Early on in my hiking career, I didn’t realize that footwear could make or break the hike. I had two basic pairs of shoes – a cheap pair of hiking boots I dreaded wearing because they weren’t comfortable. In an effort to avoid wearing those shoes, I would wear my sneakers, which on some hikes was completely impractical.
As I got older, I wised up – I at least wore comfortable hiking boots, but I still had a long way to go. Now, I own at least eight pairs of shoes that are suitable for hiking in depending on the situation. If you decide to make hiking one of your main hobbies, I would make sure you have these shoes in your closet:
I actually have three pairs of boots. One pair of backpacking boots that are rated for three seasons but are actually warm enough to wear in the winter when the temperatures are above freezing. They’re also sturdy enough to wear with a heavy backpack and are even great with my crampons. I also have a pair of boots that are fairly lightweight which makes them perfect for hot weather. I have a pair of winter boots to wear if I insist on hiking in sub-zero temperatures, which I’ve been known to do. Do you need three pairs of hiking boots as well? Maybe not, I would just think about the conditions of your hike before you set up and if you don’t have shoes that will work, I’d go out and buy them at least a week in advance so that you can wear them a few times to break them in.
I have no idea where I’d be without my hiking sandals! I have two pairs – a pair of Chacos, which have a sturdy base and plenty of traction, and a pair of lightweight hiking sandals that still have traction but are more flexible throughout the sole. Of these, the Chacos are my favorite because they’re a lot more versatile. However, I tend to wear the lightweight sandals in hotter weather because the Chacos make my feet sweat and I’ve gotten some painful blisters in hot weather.
Trail Running Shoes
Trail running is one of my favorite outdoor activities. However, I have learned that I also like to hike in my trail running sneakers when the trail has me scrambling on rocks, as is often the case in New Hampshire where I see to do most of my hiking. When climbing rocks, I like to feel the rock with my foot and it makes it easier for me to climb. This is also my shoe of choice when I only have a light pack and I want to conquer a hike for speed. My other boots tend to be heavy and can weight you down.
Which shoes do you like for hiking? My collection was developed over the past decade. When one shoe gets worn out, I replace it with something similar. I hike year round, which means that I need a lot more shoes. In fact, winter hiking is my favorite!