How to Choose the Best Hiking Shoes

There’s a thin line between enjoying a hike and turning it into a hellish experience. A simple mistake of picking the wrong pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots can quickly lead to a painful memory. Luckily, a little bit of research goes a long way. Here’s how to find the best hiking shoes for your next adventure.

Understand Essential Differences

Before making any decisions, understand the fundamental differences between various hiking shoes and boots. It all starts with the types of boots that are available on the market. Each of them has a specific use.

  • Light hiking shoes – If you need lightweight footwear, these should be your pick. They are great for soft terrain and dry weather. They are equally comfortable for short and long tracks. But if you’re planning to go on different terrain, you’ll need something more durable.
  • Mountaineering boots – Rocky trails are typical in the hiking world. As you might imagine, you’ll need more robust shoes to help you endure rocky surfaces. Besides being more durable, these boots are warmer too, which is helpful for snow-covered paths.
  • Backpacking boots – These are the perfect pick for professionals, as they are incredibly durable and will get you through any type of terrain. Backpacking boots are for advanced hikers who enjoy being on the road for several days.

Before you head out to your first hike, learn more about the terrain. You can do it easily with one of the popular hiking apps containing details of thousands of paths.

Figure Out What Material You Need

When you’re looking for the best hiking shoes, pick a material that suits your needs.

  • Synthetics – If you’re looking for a water-resistant material, you should steer away from synthetics. However, shoes with polyester or nylon dry faster and are light to wear. They’re suitable for shorter day treks under clear weather.
  • Split-grain leather – These shoes are a mix of synthetics and leather. They’re more durable than synthetics. However, they’re still not the best pick for rainy weather.
  • Full-grain leather – Are you planning to go on demanding hikes, and do you want outstanding protection and durability? Full-grain leather is the way to go. Do some conditioning though, you’ll need it because the material is heavy.

It all comes down to the type of trail and weather conditions. If you’re planning to become an advanced hiker, it’s best to equip yourself with different shoes with these materials.

Pick a Cut That Works For You

Deciding which cut to use is an individual choice. For example, if the wearer experienced any kind of ankle injury in the past, they’ll find high cut the best option. Other options are low and mid-cut. Low-cut is the lightest, whereas mid-cut provides better ankle support.

The Most Useful Apps for Hikers

Hiking is a fun hobby for millions of enthusiasts around the world. It’s a perfect group activity, but many hikers go on their exploration journeys on their own. The experience of walking through nature with lungs full of oxygen is as close to liberty and peace as one can imagine.

Naturally, as time passes, hikers need more challenging trails that provide them with more exploration opportunities. Installing a hiking app can help passionate hikers find their next trail. With a vast database, there are a plethora of options available on the map.

Given how popular the hobby is, there’s a big selection of hiking apps for Android and iOS operating systems. Here are a couple of apps you’ll find helpful as a hiker.

AllTrails

AllTrails has a massive selection of trails maps. It’s the perfect partner for both novice and expert hikers as it allows its users to access maps with a couple of taps. More importantly, each trail map provides additional details, such as the trail length and difficulty. The social aspect also makes the app appealing, as you can add friends and follow each other’s hiking activities. The included trail reviews are the perfect depictions of the trails, helping hikers experience the trail before they venture it.

The app is available on iOS and Android, and there’s a free and paid version. If you want to access all the features, it’ll set you back $29.99 per year.

Spyglass

Spyglass offers unique features that ease the hiker’s navigation. While it’s available on Android and iOS, unlike many other apps, it’s not free. You’ll have to spend $5.99 to install it. However, it’s a one-time fee, and you’ll get lifetime access to the app. It’s more than worth it, as the app includes useful features that turn your phone into binoculars, star finder, altimeter, GPS receiver, and speedometer, among other things.

Having access to all this data is beneficial for active hikers, and this app should be on their phones.

The Hiking Project

The Hiking Project is the biggest community of people centered around hiking. The app is entirely free, and all of the information in the app is added by hikers. Furthermore, they also add relevant details about the trail, including reviews and things such as how much food and water supplies you’ll need.

If you want to join a global community of passionate hikers, installing this app is a must. Aside from offering plenty of features, the best part is that the app is free and that you can add your content for other hikers to enjoy.

PeakFinder

If you’re looking for a way to explore the trail in a completely different way, PeakFinder will allow you to do so. The app comes with a rich database exceeding 650,000 peaks. No matter where you are, all you have to do is point your camera towards the landscape you’re looking at, and you’ll see the labels of peaks in focus. The app is available on iOS and Android and is only $4.99.