Imagine being excited about trekking or hiking – packing your bags, keeping things together, shopping for clothes, don’t forget hiking boots are a crucial part of every hiker’s gear. They can execute or demolish our outdoor adventure trips. Your shoes may make feet feel on the feathers or thorns. We must not consider every shoe the same. Different shoes are suitable for different kinds of treks, depending upon trail condition, weather, and duration of the trek. Plenty of options are available in the market to confuse us. Here is a little guide to help you make up your mind.
How will you use your shoes?
It’s crucial to know the duration, terrain, and the load you’ll be carrying on your trip. Are you going for 2-3 days trek with a lightweight backpack or a multi-day harsh trek with a heavy backpack? During the trek, you’ll be walking with your backpack which will put stress on your shoes. It’s tough to choose the right pair of trekking boots by keeping all these points in our mind. There is a variety of shoes available depending upon the rigor and nature of the trek. You may choose a right pair of shoes according to your trek or hiking trip from these shoes:
Hiking shoes have flexible rubber soles. They are super lightweight and offer less support. These shoes are easily available in between 2000 to 3500 INR from regular brands like Wildcraft, Woodland, Quechua, and Himgear. You may choose them if:
- Going for one day hike
- Going to walk on easy and well paves trek
- You’re carrying lightweight backpack
Trekking shoes are higher cut versions of hiking boots. They are water-resistant and also come as mid-rise ankle boots which are made up of stiffer construction to provide support on the rigorous terrains. They are suitable for a Himalayan trek. They are available in between the range of 3500 to 6500 from the regular brands. You may choose them if:
- 2 to 3 days to multi-day hiking or if you’re an occasional trekker
- Going for multi-day trekking trip on rough terrains
- Carrying a heavy backpack
Mountaineering boots are burly, big, and stubborn to stand any gnarled terrain or weather. These high rise ankles are more suitable for challenging treks. They also have an extra layer of insulation for extremely cold weather. You must purchase these technical boots by professionals. You may also rent them. You may choose them if:
- Carrying a very heavy load
- Going for long and off-trail trekking
- Going in winter in snowy areas.
Important things to keep in mind
- The weight of the boots plays an important role in trekking or hiking. There is a saying – one pound of the foot is equal to five on your back. The heavier the boots, the more they work for your legs.
- Water in boots is a turn-off. It may cause blisters, odor, and uncomfortable feet. We must buy waterproof boots so that our feet can breathe and let the perspiration escape.
- If your boots support you properly, it won’t let your feet flatten out under pressure and saves you from severe pain. You may buy extra orthotics insoles.
- The two most popular hiking injuries are – stubbed toes and twisted ankles. A right pair of boots supports our ankle to protect from any kind of injury on rougher terrain.
- When you’re carrying a heavy backpack, you need flexibility and sturdiness to carry it on your back. We need a full range of motion along with support to protect from twisted ankles. Consider shoes with good load support.
- Gusseted tongue is the name for the tongue connected to the upper to prevent small rocks, dirt, debris, and water we find on the trekking trail.
How to test boots in the store
- The finger test: This is the beginning of proper fit testing. Wear trekking or hiking boots leave it unlaced, try to slide your finger behind your foot. It must fit right in.
- The sensory test: Put your bare foot into the boots. Try to feel all the places where your feet feel stiffness. You cannot do that without socks.
- The slant board test: Ask the salesman for the slant board. You must test your boots on the inclined surface. Try to walk down on the board and pay attention to how it feels. If your toes are touching in the front to ask for a half size bigger pair.
- The stride test: Make sure the heels and the boots will not move as one. If the boots are too large, they may cause blistering.