Heavy Hiking Boots
When most people think of hiking shoes they think of large, heavy boots. They are generally good for providing protection from hitting your toes or feet. Large boots usually also give ample ankle support and help with stabilization. Big and heavy hiking boots usually also have comfortable soles and give great traction with every step. The problem with such hiking boots is that in being equipped to give us all such benefits, they are inescapably heavy.
If your boots are heavy, they also tend to weigh you down and add to your level of fatigue. Ideally you want to aim for high level of protection and safety, but also comfort. In other words, large boots are not always the optimal for you to wear on your hikes.
Light Hiking Boots
One way to immediately make sure that your boots are lighter is to not get the boots that also protect your ankle. They still provide comfort, foot-protection, and are usually sufficiently light-weight to not weigh you down. Most experienced day-hikers opt for those kinds of shoes. They feel like sneakers, and are about the same weight, but are made to give you more traction as you step on uneven trails.
On our site we sometimes try out gear and write special reviews and expert-written recommendation about the gear and clothing we try out. We recently got a chance to try out some new hiking shoes that felt and looked like sneakers, but were quite sturdy and made for trails, but could also be used to city walking. If you like how that sounds, take a more detailed look at the overview of light and sturdy hiking shoes.
Hiking in Sneakers
Sneakers are great for easy to medium-difficulty hikes. Sneakers tend to also be economical because if you do not hike regularly, you don't need to go out of your way and buy any extra equipment or gear that is specialized for hiking. Modern sneakers may or may not give you great traction, but they do tend to protect the foot reasonably well and are obviously made to take much of the stress of the impact of each step off your knees, ankles, or hip joints.
Hiking in Open-Toe Shoes and Sandals
Some people enjoy hiking in open-toe shoes, or sandals. These types of shoes obviously do not provide much protection for your feet or ankles. Despite that, many people enjoy being outdoors in shoes that are more open, especially during hot weather when heavier boots and socks when people want can't wait to get a little sun. If you do wear more open shoes, do be more careful about how you step and where because you are less protected. Do not forget - safety first! If you get injured, that can ruin a great trip not only for you, but also for the people hiking with you.
Shoes For Short Hikes
Short hikes are great because whatever you choose to wear, you will probably be ok. You are less likely to need injury protection, or on the other hand, become fatigued from a long hike. So if you are going on short hikes, your shoes are not as important a factor as they are on long hikes. Longer hikes are really the place to pay close and careful attention to your socks and foot ware.
Shoes For Long Hikes and Various Terrain
What you wear on your feet takes on great importance if you set out for a longer trip, or one on unusual or difficult terrain. If the terrain is very uneven or the trails require you to make your way through wooded terrain or area with dense shrubbery.
Importance of Ankle Stabilization
This has already been mentioned, but on longer hikes you must be careful where and how you step. One misstep and you can hurt your ankle on uneven terrain. Many hiking boots are made with ankle-stabilization in mind to give you extra support in case you do misstep. That can make a difference between twisting or even breaking your ankle, and walking away unharmed. You definitely want to always be careful and the right kind of shoes can help you increase your safety. Remember, you may be miles from civilization or transportation and you want to take extra measures to avoid emergency situations.
Importance of Traction
The traction of your shoes is another important safety item to keep in mind for essentially the same reasons as the ankle-stabilization effectiveness of your hiking boots. You do not want to slip and fall anywhere, whether it be wooded, rocky, or even paved area.
Importance of Good Socks
It is also very important to wear proper and comfortable hiking sock. Your socks insulate your feet and give you extra protection from possible outside blows to your feet and add comfort to your steps. Additionally, as you walk a number of miles, the stress of repetitive motion may cause blisters.
Blisters are very dangerous on long hikes. The discomfort caused by blisters cause you to walk with an uneven gate and over the course of a number of miles may put unnecessary stress on your ankle, knee, or hip joints. The poor walking technique will also add to your fatigue level and make the whole experience simply less fun. That can all be avoided if you wear comfortable and proper socks so do not forget to pick out a new and comfortable pair. On longer hikes, some people like to bring an extra pair of socks in case the original pair becomes wet or worn, but for most people that is overkill.
Where to Get Hiking Boots
One place that specializes in hiking boots in particular are our friends at HikingBoots.com who have a wonderful selection. Check them out for some great shoes for your adventures.
Light Hiking And City Walking Shoes
We have searched for a comfortable trail shoe that is appropriate for both the trail and regular walking around the city and we think we have found something quite nice. Rake a look at our review of Light hiking shoes for walking in the city for more information about these shoes.
Just in case you are looking for an even lighter shoe to wear in the city, we also have one for you to consider. Take a look at our review of a business casual comfortable walking shoe from the same company. The shoes are made to be appropriate for the office environment, but are made to be light, and very good for walking in the city, with a thin but a very comfortable sole.
Join Us On Some Adventures
While we hope you found this article helpful, this site offers much more than that. You can join or lead hikes, and participate in community created maps for different aspects of hiking. Additionally, you can plan your hikes by visiting the trailhead map, plan out your trips and add trailheads you know of so that others can have more knowledge when planning their trips.
More Types of Hiking Shoes
Take a look at a promotional guest post written by our partners from Solomon Hiking Shoes