Types of Hiking Shoes and Qualities of the Best Hiking Shoes

Written by  on July 31, 2015

When comparing and looking for hiking shoes, it is vital to be aware of the features of great hiking shoes or boots. You should also understand how various features of hiking shoes work in order to make an informed decision while purchasing the shoes. You should also know the various types of hiking shoes in order for you to know what you exactly want. Below are common and most important characteristics of best hiking shoes (You can find it here Best Hiking Boots & Shoes – 2015 Top Picks & Reviews.) together with other crucial information you are supposed to be aware of prior to purchasing a hiking shoe.

Types of hiking shoes

· Low- cut hiking shoes

· Hiking boots

· Backpacking boots

· Mountaineering boots

Low cut hiking shoes

These shoes have low- cut designs and their midsoles are flexible. They are great for hiking during the day.

Hiking boots

These models are mid or high- cut and they are purposed for weekend backpacking and day hiking with a load that is light. They need a little break- in periods and are easily flexible.

Backpacking boots

These are shoes meant to carry loads that are heavier on multiday trips. They are mostly high- cut and they cover the ankles in order to offer great support. Their midsoles are stiff, supportive and durable.

Mountaineering boots

The midsoles of these shoes are stiff and the shoes are weightier as compared to other hiking shoes. They are specifically designed to accept crampons for glacier travel and carry heavy loads. The shoes are supportive, durable and tough.

Qualities that determine how well hiking shoes perform

Water resistance

Your hiking shoes should not expose your feet to moisture while you are hiking. You should, therefore, look for water- tight and breathable materials. Moisture causes blisters, hence, you should ensure that your feet are dry. The tongues of the shoes should be fully gusseted, in order to ensure that the upper openings are covered.

Arch support

Your hiking shoes should prevent your feet from being flattened under pressure from heavy load. They should, therefore, support the arch of your feet. A shank that is curved is inserted between the insole and the midsole in order to offer arch support.

Hiking shoe weight

Your hiking shoes should be light, in order to make it easier for you to walk. Great hiking shoes, therefore, should be light while support and durability are maintained.

Longitudinal rigidity

When much weight is placed on the heel or the toe part of your feet, the hiking shoes should support your foot from over-bending. Consequently, longitudinal flexibility of the shoe should be enough to offer support to arches’ natural spring action.

Lateral rigidity

Your shoes should support your ankles and your feet from twisting while walking on uneven terrain. Lateral rigidity is highly contributed by stiff ankle supports as well as higher shoes.

Moisture is your worst enemy during a hike. You should, therefore, ensure that the hiking shoes that you are wearing are waterproof. The upper part should be firmly connected to the sole in a waterproof manner and non-separating way. The material of the shoe should also be able to breathe and prevent water from reaching your feet.