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Footwear for Camp & Trails to Keep Your Feet Safe

by Bruce Haring

Whether you are out camping or hiking, you need to make sure that you have the most comfortable shoes when you are in the great wide open. It is important to have a well-fitting, comfortable pair of shoes that matches the conditions and terrain well.

You can ruin a perfectly good outing with achy feet or blisters. You need to pick your footwear for camp and trails properly to make sure that your feet are safe and comfortable.

Questions to Ask Before Buying Footwear

Before you buy footwear for camp and trails, there are a few key questions you need to ask including:

  • Where do you plan to hike?
  • What type of trail surfaces does the place have?
  • How much time will you spend off-trail?
  • How much does your pack usually weigh?
  • Do you need support for your ankles? If so, how much?
  • Will you be out in the winter and in bad weather?

Types of Footwear

There are different types of footwear for the outdoors. You can choose the right type based on your needs. Here is a look at some of the different types of hiking footwear that are available.

Hiking Boots – With this type of footwear, you get an ankle collar that covers and provides support for your ankles.  Boots have mid-soles that are more of a consideration as a design rather than cushioning. They also have full-length shanks that provide torsional stability and additional support.

Both lightweight and midweight hiking boots are generally heavier and stiffer than hiking shoes and you need more time to break into them. Hiking boots are ideal for those who are looking for ankle support and carry medium to heavy loads regularly and hike a lot in muddy areas.

Hiking Shoes – This type of footwear is ideal for hiking all types of trails and provides a lot of support and durability. Hiking shoes provide the best combination of durability, weight savings and foot support for hikers who do not need the ankle support that boots provide.

They are an astute choice for backpacking on smooth terrain and trails. If you are an experienced hiker, you will be able to handle rough terrain and medium loads in these shoes. Hiking shoes have waterproof liners, making them ideal for limited amounts of puddles and mud on the trail. If you are a confident hiker, you will love the weight savings and agility of a low-cut shoe when you compare it to a hiking boot.

Trail Running Shoes – Trail runners are for more than just running. Experienced backpackers and hikers who have strong ankles and feet use wear them for different types of terrain. You should choose trail running shoes if you are a hiker who spends a lot of time with light loads on well-maintained trails in dry conditions and if weight savings is more of a priority than durability.

This type of footwear has mid-soles that are designed for impact cushioning as well as flexible soles that are designed for sensitivity. They are also the lightest footwear among those for hiking, backpacking, etc. Keep in mind that trail runners provide less support to the feet when you carry a pack compared to hiking shoes and they are also not as durable.

If you plan on going hiking, you should wear different shoes. If you plan on just going on a short jog or hard walk for a couple of hours or even just one hour on a trail, trail running shoes should be your choice of footwear. You may only be carrying some bottled water and a granola bar – hikers carry much more than this.

Approach Shoes – If you spend a lot of your hiking time accessing rock climbs or scrambling up ridges, approach shoes are the ideal choice for you. They have stickier and softer soles as well as lacing and a snug fit. All these features make them amazing for climbing and so on. Compared to shoes for hiking, approach shoes have a closer fit and softer rubber soles.

They come with a lacing system that is designed to allow you to tighten your shoes as much as you want, especially at the forefoot and toe. This gives you a snug fit and better performance for steep and technical approaches in the mountains and when you are scrambling up rocky ridges.

With the right footwear, you can hike any terrain comfortable, no matter what type of pack you are carrying. With so many different kinds of hiking footwear to choose from, you can be sure that you will find the ideal one that meets all your needs.


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