What Shoes to Wear for Hiking
Shoe Finale supports our readers with hundreds of hours of research and analysis to help you secure the best products for your life and your family. You support us through our independently chosen links, which earn us a small commission. About Us
Hiking is an excellent physical activity that gets your heart rate up and gets your body moving with high intensity. And the one secret to keep your hiking excursion enjoyable and helpful to your overall wellbeing is by keeping your feet happy. That is why you need the right type of footwear for this type of exercise.
What shoes to wear for hiking depends on factors such as whether you plan to hike in areas with gravel trails. If you are planning to go to an area where you have to walk over rough rocks, it will also depend on the type of footwear you buy. Let’s take a look at the best hiking footwear you can get for your excursions to make them worthwhile.
Do You Need Shoes Or Boots For Hiking?
You may have learned after sharing your interest and desire in hiking that you must get boots. Traditionally, leather boots for hiking which was the type of footwear many people used the most. You figured that you needed to wear boots for hiking because of how they provide the proper support for your ankles and that they are sturdy and waterproof.
However, the fact of the matter is that hiking boots are not necessary to buy when you start your excursions. Boots can add a lot of weight to your feet and ankles. Think about it, though, as boots weigh three pounds, whereas hiking shoes only weigh one pound, which adds a lot less weight to your feet and ankles. Boots are also not known to be breathable as shoes are, which is another consideration to make when you decide to go hiking. You will be sweating a lot as you are exerting yourself, and if you are wearing footwear that is not breathable, then that means bacteria will breed.
Not only will that cause your feet to smell, but it will increase your chances of developing infections, whether they are bacterial or fungal, like the Athlete’s foot. Hiking shoes can also be waterproof, which is contrary to popular belief. However, if you prefer to get hiking boots or even tactical boots anyway as they are similar, that is all fine and good because you have to be the one who is comfortable with your choices.
However, you do not need hiking boots if you prefer to wear running shoes. As you see, hiking shoes have some advantages which were listed above. Now, you are still wondering what shoes to wear for hiking. Let’s go over some types of shoes right now.
Shoes For Day Hiking
Day hiking shoes are a great option if you plan to hike on groomed trails and don’t require a lot of ankle support. These shoes are very stable, and they are low-cut as well. Their soles are flexible and built to handle the rigors of the trails you are hiking on. They will provide you with the stability you need for hiking.
Another great thing about these shoes is that they are quite lightweight, and there is no break-in time requires as it would be with other types of shoes or boots. They also come in a variety of fabric types, as they are all waterproof as well as breathable. Day hiking shoes are also a lot more durable than running shoes.
However, remember that you will not get a lot of ankle support with day hiking shoes. They also can cause you to become warm if you are hiking when the sun is out even though they are breathable. These are not the ideal shoes to buy if you plan to walk on rugged surfaces in areas where the ground and rocks are uneven. The best type of shoes would be trail running shoes.
Trail Running Shoes For Hiking
If you plan to go hiking on less smooth trails, you will want to get trail running shoes. Trail running shoes have lugs on the soles with a firm grip on the rugged surface where you are walking. The shoes give you the proper traction you need, and these shoes also provide you with the right amount of cushioning. The cushioning that you need to keep your feet safe from rocks and roots.
Another reason that trail running shoes are excellent hiking shoes is that they give off a very comfortable and flexible feel. They are ideal if you plan to take a run on a trail or plan on doing some thru-hiking. They are incredibly resilient, and you don’t require having to deal with break-in time when purchasing them. These shoes are quite durable, and they are breathable. Because it is not ideal for wearing regular running shoes when you are taking a hike, this running shoe is a lot like wearing your every day sneakers.
However, like the shoes for day hiking, they don’t provide ample ankle support. Therefore, they are not ideal for wearing if you plan to take very long hikes. It is also essential to know that these shoes are not highly water-resistant. If you are looking to get elite hiking shoes such as rugged trail running shoes, you will need to be prepared to spend more money.
Rugged Trail Running Shoes
If you want to avoid getting hiking boots, you can always purchase the rugged trail running shoes. They can give you the right ankle support, and they are also waterproof, lightweight, and breathable. Some of these rugged trail running shoes are hybrids of hiking boots and hiking shoes, so you don’t have to face the heaviness with wearing a boot. However, you get the ankle support you need that hiking boots are known to provide.
These shoes are like moccasins, and they will provide you with the support you need if you were to walk on debris. You would not have to worry about slipping. However, even though you do not need boots for everyday hiking, as mentioned previously, there are some situations where boots are required.
When Is It Necessary To Wear Hiking Boots?
Remember that hiking boots are weighty, which means they add a lot of weight as you move, and they are not breathable. The only time you need to wear hiking boots is to go to areas that are planning to hike through a trail that is exceptionally muddy, rocky, or wet. That will only be if you are concerned that even rugged trail hiking shoes will not provide you with the support you need.
Just remember that hiking boots are heavy, and when you are hiking, you are carrying a backpack. That means you will be spending a lot of energy, and that can increase your chances of becoming fatigued.
You have wondered what shoes to wear for hiking, and as you can see, it depends on the type of trail you want to hike. It also depends on how long you plan to go hiking and the type of surface you are hiking on. If you are walking on a smooth surface, then day hiking shoes are the best. If you are planning to hike on less flat surfaces, then running shoes are ideal. However, if you are looking to hike on extremely rugged trails, then rugged trail running‘ shoes are what to get.
You do not need hiking boots unless you are hiking in a trail that is exceptionally rugged, wet, or muddy. And remember that boots are heavy to wear and are not breathable, which you want to limit when you are exerting your energy by going hiking. That is why you want to go for the right hiking shoes.