Over the years, many people have started taking interest in hiking and various other outdoor activities and this has resulted in growing popularity of various products needed for hiking. One of the most important things needed for hiking is the shoes. This is the reason that many hikers are looking for information on best hiking shoes.
Hikers need to wear protective, supportive and comfortable footwear to ensure that they remain safe and do not injure themselves. The hiking experience depends a lot on how well the hikers treat their feet. Hikers that go on hiking without proper equipment often spend a lot of time on keeping their feet safe rather than enjoying their hike; hence they require the best hiking shoes.
There are a number of retailers selling best hiking shoes online and off-line. However, there are a number of things that you need to consider before buying hiking shoes. Here is a list of some of the things that you need to consider.
The term hiking shoe uppers refers to the part of the shoe that is above the sole. This is the most important thing in the best hiking shoe that one should pay attention to. The main role of the upper is to protect the ankle, front as well as top and sides of the foot. There are a number of different materials used by manufacturers for creating a shoe upper.
Leather remains one of the most popular materials for making the best hiking shoes as it is not only durable but it also holds its shape for long. The basic types of leather used for creating the best shoe uppers include reverse grain, full-grain and nubuck. The most common type of leather used for making one of the best hiking shoe uppers is the full grain leather. As the name suggests, it has a very smooth exterior appearance.
On the other hand, the reverse grain leather look similar to the full grain leather but in this case, the rough part of the leather is exposed outside which gives a rough finish to the boot. The third type of leather is brushed to increase water resistance and cover up any imperfections in the leather. Sometimes, chemical treatment is also done to increase the water resistance of the leather. Since leather is costly, the hiking boots made from leather tend to be more expensive than other options.
Another popular material for making the best hiking shoe uppers is different types of fabric. In most of the cases, polyester or nylon is used. Some manufacturers have also come up with their own licensed or proprietary synthetic materials for creating the hiking boot uppers. However, it is still not clear whether these synthetic materials offer any advantage over conventional materials such as leather.
While buying shoes with synthetic uppers, you need to make sure that the fabric breathes well if you are going to use them in warm weather. Experts recommend staying away from synthetic materials that do not breathe well. Keep in mind that if the shoes do not breathe well, the skin on your foot may develop problems sooner than later.
Hiking enthusiasts should also know more about other important parts of the shoe. These include the tongue, toe box, heel cup and heel collar. The collar is responsible for providing support to the ankle and it keeps dirt and stones away from the shoe. The best hiking shoe should come with a padded heel collar to provide extra stability and comfort. As the name suggests, heel cup refers to the part that is responsible for providing support to the heel of the foot. A well-designed heel will increase the stability and support for preventing stress fracturing on all of the best hiking shoes.
Toe box lies in the front portion of the shoe. Its job is to protect and cover the sides and front and top of the foot. The toe box protects and keeps increasing with the weight of the hiking shoes. Tongue refers to the material on the top of the upper and its job is to allow the shoe to be put on and taken off in an easy manner. Tongue is made from flexible material to connect it to the upper. It keeps dirt, stones and water out of the shoe.
The role of midsole is to offer more cushioning and protect the feet of the wearer from shock. Usually, manufacturers use it Ethylene vinyl acetate for creating midsole. Sometimes, polyurethane is also used by manufacturers. EVA is cheaper and lighter and also offers better cushioning. Polyurethane is firm, more durable and is commonly found in backpacking boots.
Outsole is that part of the sole that comes in contact with the outdoors. Most of the people refer to the outsole as the sole. It comes with deep treading to provide grip on the surface. These are available in a lot of different varieties. Deep treads in the outsole are best for hiking on snow, mud and difficult terrain. On the other hand, shoes with light treads are good for light hiking and are more comfortable but they do not offer as much grip as shoes with deep threading.
The best hiking shoes are attached to the upper with stitching or glue. Stitching is used in most of the heavyweight boots whereas glue is used for midweight and lightweight shoes. Stitching adds to the stiffness of the shoes and increases foot protection. It also allows easy replacement of the sole. While glue is cheaper than stitching and works well, it is not that durable.
Another important factor when it comes to choosing the women’s best hiking shoes is the type of activity that the shoes are going to be used for. The choice also depends on the amount of weight you are going to carry as well as the environment in which the shoes are to be used in. The best hiking shoes are typically categorized into three separate weight categories namely heavyweight, midweight and lightweight hiking shoes.
The lightweight hiking shoes are the right choice for leisurely hiking on easy terrain. These shoes are perfect if you are going to a hike on pre-existing trails. These are lightweight and extremely comfortable. The high-end models in lightweight hiking shoes also come with water protection due to use of advanced synthetic materials. It is important to keep in mind that you should not wear lightweight shoes if the trail requires a lot of ankle support.
As the name suggests, midweight shoes are best for hiking moderate terrain. These are considered best for hikers who are going to use their shoes in terrains where ankle support is must. These midweight shoes come with deep threading outsoles, padded heel collar and tough leather upper. They offer protection from water as well as debris. Most of the high-quality midweight hiking boots are perfect for almost anything.
Serious outdoor enthusiasts cannot do without heavyweight hiking shoes. These best hiking shoes are perfect for multi-day treks. They offer a lot of ankle support and also come with very deep threading on the outsole. In fact, hikers can use these shoes with slip-on snowshoes and the materials of these shoes can handle even the toughest environment, wet or dry.
Since these are heavy and made from tough material, they are not as breathable as midweight or lightweight hiking shoes. While many people may not need these heavyweight shoes, professional hikers definitely need these.
There are a number of different brands of hiking shoes and boots available these days. While brands from North America and Europe have always been popular, Korean and Japanese brands have also been gaining in popularity in the recent years. All of this means that buyers have a great choice when it comes to best hiking shoes.