There’s no question about it, the footwear you choose is going to be your most crucial piece of hiking gear. Badly chosen footwear will have you grimacing every time you put weight on your foot and might cause blisters. The right pair of footwear, however, will see you walk along quite literally with a spring in your step. Hiking footwear can be broken down into two broad groups, which are hiking shoes and hiking boots. These can then be further broken down into waterproof and warmth providing categories.
Hiking shoes differ from hiking boots in that they lack the extended ankle support boots provide. This means that they are most suited for easy going trails and day hikes. With a more flexible midsole, they are also far lighter than traditional hiking boots but at the same time sturdier than a running shoe. This combination of comfort and practical functionality has seen them grow in popularity with people who are more keen on non-technical hikes.
If you decide to choose hiking shoes over hiking boots, it’s important to pick a pair that fits well. They should be snug, but not tight. Comfortable, but not loose. Whenever trying hiking shoes for size, it’s vital to be wearing the type of sock (generally a dedicated hiking sock with padding), that you will be wearing when out on the trail. It’s also advisable to wear them in for a few weeks before embarking on a long hike.
Hiking shoes are ideal for: Day hiking, carrying light loads, non-technical terrain, comfort.