The feet are the most abused part of the human body. It is under the constant strain of supporting your weight plus the added load of the things that you carry around. This is especially true with activities like hiking and climbing. Getting the best hiking shoes is essential for your comfort and the health of your feet.
How Do Hiking Shoes Differ From Hiking Boots?
Boots are high cut; they are heavier, have more features and are more reinforced for strength, durability and stability. They are also designed for difficult trails with rugged terrain.
The best hiking shoes on the other hand, do not extend to cover the ankle. They are lighter and are constructed in breathable materials with a leather support frame. Hiking or trail shoes were made for smooth paths and gradual inclines. They can also be used for more difficult routes because they provide more flexibility. However, this only applies for experts or for very experienced hikers. Beginners should use hiking shoes only for designated easy trails and hiking boots for more difficult tracts.
Tips to Select the Best Hiking Shoes
Go for a 15 to 20 minute walk around the mall or in the park before going in the shop to buy your trail shoes. Do this during the latest part of the afternoon where your feet are the biggest size. It will give the best estimate on the condition of your feet during hikes and thus enable you to find the best fit.
While fitting, place your foot inside the unlaced shoes. Your pinkie finger should be able to fit between your heel and the inner heel of the shoe. When the shoes are laced your feet should move backwards to close the space where your pinkie finger once fit.
Put on the pair of shoes and walk around the shop so you can get an accurate feel of the footwear. Also, wear the socks that you are going to utilize for hiking. Make sure that your toes do not bump against the top part of the shoes. Go for the next larger size if this happens. As you walk around, your heel should stay with the heel of the shoes. If it bangs against your foot or if your ankle slips out, then you should go for a smaller size or look for features like scree collars or heel cups. Don’t concern yourself with sizes. Your size for regular shoes will most probably differ from your outdoor-gear shoe size because of considerations on foot length and width.
Look for mesh support in the upper part of the shoe. Mesh is breathable and it dries easily to prevent the formation of blisters.
Consider shoes with deeply lugged sole patterns that are spaced far apart. This prevents mud from getting stuck to the bottom of your shoes. You don’t need the additional weight of accumulated mud and dirt.
The best hiking shoes will always differ for every individual because of the consideration of comfort, weather-proofing, weight, skill level and shoe size. Choose the pair of shoes compatible with the terrain you plan to tackle, the weather conditions to expect during your walk and the duration of your climb.