Hiking shoes are the most important part of the mountaineering equipment. To get from the hiking back safely, healthy and without blemishes, pay close attention when shopping them.
Types of mountain shoes
The most important thing when buying hiking shoes is the terrain where you will use them. A slight uphill is one, and the steep terrain covered with stones is somewhat different.
The basic rule: As the terrain is more complicated, and your backpack is heavier, the shoes should be harder and more durable.
This type of hiking shoe is intended for less demanding paths. Such paths are usually shorter, simpler and more organized.
Low mountaineering shoes are light and airy and do not support ankle support. They are comfortable, but provide less shielding.
Low hiking shoes are designed for less demanding and shorter lanes where you will not carry a heavy load. It is not advisable to wear larger hiking boots on these tracks because your weight and stiffness will, without the need, tire you, unless you are an experienced hiker.
Medium high-hiking shoes are a little more demanding and provide some ankle support, but are more flexible, lighter and more comfortable than high-mountaineering shoes. They provide good contact with the back, but if you are wearing a heavy backpack, they will not be as stable as high mountain shoes.
High hiking shoes or boots are designed for “true” mountaineering on a complicated terrain and with a heavy load on the back. They are tough and rigid, making them stable for climbing uneven terrain. This type of mountaineering shoe are more durable and have a longer life span.
They also provide excellent ankle support. Researching mountain ranges and peaks without such shoes is impossible – so do not try it out.
The first few times you are free to opt for shorter routes, though because of their bulk density and weight are otherwise not adequate for regular exploration of simpler trails. Do not try to walk on asphalt or concrete as these materials destroy the shoe.
The boots are mostly made of full leather. It is the most powerful and most durable skin type and is also water resistant. Full-bodied boots are ideal for wet and cold conditions.
However, water resistant is not always the best.
Waterproof mountaineering shoes are required on wet ground, but their advantages easily become disadvantages at high temperatures.
Namely, although watertight membranes such as Gore-Tex allow the foot to breathe, they still increase the temperature of the shoe. On the hot feet swells can sooner develop. Therefore, avoid shoes with watertight membranes if they are not really needed.
Waterproofing of shoes can be increased with impregnation agents.
The outer part of the mountaineering shoe should be rubber to prevent slipping. Among the most prestigious manufacturers of footwear is Italian Vibram.
High quality pegs act as shock absorbers or impacts absorbers. It makes the leg more stable and walking is safer. However, other manufacturers are also working on high quality footwear, especially in the high-end category of mountaineering shoes.
And in the end, the less stitches on the shoe, the better. They will last longer, and they are more waterproof.
During the purchase
With you, you must wear the socks you intend to wear with your shoes. You should try the shoe in the conditions you will be during hiking, which certainly does not include cotton foot. If you wear orthopedic insoles, be sure to wear them.
Go shopping late in the afternoon. Then your feet are more fluid and sensitive than they are in the morning, and this is more similar to the conditions you will be on the trail. This reduces your chances of buying shoes that are too small for you.
Shoes should be firm but comfortable. Before pulling the shoe, you should be able to put your finger between the heel and the back of the shoe. When folding the shoe, the fingers must not touch the front of the shoe, but at the same time the foot should not move.
Walk in the shoes around the store. If you are able to, try walking down stairs. You should not feel the pressure anywhere on your feet.
If you order shoes over the internet, check out how the store stands with return policy and replacing the product.