How to choose trekking shoes- a question that comes to the mind of every beginner trekker.

When most people think of trekking, they imagine a single track through the wilderness. Still, the term encompasses many outdoor adventures, from exploring wild areas to visiting ancient ruins.

Trekking is often part of another activity, such as climbing, camping, mountain biking, or skiing. For all of these activities, the right pair of shoes is an essential part of comfort and safety.

When you’re going on a trek, you need to bring a whole bunch of things to make it through: sleeping bags, tents, and cooking equipment, to name a few. But there’s one thing you might have initially overlooked: how to choose trekking shoes.

Read on how to choose trekking pants here.

You don’t want to be stuck with ankle- or knee-breaking boots that are sure to give you blisters, or you could get to your campsite only to realize that you forgot to pack the laces to your sneakers.

Choosing the right shoes for trekking can be a daunting task. From the make, material, and design – many factors influence whether a shoe is ideal for you and your journey. Whether you’re looking to conquer some serious peaks or just visiting friends up in the mountains, these pointers will help you find a shoe that suits your needs perfectly.

How to choose trekking shoes: Types

Before you know how to choose trekking shoes, you must first know the types.

  • Hiking shoes

Hiking shoes have a low-cut design to bear the weight of your body for long periods while hiking, so they’re usually made of leather or synthetic materials that are water-resistant and durable. A good pair should have a sturdy sole that is made of flexible materials.

hiking shoes

This type of shoe is usually used by hikers and mountaineers on rugged terrain while trekking because they provide maximum support to the body’s joints and muscles. They usually have multiple eyelets and laces, which allow for the ideal adjustment in terms of fit so that they will be able to provide support.

Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX is one of the best hiking shoes that have splendid durability and on-trail performance. The shoes are light and have single-pull laces that give you a secure fit.

  • Trail running shoe

Trail running shoes are used by people who love outdoor sports such as trail running, hiking, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, and sprinting.

trail running shoes

These shoes are lightweight and made of synthetic materials, making them very flexible and comfortable to wear. Trail running shoes are usually designed on a V-bottom or a mesh upper that provides maximum breathability to your feet as well as protection from the elements. The sole is usually thick and durable.

Merrell MTL Skyfire is a good pair of trail running shoes that has a responsive midsole that will protect you from sharp terrain. The shoes offer traction features and the best thing about it is that it is inexpensive.

  • Day hiking boots

Day hiking boots are an essential item for any hiker.

Hiking boots are designed for extreme use such as rugged terrain, trail running, or mountaineering, so they’re made with durable materials to support the foot while performing outdoor sports activities such as hiking.

day hiking boots

Hiking boots are usually mid to high-cut shoes with thick soles and heels, making them easy to walk in. Leather or synthetic materials such as Gore-Tex are used to make them. They are great for long trips. Another benefit of these shoes is that they’re designed to be waterproof to protect your feet from getting wet while you’re walking on a trail.

The proper footwear is crucial for a successful hike, and day hiking boots provide the support, traction, and comfort necessary when trekking over rugged terrain.

Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot is a waterproof day hiking boot that has protective rubber toe caps. It has an air cushion that provides a shock-absorption feature.

  • Mountaineering boots

Mountaineering boots are used for mountaineering activities such as climbing, hiking, and general mountaineering.

Mountaineering boots are designed to protect one’s feet while hiking over steep terrain and long distances in harsh weather conditions. These shoes are usually made with high-quality materials, which will ensure that your feet won’t get hurt while you’re using them.

La Sportiva Olympus Mons Cube

La Sportiva Olympus Mons Cube is a double synthetic mountaineering boot that is great for keeping your feet warm in extremely cold places. It sure is costly, but it sure is worth its price. It is durable and has a Velcro strap that seals your feet off from snow. It is also highly compatible with step-in crampons.

  • Backpacking boots

Backpack boots are high-cut shoes that are designed to support your feet while carrying heavier loads.

