Choose the Best Hiking Shoe

Edited by Rubilyn Valdez, Graeme, Trafalgar Law, Lynn and 5 others

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Choosing the best hiking shoe is critical in hiking. If not taken seriously, this little accessory can make or break your trip and sometimes, it can cost lives. Purchasing hiking shoes needs careful consideration of details such as type of trails, foot size and shape, price, and design. Here are some of the most effective tips to help you choose the best hiking shoe to use in the wilderness.

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  1. 1
    Know your size, and it is important to determine its conversion from the different manufacturer's origin
    It is a standard rule to know your size in figure, not just by fitting shoes in the department store. There are also variations when you are buying shoes from the US, UK, or Japan as they follow different sizing systems. For example, a size 9 US shoe is size 42 and 27 to UK and Japan respectively.

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  2. 2
    Sizes vary between men and women
    Hiking shoes are technical footwear, just like running or biking shoes. They serve a primary purpose; that is why it important to use them only on the trails. Shoes are also either gender-specific. Make sure to ask the sales agent whether you are buying the perfectly-fit shoe for you.

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  3. 3
    Climates and terrain types dictate which hiking shoes you need most
    If you are living in a cold environment or you fancy doing hikes on snow-capped mountains, it is best advised to choose winter hiking boots to provide additional warmth and protection to your feet. On the other hand, when hiking in tropical countries, you do not need boots, but rather mid to low cut hiking footwear. Gaiters are also helpful to protect you from cuts and bruises.

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  4. 4
    The sole is the most important part of the shoe
    Depending on the types of trails you wish to conquer, you can choose soles that are specifically intended for tropical rain-forests, snow-capped mountains, or flat terrains. A good quality sole can save you from sudden slips and trail accidents.

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  5. 5
    Decide whether you need a tying shoelace or an easy-to-adjust version
    Tie shoes allow you to replace laces when they are damaged or you simply want to have a different look. Adjustable shoes laces are not replaceable, but they provide you with ease and convenience whenever you want a tighter or looser hold from your shoes.

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  6. 6
    Choose the ideal external membrane suited for the weather of your destination
    Mesh outer layers are easy to dry and are best to be used in river crossings. On the other hand, leather-like materials are ideal if you are taking a muddy or rocky trail. This adds additional support and protection for your feet.

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  • Know the anatomy of your hiking shoes and research how you can take advantage of each feature.
  • In cleaning mesh-layered shoes, avoid using a steel brush because it can potentially damage the whole membrane. Use a soft cloth instead, soaked in mild detergent or soap.
  • Take time to break in your hiking shoes before engaging into a full blown outdoor activity. This will give you the opportunity to be comfortable in your new footwear and learn to use them nicely on the trails.


  • Be careful about how you clean your hiking shoes. As much as possible, do not use strong detergents with bleach, as this can damage the outer membrane, which can result in poor waterproofing ability.
  • Prolonged exposure to extreme heat or coldness can make your shoes crispier over time. Make sure to dry and clean them immediately after extensive use outdoors.

Questions and Answers

Hard to find ideal acceptable hiking shoes?

I'm looking for something smart (of course not a formal but a more elegant one) short cut hiking shoes for a New Zealand tour. I prefer classic lines and shapes, prefer leather but it should be waterproof cause of often showers in NZ. I like the Alden's very classic Indy boots, but looking for something shorter cut and something cheaper. It's hard job...

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The first thing you should consider is the tour you'll be taking in New Zealand. The second thing is that the boots you're interested in are in the £500 range, which puts them in the range of some of the most state of the art hiking boots you could buy - which the Alden Indy is not. Instead, it's a very expensive but well made boot that you'll need to spend significant time acclimating your foot to. If you don't, you'll end up sore enough that you won't be able to walk or enjoy your tour of NZ.

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So, the first thing to consider is your comfort, the second thing to consider is the function and durability of the boots, and the third thing to consider is their utility outside of general use (waterproof, quick drying, laces that can double as a tourniquet, zippered sides depending on the terrain).

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Fashion should be your last concern, and while the Alden is a great boot, it's one you'll want to be sure of before taking it out on tour.

Looking for best hiking shoe for hot, wet Panama?

Its hot, wet, rocky and slippery.. I have tried: I have boots for Colorado only.. I think it was caused by: No problem

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Categories : Sports

Recent edits by: Grimm, Dougie, Hubert

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