Choosing the best hiking boots for the right hiking occasion can be a daunting task especially if you are new to hiking or have little experience in the field. A quick glance at just about any hiking boots review will reveal how essential and critical it is that you have a proper one equipped before embarking on your much-awaited hike. While you may think that only one type of hiking boots is sufficient for all your hiking needs, the reality is that you may need different types of hiking boots depending on how ambitious of a hiker you plan to be. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of hiking boots so you know exactly how to pick the type of boots that suits your hiking needs.
1. Clear Trails and Short Day Hikes
Easily the most balanced hiking footwear on the list in terms of support, durability and weight, hiking shoes allow seasoned hikers to traverse all sorts of trails. While more experienced hikers can carry medium loads through rougher terrain with hiking shoes, they are usually best worn on clear-cut trails or shorter day hikes. Ideally you would not carry too much load while hiking with them since hiking shoes offer less support compared to its sturdier counterparts. It offers agility and speed together with a waterproof lining which allows some resistance to puddles and mud on the trail.
2. Rougher Terrains and Longer Trails
Hiking boots are the footwear of choice especially on rougher terrains and longer trails. The main factor that distinguishes hiking boots from hiking shoes is its ankle collar that serves as a good support for the ankle. The whole build of hiking boots focuses on sturdiness and support instead of speed and light-weightedness. Hence, while you are not going to be as fast as when you wear lighter hiking shoes, you will be able to endure more difficult hikes. Hiking boots are also preferable if you know that you will be carrying above average load on your hike or you only hike once in a while and would appreciate the much-needed ankle support it provides.
3. Heavy Duty Multi-Day Hikes
When you know that you are going to be doing a multi-day trek with a heavy load, backpacking boots are the ideal way to go. It has an even higher cut that ends above the ankle, providing even more support than hiking boots. They are built to be extremely durable and this enables it to withstand harsh conditions making it suitable for both on-trail and off-trail hiking. However, due to its incredibly sturdy build, it is much heavier in weight and will sacrifice a significant amount of speed while hiking. There is a break-in period for backpacking boots whereby you will need to constantly wear them for 2 weeks before embarking on any serious trails.
4. Hikes that Involve Rock Climbing
If you are an avid rock climber, approach shoes are specially made to help hikers traverse rocky terrain in order to get to the climbing site. They are a hybrid between hiking shoes and climbing shoes, with sticky rubber soles that make it suitable for slippery and rocky surfaces. However, the soft rubber soles also mean that they are not suitable for extended hiking and would wear off very quickly. Therefore, it is advisable to switch between shoes as and when needed to avoid wear and tear. It tends to have a much tighter fit much like climbing shoes which provides more control and enables strategic footing on difficult terrain.
After choosing the correct type of hiking footwear that suits your hiking needs and provides a perfect fit, it is essential to spend sufficient time in them to fully understand whether they are suitable for you. While there is no perfect hiking shoe that can serve every single hiking occasion, having the proper knowledge of the types of hiking footwear available enables you to make the most out of your hiking experience.