The best boots for backpacking are waterproof, breathable, and lightweight, and have stiff midsoles. They can provide enough comfort and support for a full day of trekking.

Backpacking boots should give you the ability to walk through different terrains without having to worry about your feet getting sore. A good backpacking boot will also insulate your foot from the effects of cold temperatures. The best boot for backpacking also has the right amount of support for your ankles so that they won’t get rubbed and become sore.

Read on how to choose a backpack for trekking here.

How to choose trekking shoes: Features

After understanding the types of shoes, you need to look for the following features to know how to choose trekking shoes:

1. Material

The material your shoe is made out of determines how sturdy it’ll be. Most shoes are either made of leather or fabric and synthetic materials.

Leather gives the shoe the most amount of resistance against abrasions. However, if you’re going on a strenuous trek that requires extra care for your feet, then fabric may be a more practical option as it provides some protection from water and is more flexible than leather.

2. Design

The design of the shoe depends on its intended use. For example, if you’re walking around town, a flat and stable shoe will be both comfortable and suitable.

design of trekking shoes

Compared to the more steep inclines and uneven surfaces that trekking involves, a higher design may be necessary. However, on average, trekking runs over longer distances (500m to 2000m), traction is more important than anything else. That’s why running shoes are usually better for not only running but also for trekking.

3. Weight

The weight of the shoe is also an essential factor to consider. For example, if you’re going on a 10-kilometer trek, a lighter shoe may not be necessary.

For a short 2-kilometer hike, the weight of the shoe can make or break your day. Plus, if you get caught in snow during your journey, having something lighter can save you from getting fatigued more quickly.

4. Support

This element is crucial when it comes to trekking. The support that the shoe gives your foot will influence how comfortable you’ll be. You can have a flat sole, but if your foot isn’t flat against the ground, you won’t have much support on uneven surfaces.

If your feet are on the ground, you won’t have much support when walking up steep hills or walking on rough terrain.

5. Footspace

You have to find the right shoe for your feet. Your feet should be able to fit into the shoe’s instep and heel, allowing it to support your weight. Take your time trying on different sizes of boots until you find one that feels comfortable. Also, try walking around to see if there’s any pinching or rubbing which could cause blisters in the future.

Footspace is a rating given to the space between your toes that should be measured while buying trekking shoes for yourself. A greater foot space will give you more wiggle room and more space for your toes and the balls of your feet.

If you have a narrow foot, then getting a pair of shoes with more space may not be ideal for you. The same goes for someone with wide feet: when shoe sizes are different, the wider fit will provide more support so that your feet don’t slide around in the shoe.

6. Water resistance

Water-resistance is vital because if the shoe gets wet, it’ll absorb water rather than letting it seep through its fibers. For trekking, you’ll need waterproof shoes that can keep your feet dry, especially if you’re trying to avoid getting blisters.

Water-resistant hiking shoes have several advantages. The first one is that they can withstand wet conditions. They can also be used as an alternative to boots. Also, they are very comfortable to walk in and can be used for walking in wet weather.

The technology that is used to make the shoes water-resistant is “moisture-wicking and waterproofing.”

Water sensitivity, or water resistance, is achieved through several different methods. The most common method entails the use of a fabric lining that protects the shoe from moisture penetration.

7. Shoes for the terrains

Your trek can involve all kinds of terrains. For example, you could be going over snow with a steep incline and then going into a bog that’s full of water.

To ensure comfort and safety on your journey, you need shoes made for the particular terrain. If you’re planning on walking through a bog, then it’s best to avoid shoes that have spikes because they’ll get stuck in the mossy water.

8. Shoes that have padding

During your trek through some terrain, things can get a little bit uncomfortable at times. For example, if you’re on a steep incline and you feel your feet getting sore and inflamed, a pair of shoes with padding will help ease your pain in between blisters.

Hiking boots with padding helps to provide some cushioning and protection for your feet, especially when you are hiking on rough terrain. These boots are lightweight and provide a bit of extra stability in the sense that they will not slip out of your hands when you are walking on a steep incline.

