Hiking is a great way to stay active and connect with nature, but having the right gear is essential to ensure a comfortable and safe experience.
One of the most important pieces of equipment for any hiker, beginner or experienced, is a good pair of hiking shoes.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the best hiking shoes for beginners.
- Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator – The Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator is a great choice for beginner hikers because of its comfortable fit and reasonable price point. The shoe features a breathable mesh lining, a durable suede leather and mesh upper, and a Vibram outsole for excellent traction on a variety of terrains.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX – The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX is a great option for hikers who may encounter wet conditions on the trail. The shoe features a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane and a Contragrip sole for excellent traction on wet and slippery surfaces. The shoe also has a comfortable and supportive fit, making it a great choice for longer hikes.
- Keen Targhee III Waterproof – The Keen Targhee III Waterproof is another great option for hikers who want a shoe that can handle wet conditions. The shoe features a waterproof leather and mesh upper, a breathable membrane, and a durable rubber outsole. The shoe also has a comfortable and supportive fit, making it a great choice for longer hikes.
- Oboz Sawtooth II Low – The Oboz Sawtooth II Low is a great option for hikers who want a shoe that is both comfortable and durable. The shoe features a comfortable and supportive midsole, a durable nubuck leather and mesh upper, and a grippy outsole for excellent traction on a variety of surfaces.
- Hoka One One Sky Kaha – The Hoka One One Sky Kaha is a great option for hikers who want a shoe that provides maximum comfort and support. The shoe features a cushioned midsole, a durable leather and mesh upper, and a grippy outsole for excellent traction on a variety of surfaces. The shoe also has a roomy toe box, making it a great choice for hikers with wider feet.
When choosing a pair of hiking shoes as a beginner, it’s important to consider the terrain you will be hiking on, as well as your own personal comfort preferences. Look for shoes that provide good traction, support, and comfort, and consider trying on several different pairs before making a final decision. With the right pair of hiking shoes, you can hit the trails with confidence and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
What is the difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots?
Hiking shoes and hiking boots are two different types of footwear designed for hiking, and they differ in several ways.
Hiking shoes are low-cut shoes that typically come with a sturdy sole and some degree of ankle support. They are lighter than hiking boots and provide more flexibility, making them ideal for day hikes or shorter trails. Hiking shoes are usually made of breathable materials like mesh and synthetic fabrics, and they come in both waterproof and non-waterproof varieties.
On the other hand, hiking boots are taller, more rigid and provide more ankle support than hiking shoes. They are designed for longer and more challenging hikes, as they offer more stability and protection from rocks, roots, and other obstacles on the trail. Hiking boots are typically made of leather or synthetic materials and are available in both waterproof and non-waterproof versions.
In summary, hiking shoes are a good choice for shorter hikes or for those who prefer a more lightweight and flexible option, while hiking boots are better suited for longer hikes or rugged terrain where more stability and support are needed. Ultimately, the choice between hiking shoes and hiking boots depends on the individual’s personal preference and the nature of the hike they plan to undertake.
How do I choose the right size of hiking shoes?
Choosing the right size of hiking shoes is crucial to ensure a comfortable and safe hiking experience. Here are some tips to help you choose the right size:
- Measure your foot – Start by measuring the length and width of your foot. You can do this by tracing your foot on a piece of paper and measuring the distance between the longest points of your foot.
- Try on shoes later in the day – Your feet tend to swell throughout the day, so it’s best to try on shoes later in the day when your feet are at their largest.
- Wear hiking socks – Wear the type of hiking socks that you plan to wear on your hike when trying on hiking shoes. This will give you a better idea of how the shoes will fit with the added bulk of the socks.
- Check the fit – The fit should be snug but not too tight, with enough room in the toe box to wiggle your toes. There should be no pressure points or pinching, and your heel should be secure and not slipping out of the shoe.
- Walk around – Walk around in the shoes to make sure they feel comfortable and provide enough support. Try walking up and down stairs or inclines to get a better sense of how the shoes feel on different terrain.
Remember that the fit of hiking shoes can vary between different brands and models, so it’s always a good idea to try on multiple pairs and compare the fit. When trying on shoes, make sure to walk around in them for several minutes to get a good sense of the fit and comfort level.
Are expensive hiking shoes worth the investment?
The price of hiking shoes can vary greatly depending on the brand, materials, and features. While expensive hiking shoes may come with additional features and benefits, whether or not they are worth the investment ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding if expensive hiking shoes are worth the investment:
- Frequency of use – If you plan to hike frequently, investing in high-quality hiking shoes may be worth it as they will likely last longer and provide better support and comfort on the trail.
- Terrain – If you plan to hike on rugged or technical terrain, investing in more expensive hiking shoes with added features like a sturdy outsole or a waterproof membrane may be worth it to ensure your safety and comfort.
- Foot conditions – If you have foot conditions such as flat feet or plantar fasciitis, investing in higher-quality hiking shoes with additional arch support and cushioning may be worth it to prevent discomfort and injury.
- Budget – Of course, your budget will play a significant role in determining whether or not you can afford more expensive hiking shoes. It’s important to find a pair of hiking shoes that fit within your budget while still meeting your needs.
Can I use regular running shoes for hiking?
While regular running shoes may be comfortable and suitable for some light hiking, they are not designed for the unique demands of hiking on rough terrain. Running shoes are designed for forward motion and provide less lateral support, which can be problematic on uneven terrain. Additionally, they may not offer enough traction or protection against rocks and other obstacles commonly found on hiking trails.
Here are some reasons why regular running shoes may not be the best option for hiking:
- Traction – Running shoes typically have a smooth sole with less grip, which can be dangerous on slippery or rocky terrain.
- Durability – Running shoes are designed for running on smooth surfaces and may not hold up to the wear and tear of hiking on rough terrain.
- Protection – Hiking shoes are designed to protect your feet from rocks, roots, and other obstacles on the trail, while running shoes may not offer enough protection.
- Support – Hiking shoes are designed to provide support and stability on uneven terrain, while running shoes offer less lateral support and may not be suitable for hiking.
What type of hiking shoes are best for rocky terrain?
When it comes to hiking on rocky terrain, having a good pair of shoes is essential for both comfort and safety. Here are some features to look for in hiking shoes that are best for rocky terrain:
- Sturdy sole – A sturdy, durable sole with good traction is essential for hiking on rocky terrain. Look for shoes with a thick and sturdy sole that will provide protection and stability on uneven surfaces.
- Rock plate – A rock plate is a protective layer built into the sole of the shoe that helps prevent bruising or injury from rocks and other obstacles. Look for shoes with a rock plate for added protection on rocky terrain.
- Supportive upper – The upper of the shoe should be sturdy and provide support to prevent ankle injuries on rocky terrain. A high-cut shoe or mid-cut boot can provide additional support and stability.
- Cushioning – Cushioning in the sole and midsole can help absorb shock and reduce the impact of hiking on rocky terrain, providing more comfort and reducing the risk of injury.
- Fit – Proper fit is important for any type of hiking shoe, but especially for rocky terrain where stability and support are key. Look for shoes that fit snugly but still allow for some wiggle room in the toe box.
Some popular hiking shoe brands that offer models designed for rocky terrain include Salomon, Merrell, and La Sportiva. It’s important to choose a shoe that fits your specific needs and the terrain you will be hiking on.