From a hobby that only a selected few do, hiking has become a much-loved hobby/sport over the recent years. Trails are suddenly being made, discovered, and rediscovered. In the midst of this extremely busy and technology-driven world we are living in today, hiking serves as a door to somehow go back in time and relish what nature has to offer.
The great news is that hiking is made easier and more enthusiastic with the variety of hiking boots now available in the market. The bad news is that they come in an awful lot of choices that it is utterly easy to get confused.
We surely would not want you to be discouraged just because it is difficult to find that perfect hiking boots. So we have put together a quick and easy guide to educate you on the different types of hiking boots, their use, and what you can expect from them. These types of hiking boots are available for men, women and kids.
Different Types of Hiking Boots
Everyone calls it hiking boots but it does not necessarily mean that all the different types look like your ordinary boots. They range from almost barefoot types to the more complex mountaineering type of hiking boots as would be discussed further below.
Yes you read it right – hiking sandals. However, this specific one is carefully designed and structured for hiking with the sturdiest tread and adjustable but absolutely strong straps. This usually features molded arch support and shaped foot beds. If you are going for a quick hike during the summer on easier terrains, then this would be a suitable choice in terms of ventilation and comfort.
Some people bring a pair of these kind of hiking sandals on their vacation for walking around the camping ground, to a city or other easy terrain. A few hikers use them on well-paved trails. Popular brands for hiking sandals are Teva and KEEN. They have many different types and colors and because of the good foot bed they are very comfortable to walk on.
In addition, it serves as a breather for tired feet. Just make sure to get one with a tough sole and strong straps so it will last longer.
Commonly made from nylon and suede that are enforced with some leather, these low-cut hiking boots provide utmost comfort for your regular hiking adventures. They are flexible and easy to break-in that you can start hiking right away. They usually have a frame architecture that should provide a great deal of support for the feet. In addition, they also do not cost too much yet perfectly keeps dirt and pebbles from getting in your ankle.
There are also very lightweight hiking shoes that are more trail running boots. These shoes are very flexible and have a great grip for well-maintained trails and smooth terrains.
For trail running, Salomon manufacturers one of the best trail running shoes and you should certainly check them out if you’re interested in trail running or just in need for a lightweight comfortable shoe.
This is the most preferred choice of hikers because they are considered very comfortable yet very stable boots. These mid-cut or high-cut models are totally appropriate either for on-trail or off-trail terrains for as long as you are not facing any extremely rugged terrains.
Commonly made of either leather or synthetic material with leather enforcement, you need quite a bit of time to break in this type of hiking boots.
Do not make the mistake of buying this type today and proceeding to your planned hike tomorrow or you will experience pain and discomfort. However, this would still depend on how stiff the mid-weight boots you have chosen is.
Since this reaches above the ankles, it might take some time getting used to especially if you do not normally wear such kind of shoes. Generally, this type is waterproof as they are commonly lined with Gore-Tex. But if you happen to have chosen an all-leather mid-weight boot, you can treat it with a waterproofing spray or paste just to be on the safe side.
This type are the backpacking boots and is for those who are bold and adventurous and loves to go boulder hopping and off-trail blazing. Experts say this is the hiking boots that perfectly lies in between full-pledged mountaineering and trail hiking. They have features of both mountaineering shoes and the comfort of the usual hiking boots.
This type offers maximum support for the feet against twists and other common foot injuries encountered during hiking. They are water resistant and breathable which makes it more comfortable.
This is specifically constructed to be sturdy. However, they are more expensive and weigh more so you have to take time getting used to it.
These are the ones intended for serious mountain climbing and looks pretty much like ski boots than actual hiking boots. Extreme support is offered which makes this not suitable for ordinary hiking use.
This features attachment points for crampons so one can actually hike on ice and is composed of hard outer shell, inflexible sole, and extra insulation. All these sound definitely good for serious mountain climbing but would translate to pain if you decide to use this for a day hike. As expected, this is the most expensive among this bunch.
Why You Need Hiking Boots
The world is changing and innovations are more abundant than ever. Through numerous years of researches and studies from all over the world, there is now a specific type of shoe for a specific sport and/or hobby. Running shoes are for running and basketball shoes are for playing basketball. Many have tried using another type of shoes or even the ordinary ones for a specific sport and more often than not, they end up having injuries.
The years of research equate to something and that is the fact that hiking boots are designed and made specifically to cater to the needs of hikers. In a broad perspective, they are more supportive and protective than running shoes and all other types of shoes for that matter. The cut is noticeably higher and they feature a sort of stiffer construction. For that, it is generally heavier but is perfect for longer hikes over rough terrains and for carrying a heavier load than normal.
Hiking boots do come in a wide variety of options from the material used, the sole thickness, and other features. Do research to narrow your choices, look at customer reviews, and try them on if possible for you to better gauge which one you will feel most comfortable at. Just remember though that paying more does not always mean you are getting the best one there is. More advice about your hiking gear and the best hiking trails on: hikingvalley.com