During the summer months many of you will be hitting the trails and it’s important that you figure out what type of shoe that you need to maximize your experience and to keep you safe. I’ve hiked myself and have noticed the difference I feel when choosing whether or not I should have a sneaker on (for easier trails) versus a hiking boot (for tougher trailer). I’ve also had a lot of friends injure themselves by not having the right type of shoe on and slipping or falling off of ledges due to lack of support or grip.
As stated before thinking about what type of hiking you are going to be doing is key. Choosing boots that are made to support you and your party (backpack, wagons, etc.) is important so map out how much weight you will be important.
Trail Shoes: Trail shoes are great for hiking in hot weather or during times where rain is not foretasted. They are also great for short walks and climbs.
Trail Hikers: Are the next step up. These will be for those hikers who are going on an all day event where the climbs are a bit stepper. Trail Hikers are also a great idea if the weather is foretasted to be rainy or there was a recent storm that came through the area you are looking to hike at.
Mountaineering: These are for those extreme climbers. If you are planning to hike a large mountain or climb during the winter these types of boots will provide the support and dependability you are going to need up on the mountain.
What is a good boot?
Good boots have a rock hard bottom on them: Make sure that when you try them on to ask the store if they have a “rugged” terrain test where you can walk over stones of some sort. If they do not have this test then try to see if you can feel the bottom of your thumb through the sole of the shoe. If you can feel your thumb then the shoe probably won’t support a hike.
Good boots provide ankle support: When trying the shoe on see how far you can twist your ankle. Remember, when you are up on the mountain you will encounter many situations where your ankle is tested. By testing the ankle before buying you’ll make sure that you don’t end your day early with a trip to the doctors.
Good boots are weather-proof: While many hikers try and predict the weather no one can actually control the weather. Weather can change in an instant and if you are caught in the rain or snow your feet will be at risk for blisters which will decrease your performance on the hike. I’ve spoken with many people who did not have weather-proof boots and have since been turned off to hiking because of their experience on the mountain.
Good boots fit right: Make sure to wear the socks you plan to wear on the hike when testing out boots. They should be snug as you’ll avoid frostbite by not allowing more air in (remember, weather-proof boots work best!). Also make sure that you test the boots on multiple surfaces along with inclines and declines.
Make sure that after you buy the boots that you follow the recommended maintenance suggestions as this will keep your boot.
Break in your boots. Try taking short hikes or walks around the neighborhood, backyard (if you have woods), park, etc.
The price you pay is what you get: I wish I could write that good hiking boots cost $15.99 but that just simply isn’t true. Most good boots are made of leather which drives cost up a bit. Good boots can cost anywhere between $50-$200 depending on what features you need and what type of hike you are about to embark on. My recommendation is to try several boots, select a few that would work best for you, and then worry about the price tag. You should be able to have several pricing options if you can find a few shoes.
In closing I hope that you are all having a great spring season and look forward to seeing some of you in the upcoming weeks at my stores. It’s not easy to find the right shoe and whether the shoe is for hiking, athletics, or just a walk around the block it’s important that you find the right shoe for you that fits. If you want more information feel free to check out our websites listed on the right or comment on the bottom.
About Wes: Wes McCluney was raised in Memphis, TN where his family owned and operated Athletic Shoes, Etc for over 25 years. He was born into the shoe business and during early childhood was actively involved in the community and especially sports. After playing football for and graduating from The University of Virginia Wes became actively involved in building the New Balance Brand in Atlanta, GA. He joined his Father and business partner in opening several New Balance stores throughout Tennessee and Georgia and was the vision behind http://www.TriCityNewBalance.com