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With a bewildering array of options and features, and an absolutely huge price range, it is easy for consumers to make decisions resulting in either overspending or underinvesting. And of course, it ultimately comes down to how you will be using your hiking footwear. A leisurely walk on a nice, flat, paved pathway does not need a heavy hiking boot. But heading out for a week-long trek in the mountains, crossing streams and clambering over boulders and climbing steep hills surely calls for something much more than a simple pair of trail sandals. Read on for more info on important features for your hiking boots and shoes.
The higher the cut the greater the support for the ankle. Hiking shoes provide little ankle support while boots are cut so they either cover part of the ankle or the entire ankle. Support is good, of course, but the trade off for all that support is increased weight and less flexibility which could mean less comfort.
Higher cuts also mean better deflection of water, mud, stones and other debris. But again the trade off is they can be sweatier to wear. If you are carrying a heavy pack, the higher cuts will give you greater stability especially at the end of a long, steep climb or going over uneven terrain. Finally, higher cuts will require a longer breakin period - especially with leather materials.
Waterproofing is not the same as water resistance. With waterproofing you should expect that water will not penetrate at all while water resistance will not completely prevent water from penetrating, especially if fully immersed in a deep puddle or a stream.
Waterproof outsole: This is where the “rubber meets the road.” The idea here is to stop moisture before it gets in the footwear. Of course, even if the outsole is waterproof, wading through a foot deep stream is likely to cause water to get in unless the construction includes a very strong seal around the cuff. Most soles should be expected to repel all moisture.
Waterproof upper: Somewhat less common is a waterproof upper. The upper is attached to the outsole either by glue (less costly but may wear more quickly) or stitched. Higher end hiking shoes and boots typically have stitched uppers that are waterproof.
Waterproof insoles: Moisture may also come from the foot itself. Perspiration, if allowed to persist, can result in unpleasant odors and even fungus to develop. While high quality socks are a good response to this problem, the footwear itself may have a moisture wicking material to help keep the foot dry.
Aggressive design of the sole means the lugs are deep enough to grip all kinds of surfaces whether it is snow, mud, wet, gravel or sand. The deeper the lugs the greater the traction, but super aggressive patterns will be heavy and won’t provide benefits if being used on hard, level surfaces.
You know your feet. And your feet know you. Some people need lots of arch support and some do not want or need it. Either way, the insole will have padding engineered to absorb the shock so the feet do not. There are all kinds of materials used for the insole. They may be removable and replaceable if they get lots of miles on them and are no longer taking the shock.
Where are you going to wear these? Urban fashion trends in your circle might be fine with a full on high rise boot. But maybe a casual Friday followed by drinks at your favorite watering hole might only call for a shoe to keep the slushy winter away. Why not get a pair of shoes and some boots for either scenario?
Tennisracquets.com stocks a wide array of hiking shoes and boots. Don’t forget your socks and some good sunglasses for your outdoor adventures too. The choices are great for either men or women so you can shop for yourself and a friend too!