You enjoy spending time in the great outdoors and have already bought all the gear for your camping trips. But what about your hiking shoes? How do you choose the pair that will allow you to trek the trails comfortably without falling apart after a few months of use? Here are some tips to help you choose the right pair of hiking shoes.
- Choose a shoe that fits well and is comfortable. You want your feet to be able to move freely inside the shoe. You don't want to feel cramped or pinched at any point while walking on uneven terrain. You'll also want ample room for your toes when wearing thick socks in cold weather, or none at all in hot weather (depending upon what kind of hikes you will be doing). The heel should fit snugly without being too tight, so it doesn't slip off, but not so loose that it slips up and down each time you take a step forward. And finally, you'll want to make sure your toes don't hit the end of the shoe when bending them upward; some shoes are made with a wider toe box for this reason.
- Choose the right material and design for your style of hiking. If you'll be walking on rocky trails, you want to choose a shoe with good traction so it won't slip off rocks or other slippery surfaces; if you'll be doing lots of stream crossings, make sure the sole is waterproof (and not just water-resistant).
- Consider how much support each model offers and its flexibility: do they have enough arch support? Do they offer any additional cushioning in the heel area? Will they give your feet sufficient stability when climbing up steep inclines or descending down steep hillsides?
- Think about what type of weather conditions you'll be hiking in. If you're going to be walking through snow or mud, you want a shoe that will keep your feet dry and clean; if it's hot out, choose a breathable model with good ventilation, so your feet don't feel too sweaty after several hours of hiking.
- Consider how much weight each pair can carry comfortably. When you choose backpacking boots, you should pay careful attention to how much weight they can carry comfortably. Don't underestimate the value of comfort; a shoe that isn't comfortable will slow you down, leaving you more tired and with sore feet. Before choosing a pair of backpacking boots, take them for a test run on some long hikes while carrying weight. This is important to make sure you chose the right pair for the job.
- Shoes that will be in regular use should last you for at least five years. To make sure that your new shoes are the best investment, consider where you'll wear them most often, whether you plan on doing a lot of walking in them or standing on your feet for an extensive period of time, and what kind of terrain they'll be used in. Shoes with an exceptional warranty can also be beneficial for hard-use shoes.
- Look for the right price. Quality doesn't necessarily mean that the product you buy has to be expensive. One of the great things about sporting goods and gear is that there are many less expensive options on the market. Don't go for something cheap and flimsy, but don't assume that it's necessarily good just because a product is expensive.
Finding the right hiking shoes may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. By following these tips, you can find the right pair for your needs that will keep your feet comfortable and protected while hiking through all sorts of terrain in all kinds of weather conditions. Spending the time to choose the right shoes will pay dividends in the long run.