Also, it’s good to remember that these boots can also help prevent blisters.

9. Shoes with traction

The most common problem for new hikers is walking on slippery surfaces or rocks and stones. One way for you to avoid slipping is to have a pair of shoes with traction. It means that the soles are made from rubber or some other kind of material that provides your feet with a grip.

Traction shoes are best for wet surfaces as the rubber used to make them is long-lasting and durable. It also has a low profile which gives it less chance of getting caught in mud and snow. It is suitable as you don’t want to ruin your shoes by getting stuck in the mud or snow while trekking along a trail.

Using a pair of shoes with traction can also protect your feet from falling. Also, if you are hiking along a steep incline and your feet slip, some traction on the sole will help to reduce that risk. These shoes are also helpful in preventing blisters because they’ll keep your foot muscles strong and healthy, which means that you won’t get tired when climbing up a steep incline.

10. Sole thickness

The thickness of the sole determines the amount of traction it has. The balance between traction and flexibility is essential when choosing a shoe. If the sole is too thick, your shoes will be too stiff. However, if the sole is too thin, you’ll lose traction on even surfaces.

Sole thickness in hiking shoes is measured in millimeters. More thickness means that your shoes will be more rigid but also less flexible. These shoes are suitable for long-distance hikes because they will help prevent blisters. Also, they’ll provide good traction on slippery surfaces and smooth rocks.

The sole’s flexibility is equally important as it determines how well your shoe will fit on your feet and how smooth the soles will be on many surfaces. The stiffer the sole is, the less flexible it will be.

11. Ankle support

The ankle support of trekking shoes is a critical element. The ankles need protection while walking on uneven ground, so you should look for a shoe that offers more support where it is needed most.

An excellent way to decide how much support you need is to test it out before the purchase. It is best if you had a pair of shoes that will enable you to walk straight and comfortably without any problems. Also, the shoes should offer you medium support, so you don’t end up hurting your feet.

12. Appropriate socks

Wear socks that are appropriate for trekking boots. Good socks will help keep your feet warm and dry, which is essential when you’re hiking in cold weather or walking on wet, muddy trails.

Moisture-wicking socks will also provide a bit of protection from blisters, as sweat and foot sweat build-up can cause them to start over quickly. As for hiking shoes, your choice will depend on how much you want to spend and whether you want a good amount of venting.

If you choose not to wear socks, make sure to check the specifications for any footwear before purchasing it.

13. Durability

The upper and the sole of a shoe should be able to hold up to excessive wear and tear without breaking apart too quickly. The leather material used should be thick enough to be able to withstand harsh weather conditions.

The type and quality of the leather used in the shoe’s construction are significant. The right leather can improve your shoes’ durability by keeping them from cramping and stretching. However, it can also make you feel like you’re walking on a rock while trekking through uneven surfaces.

So when you’re looking for trekking boots or shoes, make sure that the leather used is durable enough so that it doesn’t stretch too much or tear on you.

14. Research

Do some research so that you will know what to expect from your new pair of boots. Find out what other people think about this product, or at least check out their reviews and feedback on this particular model.

When looking at the size chart of the shoe, check if the size will fit your feet properly. Also, consider the pros and cons of choosing the model you desire.

To have a durable pair of hiking boots or shoes, you must purchase them from a reputable company. Improper construction and materials used are sure to hurt your wallet in the long run. Plus, this type of footwear is not replaceable, so it’s best to be cautious about what you’re purchasing when deciding on which pair you want to purchase.

Well, these are the ways on how to choose trekking shoes.

How to choose trekking shoes: Conclusion

In the end, remember that before you walk through any terrain that involves walking and hiking, always be sure to break in your shoes. The same goes for any pair of shoes that have already broken in. If you don’t, the sole will be too thin and won’t provide enough grip for the ground. Not only will this cause blisters but also result in a lot of foot pain as well.

Also, learn how to stay hydrated during your hike.

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