Updated: Feb 20
Would you like to get into hiking or trail running and you just aren’t sure what shoes to wear? Here are some quick tips to picking a shoe for the trail and how to know when you need to replace it!
I own a heavy duty hiking boot, a lightweight hiking boot and a pair of trail running shoes. With these 3 options I always have something that will work depending on what trail I am on, how far I am going and how heavy my pack is. The majority of the time I lean towards using my trail running shoes because they are just so comfortable! If I have a really heavy pack and I’m going pretty far I will use my light weight hiking boots. If I will be going in streams and over lots of rocks or mud and I have a heavy pack and I am planning to go very far, then I will use my heavy duty hiking boots!
When picking your shoes out you’ll want to consider 3 things: support, material and fit.
Support: The under soul of the boot and the cuff around your ankle are what give you support from your shoe. The stiffer the soul the more protection from rocks and roots. The higher the cuff the more protection for your ankle.
Material: If you will be in any water you would want to choose a lined boot with waterproofing. If you will be hiking in drier climates a breathable material is better to keep your foot cool. A lighter and softer boot is more comfortable right out of the box, but if you need a stiff heavy duty boot you will want to break it in before any hikes. You can break it in by wearing it around your house for a few days. That is also a good time to see if it is rubbing anywhere and causing blisters. If it is rubbing you can put duct tape, moleskin or several other barriers on your skin to protect your foot from getting blisters.
Fit: This is the most important part of a good shoe choice! Make sure the shoe holds your foot in place and does not let the heel go up and down which will cause blisters. It is also very important that your toes have some wiggle room. If you are hiking down a hill with a pack on, your toes will hit the front of your boot and can kill your toenails! If this happens your toenail will turn black and eventually fall off - it’s happened to me a few times, not fun! Your