Hiking is a fun activity that has several health benefits to your body. For you to enjoy this activity and also reap the best out of it, you need to have the right gear for it. Hiking entails walking, and this makes the boots the essential hiking gear.
The variety of boots and shoes have exploded in the past decade owing to the increased popularity of hiking as an activity. The current designs are highly specialised and made to suit different forms of hiking, and this is good news for you since there are more choices than ever.
However, this good thing has a downside since it makes it hard for you to pick the right one for you. Many people cannot deal with this depth in variety and opt to stick to what works for them year in year out, but what if there is a better option.
Such are the questions that will hit you when trying to pick a suitable hiking boot and this article will look into some important aspects that need to be looked into when buying one. Read on to find out.
Understand The Styles
Hiking boots are not created equally, and they are designed for specific types of trekking. Are you a part-time hiker or one who spends a lot of time in the woods? Knowing the difference will be necessary when determining the best hiking boots for your needs.
These are essentially a burly version of running shoes, and they are referred to as shoes and not boots. They are light and flexible, but they offer limited support. You are best suited to them if you will be going to well-defined trails and short hikes.
They are also suitable if you won’t carry around a lot of luggage and for experienced hikers whose bodies are already used to the weight and won’t need the support offered by these shoes. Under this group of shoes, you will get those that are made of leather, suede and synthetic reinforcements that provide some support and resist any form of abrasion. They will look like advanced running shoes or low-cut versions of the traditional hiking boots.
The advantages of these shoes are that they are comfortable and you won’t notice them especially if you are carrying a light load. They are smaller and won’t take up much space and have basic support material that makes them better than trainers. They are abrasion proof and will last for a long time.
The disadvantages are that there is minimal ankle support and not all the varieties you get will be suited for rough terrains. Water is more likely to get into the shoes, something that renders the waterproof features useless.
These boots are generally more supportive than the hiking shoes. They appear as the superior versions of the shoes and can be stiffer both in construction and structure to provide the needed support. However, they are heavier than the shoes to accommodate the materials used to provide this support.
They are suitable for people who plan on going for long hikes on rough terrains, those carrying medium sized loads and amateur hikers than need to support their body and muscles that are not used to the activity. Just like it is with hiking shoes, they are made of leather, suede and reinforcements.
However, the ratio of textile to the other materials is higher to offer better protection. Some of them have better underfoot protection enabled in the form of light plates under the forefoot to prevent bruises.
The pros of these boots are that they are relatively lighter than the higher cut versions. They offer better ankle support, and you can come across a wide variety of good waterproof brands. They can also come with a toe cap protection, and their abrasion resistance is excellent.
The cons are that they need some break-in time and may not last as long as the high cut versions.
Intense and long hikes need backpacking boots. These are the hard boots that can cope with all kinds of terrains and weather. They are taller, stiffer and offer more support and protection. They are thick with huge outsoles that provide additional accommodation for crampons and snowshoes.
However, all this means that they are heavy and this limits their use to people who can sustain the weight. It is good to buy this boot if you want to become a seasoned hiker but note that you won't cruise as smoothly as you would do in the hiking shoes.
The main advantage of these boots is that they offer the best ankle support and make it easier to carry around heavier loads. They are very durable and can see you through any terrain.
The disadvantages are that they can slow you down and are just too much for the well-defined trails. They can also take a long time to wear in, something that can lead to blisters.