I have five pairs of hiking shoes. Some of them are heavy duty boots. On some of my hikes I prefer sandals or my trail running sneaker. It all depends on what I am doing. I thought I would share with you what I do so when it comes time to decide on which footwear you will use, you can have something to think about.
Everyone Needs a Favorite Pair of Boots!
Since I hike in all seasons and in all kinds of weather, I found that I needed shoes that could fit most situations. I actually do have a hiking boot that is waterproof, sturdy enough for a pair of crampons, and is supposedly a three season shoe (all seasons but winter). However, I found that I prefer the shoe in the winter over anything else.
Winter Hiking Boots
So, I purchased a pair of winter hiking boots (pair number two) and you know what? I don’t like them. I wore them on one hike and I found they didn’t have enough traction and my foot got too hot. So, my “three season” boots is actually more than adequate for all four seasons. I barely use the winter boots.
Day Hiking Boot – Backup Pair
My third pair is a backup day hiking shoe. They’re not as comfortable or versatile as the other shoe because they really aren’t as good in the winter. They can handle hikes that don’t exceed two hours. But, they are decent for the other three seasons unless there is heavy rainfall – they are water proof but somehow my feet still get a little wet.
I caved in and bought a pair of Chaco’s. In case you aren’t familiar with them, they are comfortable sandals that have a sturdy base and offer adequate support with good traction. You can hike in them! When it’s hot in the summer, I can’t stand wearing regular shoes and prefer sandals. I use these all the time.
Trail Running Shoes
Finally, I always have a pair of trail running shoes at the ready. I LOVE trail running but I also wear these shoes hiking. Sometimes, when I want to do a hike primarily for speed, I’ll wear these shoes instead of my favorite boots (the ones I mentioned at the beginning of this post). Those boots are great but they are a bit heavy.
My Advice to You…
My advice to you is to start with one pair of hiking shoes that are highly versatile and will be great during multiple seasons. Once you go on a few hikes, you’ll begin to get a feel for whether or not this will be enough or if you want to buy more, like I did. I use my favorite boots about 80% of the time and the other shoes only sporadically.