Exercise is important for the health of your body, but it can be difficult to find something you enjoy. Many people find that things like running and lifting weights are not for them and, in fact, prefer something a little more nature-based and not as intense. One type of exercise that can be rewarding and challenging is hiking.
Hiking is great because you can do it alone or with a group of friends, making it a social event. However, just like any other exercise, you need the right equipment and that includes shoes.
Find the best hiking shoes It’s not that hard once you know what you’re looking for. So read on and find out everything you need to know about hiking shoes.
Types of walking shoes
There are a few different types of walking shoes available, so it is important to know which ones will be best for you. Different terrains will also require different types of shoes, so always plan ahead and don’t just wear any old pair. Here are the most common types:
They are usually quite low cut and have very flexible midsoles to help support the foot on all types of terrain. There are also day hiking shoes, which are extremely lightweight and don’t need much molding. However, these are only good for shorter trips with light backpacking loads, so don’t wear them if you’re planning a 3-day hike!
Backpacking boots are a fantastic type of walking shoe and are ideal for heavy loads and long trips. The high cut of the boot allows you to feel support throughout the foot and ankle, ensuring that you won’t put any unnecessary pressure on your feet as you walk.
Materials for hiking shoes
Walking shoes can be made of different materials, but the most important thing is that they are durable. Full grain leather is a very common material, as it is very durable and water resistant, making it suitable for all climates and terrains. It is not as light as others and the leather must be properly softened before using it on a hike, so it is not always the best choice for everyone.
Split grain leather combines leather with nylon to create a fully breathable shoe. Although this material is not as water resistant as split grain, nor is it as durable, but it is still an excellent choice for a hiking shoe.
Synthetic materials are often used for hiking shoes, as they are the lightest, the most economical and are often excellent at keeping feet dry. Their only drawback is that they can promote sweating in hot weather, as their breathability is not the best.
You can also find vegan hiking shoes that have been carefully crafted without the use of animal products, and these shoes can be just as good as their leather counterparts. So when it comes to choosing a material for your hiking shoes, make sure you know what kind of terrain you will be dealing with and what kind of weather you will experience.
This will make it much easier for you to choose the right type of footwear for your trip.
The fit of a hiking shoe
It is very important that you have well-fitting walking shoes, as ill-fitting shoes can cause a lot of damage. The first thing you need to know is your actual foot size. This means measuring it and using it to select the right hiking shoes. A good tip when trying on hiking shoes is to do it at the end of the day.
This is because your feet will have swollen after wearing them all day and will allow you to avoid buying shoes that are too small. You should also make sure you have the right type of socks when you go hiking. If you try on hiking shoes without socks, it is possible that when you put on the thicker ones, the shoes will no longer fit you properly.
You’ll also want to soften your shoes once you get them so they mold to your feet and won’t cause any problems when you actually wear them for walking. Chafing may be normal when you first get them, but if it doesn’t go away, you may have the wrong size.
Traction is important
When you go hiking, there will be parts of all terrain that are slippery. This means that you need to make sure that your hiking shoes have substantial traction to protect you from falls. It is important that you choose hiking shoes with a good grip on the sole so that you can easily move across the terrain, and one of the best materials for this is rubber.
Being super soft and durable at the same time, rubber is the sole of many walking shoes. Nine times out of ten, walking injuries occur due to a hiker slipping, so having grippy shoes will drastically reduce the chances of it happening to you.
Your walking shoes should also be super breathable, because insufficient ventilation can cause you a lot of problems. If sweat and moisture can’t get out of your shoe, you will soon see the development of rashes, blisters and even infections. Because walking shoes will do their job and keep your foot warm, heat can get trapped if the shoe is not breathable.
This creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. Therefore, while shoes made of full grain leather may be durable, they could cause you problems if at least some parts of the shoe are not made of more breathable materials.
Support and Cushioning
When you’re out hiking, your feet will absorb a lot of shock, so it’s important to provide them with some cushioning. Walking shoes without effective cushioning will soon cause you pain and may even force you to stop and go home. Every step you take while walking puts some pressure on your musculoskeletal system, so you need to absorb some of that impact elsewhere to keep it protected.
Usually, the cushioning was made of rubber. But today, modern technology has given way to gel and air cushioning that are much more comfortable. Making sure your feet are fully supported and cushioned when you walk is crucial to preventing injury, so don’t overlook this when choosing your shoes.
Walking shoes are something that many people have a hard time choosing, but if you know what key elements to look for, it becomes much easier. While you may like the look of a pair that may not be as cushioned or supportive, you’ll thank yourself in the long run if you opt for ones that actually protect your feet. Hiking boots will never look like the latest fashion trend, but it’s not your job to do so.
Their purpose is to give you the best chance of walking safely and to prevent you from getting hurt. So, if you’re thinking about taking up hiking, make sure you have the right footwear before you step onto a trail. You’ll be much more prepared for whatever hiking presents to you and you’ll find that the whole experience is much easier.