Hiking shoes can be a great investment if you love to hit the trails, but with so many options on the shelves, how do you know which one to pick? To help you hike safely and comfortably, we've put together some tips and information on hiking boots.
1. Hiking Boots Versus Trail Shoes
Generally, your first choice is between hiking boots and trail shoes. As a general rule of thumb, trail shoes are lightweight, and they look like traditional tennis shoes. Their lightweight nature makes them ideal for hikes on easy, well maintained trails. However, like running shoes, their soles are more flexible and that makes them more susceptible to the bumps in the trail.
Hiking boots take it up a notch. They offer more rigidity for dealing with rocks, bumps and ridges in the trail. They are also mid or full height, which is safer for people who are prone to rolling their ankles or suffering from knee issues.
2. Types of Hiking Boots
If you decide on hiking boots, you need to narrow down the category even further, and two of the most popular categories are day hiking boots and backpacking boots. Day hikers are best for short hikes and intermediate hikers. These boots can be mid or high cut, and they are relatively flexible but stiffer than trail shoes.
Backpacking boots, on the other hand, are built to withstand the rigors of really intense hikes. If you like to backpack deep into the state forests with tents and other gear in your bags, you might need this option.
Regardless of the style you choose, it's important to think about waterproofing. Whether you're dealing with puddles, sweaty feet or a deluge of rain, you need hiking boots or shoes that are waterproof.
Solid leather uppers are generally waterproof. If you opt for a shoe made of leather with lots of seams or from canvas, you need to look for a breathable waterproof membrane. That prevents moisture from getting in, while also letting the sweat and moisture evaporate from your feet.
4. Sturdy Midsole
As indicated above, a sturdy midsole is essential for hiking. It prevents your foot from wrapping around rocks and bumps in the trail. Essentially, a stiff midsole gives your foot a stable, level surface even when the trail isn't stable or level.
See how the sole flexes in your hand, and consider looking for features like a EVA footbed that you can remove or a polyurethane footbed that provides extra stability.
5. Slip-Resistant Sole
Slip-resistant soles with lots of grooves are a necessity for hiking enthusiasts. If you want your hiking boots to double as work boots, this is especially important. An oil-resistant sole can be essential to keeping your footing whether you work in a factory, a restaurant or multiple other types of establishments.
6. The Right Fit
Finally, it's critical to get the right fit. If your shoes are too tight or rub you in the wrong way, you may develop blisters that make it hard to finish your hike. To get the best fit, consider trying on shoes at the end of the day or on a hot day. The heat makes your feet swell so you get a better sense of how the shoes are going to fit after you've hiked a few miles.
At Workshoe Outlet, we carry more than just work shoes: we also carry shoes for families who love to hike. Our reps have over 112 years of combined experience, and we personally help you find the hiking boot or work shoe that fits your foot the best.