There are many types of hiking boots and hiking shoes, and the choice can be bewildering. While there are some kinds of hiking footwear that will not fit neatly into any category, I will discuss hiking footwear in terms of four categories, based on the general kind of hiking for which they work best.
1. Hiking shoes and sandals. For short walks in the outdoors, for knocking around in camp, and for easy interludes in an otherwise serious hike.
2. Day-hiking boots. For moderate hiking, such as day hikes or short hikes in rough country.
3. Backpacking boots. For multi-day backpacking trips.
4. Mountaineering boots. For the most serious hiking, mountain climbing, and ice climbing.
As you move up the scale of categories, you also move up in price. That means you have to give more serious thought and do more careful shopping the higher up the scale you look. But before you begin your serious shopping, get a handle on what types of hiking boots are available so you will be sure you are looking for the right kind.
Don’t be scared off by the prices, and don’t make the mistake of assuming that you don’t need special-purpose hiking boots. You probably don’t need $200 mountaineering boots, but that doesn’t mean you should try a twelve-mile day hike in your tennis shoes, either. In this article, you will learn how to decide which general type of hiking boots are right for what you want to do. Then you’ll be prepared to look deeper into exactly what you need.
Hiking Shoes and Sandals
Hiking shoes can be multi-purpose footwear. If you are new to hiking, and planning only short hikes on well-maintained trails, you might already have suitable footwear. Cross trainers or any reasonably sturdy sneaker may be suitable for light hiking.
Shoes expressly designed for trail running and light hiking typically rise a little higher than conventional sneakers, and they usually have a “scree collar” (a collar of padding around the ankle to keep pebbles out). They are usually not waterproof, though they may be somewhat “water resistant,” and the tread is not very aggressive.
Hiking shoes are suitable for short hikes on reasonably dry, reasonably smooth trails where you will not be carrying much weight. If you will be crossing streams, climbing steep slopes, walking on snow and ice, or carrying more than about twenty pounds of gear, you should probably look into day-hiking boots or backpacking boots.
Hiking sandals are a special class of hiking footwear. When you consider the four main purposes of hiking shoes – warmth, protection, traction, and keeping dry – sandals might seem like a joke. But think again.
Obviously, you’re not hiking in winter in hiking sandals, so keeping your feet warm is just not a consideration that hiking sandals address. Sandals do protect the soles of your feet from rough surfaces and sharp objects, but they can’t protect the sides of your feet from rocks and brush. They also provide good …Read more