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How do I Choose the Best Trekking Shoes?

By K. Gierok
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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Choosing the best pair of trekking shoes can be a very difficult and time-consuming process. By keeping some basic principles in mind, however, hikers of any age and ability can choose a quality pair of trekking shoes. Customers should start by evaluating the terrain that they will spend most of their time hiking on, as well as consider local foliage and weather changes. In order to make a final decision, hikers should try on a number of various pairs in order to determine which style feels best.

In order to find the best trekking shoes, outdoor enthusiasts must first determine exactly what type of terrain they will be hiking on regularly. As with choosing other types of shoes, the type of terrain that will be covered plays a big role when determining what type of trekking shoes will be ideal. Those who plan to use on the shoes on terrains that feature high amounts of rocky or otherwise uneven terrain should look for trekking shoes that provide high amounts of ankle support. In contrast, those who plan to do the majority of their hiking on flatter surfaces will fare fine with shoes featuring low ankle support.

In addition to considering the terrain, hikers should also evaluate what type of foliage is present in the areas they will be hiking. Traditionally, leather trekking shoes are ideal for hot, dry climates, such as the desert, as they can resist puncture from cactus plants. In contrast, shoes forged from man-made materials are a better choice for regions that feature high amounts of low, hard brush, as this type of foliage can often tear or gouge leather.

Hikers who are looking for the best trekking shoes should also be sure to consider the average weather of the area where they will be hiking. Specific shoes that provide insulation from extreme cold or heat may be required for some climates, while waterproof shoes may be a better choice in areas with high amounts of yearly rainfall. In addition, the amount of ventilation provided by the shoe should also be considered, especially in areas where heat is a concern.

When it comes down to it, hikers must make a final decision simply based on which shoe feels best. While a certain shoe may look ideal on paper, it might not necessarily be the most comfortable choice. Hikers should try on a number of different options before settling on a final choice in order to make the best decision.

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Discussion Comments

By croydon — On Sep 10, 2011

@irontoenail - I personally think that the best kind of trekking shoe is actually the hiking sandals that you can get from specialty shoe stores. You don't have to worry about sweat or even getting blisters if you have a well fitted pair and you wear them in properly. I've had a decent pair of trekking sandal last me several years, and lots of difficult hikes.

Of course, you can't wear them on all terrains, and in some cases you've just got to have closed toed shoes.

At which point, I agree, you should put time and money into getting the right kind of socks. They don't have to be thick though. You can get special hiking socks that wick away sweat and cushion your feet without being too heavy.

By irontoenail — On Sep 09, 2011

People don't tend to think about this as much as the shoes, but the kind of socks you wear is also important.

Thick socks can make the difference between blisters or no blisters on a really long hike. It might seem uncomfortable to wear thick socks in hot weather, but it can be worth it, particularly as they can help to absorb sweat.

Even the best hiking boots can give you blisters if you aren't used to them, or if you wear them for a long time.

It's always a good idea to wear the shoes and socks that you are planning to take on a trip with you for a while beforehand so you can test them out. That way, you don't end up with any nasty surprises.

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