we also found to be useful.
Is it okay to hike in sneakers?
If you are new to hiking, then the equipment used for this activity is also new to you. Sometimes, people assume that a regular gear is already enough for an intense adventure, but to clarify, it won’t last long, even if it looks durable.
When we started our evaluation of the different kinds of hiking apparatus, we found out that you need to align proper things for that certain scheme. Meaning, if it is designed for hiking, then you have to use it for hiking.
Now, are you wondering if sneakers are acceptable for hiking?
Our direct answer is no, but if you are just going for trail running or walking, then it can be an option.
Hiking boots and shoes are different from sneakers in terms of:
We can attest that it is not a great option to use sneakers in extreme weather conditions and when travelling. Sneakers can withstand a maximum of about 500 miles, while hiking shoes can endure 1,000 miles.
The only downside is that hiking shoes are heavier, which is not recommended if you are traveling far. You are required to exert more strength when walking or even hiking. However, note that almost all of these shoes are naturally heavy.
We can conclude that sneakers are more vulnerable to the outer obstacles, which may affect your feet. They are softer than hiking shoes, meaning that your feet are more likely to suffer injuries, even though it the shoes are enclosed.
Most hiking shoes are also waterproof, while there only are a few sneakers that bear this feature.
Choosing between hiking boots or shoes
This has been an ongoing argument for those looking for the right fit when hiking. As we have mentioned earlier, hiking boots and shoes are more dependable than your usual pair of sneakers. But also, there are two types of hiking footwear — hiking boots, and hiking shoes.
Let’s break down some key points on the downsides and advantages of both.
Which is more reliable? Both are actually an ideal choice for your hiking needs. All you need to focus on is the type of activity that you are going to engage in. Hiking boots are sturdier, heavier, and can protect your feet properly, especially if you are hiking up and down high mountains.
Harder designs can protect your feet properly from extreme adventures that either involve a rainy, wet, or snowy weather. For this reason, we can say that hiking shoes are a recommended gear for travelers. They can handle a less rough ground surface, and are lighter than boots.
Yes, they are also durable, but for better protection, go for hiking boots. These are good for dry hiking.
Size and fit
Choose the appropriate size and fit if you are going to buy hiking boots or shoes. Always think about what you’ll need in the middle of your adventure. If total protection is necessary, then go for boots. On the other hand, if you know that your escapade will involve more walking and light travel, then choose hiking shoes.
Before picking this kind of equipment, try them on first. This is the best way to know if you are comfortable in your footwear, and it will prevent further drawbacks while hiking.
Knowing the types of hiking shoes
Now that we have discussed the differences between hiking shoes and boots, we will now proceed with the different types. It is important to know the shoe styles and design to buy what best fits your needs.
For this category, we included shoes and boots in the same classification.
The different types of hiking shoes are day-hiking boots, backpacking boots, and hiking shoes. The backgrounds are the following.
- Hiking shoes are low-cut shoes
The midsoles are pliant to provide your feet with freedom to flex when walking or engaging on complicated ground surfaces. This is the best choice for dry or day hiking, and it is also lightweight, which is a commendable feature for light backpacking. Some hikers use trail runners in this kind of adventure.
- Day-hiking boots
If you say boots, then it is commonly either designed mid-cut or high cut. This is the portable version of backpacking boots, which is ideal for light backpacking. This type of boots is less durable, and has a deficient of support.
- Backpacking boots
These are perfect for extreme adventures and heavy backpacking, as they are capable of enduring several instances, and are more durable and provide better support. Since they are stiff, the body structure can protect your feet from numerous situations you might encounter.
No matter what kind of hiking shoes you like, their performance will depend on the place you’re heading to, and the type of activity you are going to do. Before placing an order, make sure of every detail, and think about whether that shoe is capable of enduring it.
Different components of hiking shoes
Hiking shoes are composed of several parts, and this is essential to know this as you formulate your opinion on whether a specific shoe is durable or not. You can also judge the shoes’ capacities and limits. Having a bit of knowledge on the components can help you choose the most appropriate hiking shoes for you.
The different components of hiking shoes are:
- internal support
The uppers can be located on the front part, where you can see the shoelaces. The midsole is positioned on the outer heel, while the internal supports are in the middle of the midsoles and outsoles of the shoes. The outsoles are literally the external part of the shoes’ soles.
There are still a lot of detailed components of a camping shoe. But for now, let’s just discuss the focal parts.
The uppers are made of many kinds of leather, which they call full-grain, split-grain, and nubuck. The uppers are also sometimes built with synthetic materials and waterproof membranes.
On the other hand, the midsoles are either made of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or Polyurethane (PU). PU is more durable than EVA.
As for the outsoles, they are usually manufactured with rubber.
We recommend outsoles that have a heel brake to prevent you from slipping on wet surfaces.
Extra features include inner support. These supports are located in the middle of the outsoles and midsoles. From the internal soles up to the outsole.
Shanks and plates are the most common materials the manufacturers feature in hiking shoes. Shanks are thick, while plates focus more on the protection of your feet. Lastly, you can ask the seller or manufacturer if the hiking shoes are suitable for crampons.
Finding the right fit for your feet
Now that you have an idea about the different types and parts of hiking shoes, it is time to find the best fit for you.
Of course, anything that you are going to wear should properly fit your size, for better comfort and advantages. No one wants to wear clothes that are too small, nor ultra-big pants that are super loose around our hips.
To find the right-fitting hiking shoes for your feet, you need to:
- know your foot size;
- try on the shoes;
- wear the kind of socks you will be wearing while hiking;
- properly check the structure of the shoes;
- look for the type of shoes you have used before;
- ask everything about your concerns regarding the shoes you like.
Thesesteps can help you choose the best pair of shoes for you.
Knowing your size is the first thing you need. With such, you will know what can possibly fit you. This way, it will be easy for you to assess the appropriate fit. After finding your size, you should try the shoes on, and wear the socks you will be using while hiking. This is helpful to measure the space and tightness of the internal parts of your shoes.
Checking the body and features is also advisable. You will have an idea about the capabilities of the shoes. Looking for some brands that you have used before will also help you know the performance of the shoes. Lastly, always ask the manufacturer or seller about what you feel about the shoes, whether it’s about the size of the visual.
Following the topics we have discussed above is a huge opportunity and advantage for a newbie hiker, or for someone who plans to buy their second pair of hiking shoes because the first one failed you while you were hiking.
People tend to choose shoes that are just enough or okay for their judgment, but they don’t know that there are shoes that best fit their feet. The main thing you are required to think about is the right type of shoes to use for hiking.
Sneakers look amazing, but hiking shoes are better. For strong support and protection, hiking shoes are the best. Remember, you are going to travel in intense surroundings, and not in an urban area.