Friends, spring is on the doorstep, which means that the hiking season can be considered open. If you have not previously gone on long journeys, but now you have decided that it is time to start conquering peaks, then this article is just for you.
What shoes to choose and how to determine the right size
We will try to describe the whole process of choosing hiking boots as simply and clearly as possible: what to look for when trying them on, what material to prefer, what types of hiking boots there are and, in general, what kind of animal we are talking about, namely trekking boots.
Whether you are planning a mountain hike or an exploration tour in the nearby national park, the careful selection of your hiking boots can make a big difference (or ruin your upcoming experience) :) designed specifically for your trail.
Choosing hiking boots: "Cinderella effect"
COMFORTABLE SHOES ARE THE KEY TO A GREAT TRAVEL
Imagine that your future depends on how perfectly the "shoe" fits on your foot. It is better to spend several hours choosing the right shoes than to suffer later and curse everything and everyone that accompanies you.
So when choosing walking shoes, pay attention to three things:
1. The shoe should enclose your foot tightly enough that it does not move when you walk, but you should be able to move your toes without touching the front of the shoe. Remember that your feet swell from heat and long walk. Therefore, a little more room in the shoe is a must, otherwise, you risk blisters and pressure points under your nails and on your feet. Therefore, try on hiking shoes in the afternoon, preferably after the hike. Then the leg is still a little swollen and the shoe size can be determined better.
2. Put the shoe on (without lacing) and push the toes forward enough to run two fingers along both sides of the Achilles tendon. This distance should be maintained, but if it is larger, the shoe will hang out and fill the leg, if it is smaller, you risk putting pressure on your fingers.
3. When walking, the heel should not lift off.
In addition, special thick hiking socks help prevent blisters while hiking.
Choosing hiking socks
It's also important to try on possible hiking shoes with the hiking socks you plan to use on the trail. A hiking sock that is too thin or too thick can make a big difference in your choice of footwear.
It's important to note that the right hiking socks can provide additional cushioning and temperature control.
It must be remembered that long walks are good for health only when neither clothes nor shoes cause discomfort and, moreover, injury.
How to choose hiking boots for the shape of the foot Not every foot fits the standard insoles that come with hiking boots. Yes, almost all companies now make orthopedic insoles, but that does not mean that factory orthopedic insoles are universal. Let us say you have a non-standard (narrow / wide) foot, you have apartment feet or a large toe bone is growing - then you may need custom insoles.
Another important point: an additional or custom insole can increase the size of the shoe by half; keep this in mind when choosing a custom model.
By the way, an additional insole is the solution for those who can not find the perfect shoe size and need to reduce the interior space by half a size. Insoles can also be helpful if you have one foot longer than the other or if you feel that your heel slips when you walk.
The better you choose your shoes, the greater the guarantee of your safety on the trail.
When choosing boots, you need to be more aware of the terrain, the time you will be on your feet, and the general weather conditions.
Consider your individual needs
If you're going to be out for a few hours from time to time to explore the local trails, you may want to opt for lightweight walking shoes. However, if you're out in the New Zealand countryside every weekend or embarking on a multi-day adventure like the Overland Track in Tasmania, your needs will be quite different.
What area will you be in?
Are you planning to hike on a road, a rocky trail, or a dirt road? It is extremely important to consider what conditions your hiking boots (and feet) will be exposed to. Not only will the terrain affect wear, but it will also determine what features you need to avoid fatigue and possible injury.
Concrete and asphalt surfaces, for example, can cause the soles of hiking boots to wear out faster. So if you are running a long distance on the road, you might be better off wearing cross-country shoes.
On the other hand, your typical hiking route will be full of mud, grass and rocks. For such a tour, it is better to choose shoes with a minimal number of seams. First, this way you minimize the risk of tearing the seam due to small stones, grains of sand, etc. Secondly, this construction of the trunk is more likely to protect against moisture penetration, and thirdly, the absence of seams will reduce the possibility of rubbing the foot and the formation of blisters.
If you choose hiking boots made of full-grain leather and nubuck, you will get waterproof, abrasion-resistant and durable shoes.
Tip: If you're hiking cross-country, you can pair your hiking boots with gaiters or boots to protect your feet and keep debris out of the upper.
How long will you be on your feet?
The longer you are on the road, the greater the strain on your body. If you plan to be on the move for a long time, you will need extra foot support.
A long hike also means carrying a heavy backpack, which in turn requires good support features in your boots: a thick, stiff sole, cushioning, and ankle and heel support.
Despite the advantages of rugged and durable rough trekking boots, lightweight hiking boots also have their merits. Lightweight shoes can reduce the weight by 100-200 g with each movement of the foot, which saves energy throughout the day.
Boots made of synthetic materials are lighter and cooler than leather products, have a much shorter break-in period (shrink per foot) and are generally cheaper, but not as durable in the long run.
Whether you buy breathable mesh or waterproof shoes depends on the weather and other environmental factors.
What are the weather conditions?
The conditions in which you will use your walking shoes will determine what type of shoes you should choose. If you are hiking through swampy, wet areas, crossing streams and marshes, you'll need to weigh what's more important - quick-drying or waterproof footwear.
The second option requires that the boots have a special upper membrane layer that does not allow moisture to pass through and at the same time allows the foot to breathe.
Gore-Tex or ngx membrane, which has long been proven on the market, significantly increases the cost of shoes, but their service life is quite long with proper care. Now that more and more manufacturers are appearing in the tourist niche, offering membranes under their brand, the price of such products will be lower.
Are you unsure what to take and what not to take? Write to us, we will help you: firstname.lastname@example.org
What you choose is up to you, but from our experience we can say that it is still better to buy shoes with decades of proven technology.
The waterproof lining also provides extra warmth. Remember that there is a large hole at the top of the shoe where the foot fits. So if you cross rivers, water can still get in, and in this case, shoe covers or simple rubber boots in the backpack can help :)
If you have any questions, you can always ask us personally, we are open to cooperation and are happy to help travelers with advice and share our experience.
If you already have experience in choosing shoes, you can share it in the comments, we are interested :)
The adventure road team wishes you pleasant and comfortable hikes!