Hiking can be a fun sport. Wearing the proper shoes for hiking can even make the experience more fun. While choosing which footwear to go for, factors such as the environment you will be going hiking, your foot type, your body weight, and any history of injury should be put into consideration while choosing hiking footwear.
Here is a guide of what you should put into consideration including different types of hiking footwear, their features, their advantages, and disadvantages:
The type of hiking footwear.
When it comes to a hiking outfit, there is a variety of hiking boots to choose from. The kind of hiking boots you choose should depend on the factors mentioned above.
Here is a list of some of the footwear for hiking available and their advantages and disadvantages:
Hiking shoes are a combination of trail running shoes and synthetic/ leather boots. Their ballpark weight ranges from 25 oz. (0.71 kg) to 32 oz. (1 kg). Their outsoles have directional lugs that are aggressive thus have a grip when it comes to rugged or slippery landscapes, their upper is waterproof due to their infusion of leather and synthetic or purely synthetic materials thus making them wellies and midsole are made out of polyurethane or ethylene-vinyl acetate which make it capable of shock-absorbing. Their profile is also low cut with a quarter fleeces, similar to that of trail running shoes.
Advantages of hiking shoes.
1. They have a durability of 1,287 km (800 mi) to 1,609 km (1,000 mi) thus making their durability long term as compared to trail runners.
2. They dry faster, have great ankle flexibility due to their height which is a lower cuff, offer great stability and support, are lighter, and break in more easily as compared to boots.
3. Its midsole and outsole are stiffer; they hold better in terrains that are rough due to their toe caps that are highly protective, and their upper hold made of synthetic/ leather and their construction is tougher as compared to trail runners.
Disadvantages of hiking shoes.
They take longer to dry and have feedback that is less tactile as their outsole is sturdier. Also, they are heavier and are less breathable as compared to trail runners.
Its ballpark weight ranges from 0.45 kg (1 lb.) to 0.9 kg (2 lb.). Features of sports sandals include lugged outsoles, adequate cushioning, and arch support. These features are however found on high-end sport sandals. They are perfect for a person who is walking on a well-groomed trail, one whose ankles are high, and one who does not have a heavy load.
Advantages of sports sandals.
1. Are lightweight.
2. They have the same traction properties as trail runners and hiking shoes.
3. They have good ventilation thus you will not experience blisters while wearing them.
4. They dry the quickest in comparison to other footwear materials.
Disadvantages of sports sandals.
They offer no protection of the feet as they are open. This can’t be worn on rough terrain.
Synthetic/ leather boots.
They have a ballpark weight that ranges between 2 lb. (0.9 kg) and 3 lb. (1.4 kg). Their midsole is made out of polyurethane or ethylene-vinyl acetate which makes it capable of shock-absorbing. Furthermore, their outsoles have directional lugs that are aggressive thus have a grip when it comes to rugged or slippery landscapes, and they have uppers that are waterproof due to their infusion of leather and synthetic or purely synthetic materials.
Advantages of synthetic/ leather boots.
1. Are superior to trail runners as it has a stiffer sole unit and toe box.
2. As compared to full-grain leather boots, there are more breathable, dry quicker, breaking in is easy thus requiring less time, and they are lighter.
3. As compared to trail runners, they are more durable with the durability of 1,448 km (900 miles) to 1,931km (1200 miles).
Disadvantages of synthetic/ leather boots.
1. They are less breathable, take longer to dry, and are heavier as compared to trail runners.
2. Their waterproof is not long-term, and they can’t be resolved as compared to leather boots.
Full-grain leather boots.
They have a ballpark weight of 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) going up. Their upper material is full-grain leather.
Advantages of full-grain leather boots.
1. It is long-lasting if well taken care of in the case of those made out of quality leather.
2. When it comes to backpacking footwear, they are the warmest, the most durable, and waterproof.
Disadvantages of full-grain leather boots.
1. Take long to dry.
2. Their breathability is limited to nothing.
3. Are heavier than other footwear.
4. The break-in period required is long.
5. Are expensive.
Trail running shoes.
Their ballpark weight is wide-ranged between (0.45 kg) to 1.6 lb. (0.73 kg). Their features include having a good grip, are breathable, are quite comfortable, offer great stability and support. Some have a zip fleece while others a quarter fleece.
Advantages of trail running shoes.
1. Require no break-in time.
2. Are lightweight.
3. They dry quickly.
4. They are breathable.
Disadvantages of trail running shoes.
1. They are less grippy as compared to hiking shoes.
2. They are less stable.
3. They are less durable as compared to hiking shoes.
You should consider muck boots if you are looking to buy footwear for hiking, camping footwear, outdoor footwear, and in general camping outfit or hiking outfit.