Guide to Buying Hiking Shoes or Boots

Our family went to Montana recently to our family cabin. Along with fishing, riding 4-wheelers, and other fabulous outdoor activities, we got to hike quite a bit. I was so glad I had taken some time to choose the right pair of shoes.

Since there are different types of hikes and hiking techniques there is no one shoe or boot that works for everyone. So instead of doing a full shoe review, we'll touch base on finding the right shoe for you.

The key is to find footwear that fits these factors:

Shoe Buying Factors

  1. Comfortable - Your footwear should be comfortable. They need to fit right, have appropriate support, and be the right size. Be sure to break in a pair of shoes before embarking on a long hike.
  2. Durable - Must withstand the rigors of your hike. Some hiking is easy and doesn't require much. However, a hiker can be in quite a predicament if their footwear fails miles away from help.
  3. Weight - More material typically means more weight. Be sure your footwear has the right material and is designed for the season and terrain.
  4. Water Resistent - Some footwear is built for water. Some is built to resist it. Some fails when wet. Consider the type of footwear you'll need in the environment of your hike. (Narrows vs Mt McKinley)
  5. Tread and/or Cleats - Rock climbing shoes are bald. Ice boots have sharp metal cleats. You shoe/boot should have the right tread for the terrain.

Shoe Types

  1. Tennis Shoes - For casual hikes
  2. Cross Trainer - Great all around shoe. comfortable, light, great tread
  3. Hiking Boots - Durable, water resistent, comfortable
  4. Climbing Shoes - Durable, flat soles

FAQs to Ask when Buying Hiking Boots or Shoes

  1. What type of terrain will I encounter?
  2. Does my footwear need to be water resistent? water proof? 
  3. What tread will work best on the terrain
  4. Does the footwear need to be covered or will sandals work?
  5. How durable does the footwear need to be?
  6. Can I sacrifice material for weight?

I tend to like a cross trainer when temperature isn't a factor. They're light, cleated, and very comfortable. When weather is a factor and I need to stay warm, the only option is a nice pair of hiking boots.



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