When the best seasons are just around the corner and the mountains give off lively colours and intense fragrances it’s the best time to go out and immerse oneself in nature in search of peace, tranquillity and regenerating activities to get back into shape or to stay fit. Walking is great for the body and mind and there is something for everyone: challenging and technical routes for the professionals and routes with even ground and average difficulty paths for those looking for something easier.
The mountains offer a variety of activities and really incredible trails, capable of fulfilling all types of sporty types and enthusiasts, but there is one very important rule: don’t improvise. Before facing an expedition of any kind, it’s a good idea to be informed, have a good physical preparation and the right equipment, but special attention needs to be paid to the boots: before leaving for a weekend in the mountains or for a holiday surrounded by nature, it is essential to have the right hiking shoe.
Here are some valuable tips on how to choose the right shoe for your needs..
- First of all, there is no absolute best shoe, simply because each of us has "unique" feet, with characteristics that are different from anyone else.
- Not all paths are the same and, of course, the choice of the best mountain footwear depends on the type of terrain that will be faced.
- Regular hikers should always have at least two pairs of shoes:
- A heavier and more structured pair, with a good band for the ankles, suitable for rainy and cold climates.
- One suitable for hot climates, which must be breathable and light, always guaranteeing mobility and freedom of movement, due to the lower structure. It must however always be able to withstand the impact of rocky and demanding terrain.
Most common types of mountain bootsg
Here’s how we can divide footwear for excursions:
- Low cut shoes or the mid-cut boots, these are types of footwear that are very comfortable and lightweight, perfect for easy trails and well-trodden pathways. Due to the leather and fabric upper they offer breathability and freedom of movement for the ankle. They are ideal for everyday walking or the beginning of more difficult trails. Often they are very useful during travel as they become faithful companions for the modern traveller. These days people use them for everyday walking in the city or for going to work, proudly showing a symbol of their passions and personal hobbies.
- The light trekking or hiking boots guarantee better support stability and a harder structure, whilst remaining flexible and comfortable for the user. This footwear is ideal for excursions with light or average loads on unstable or irregular terrain. They can be created with an upper in leather and/or fabric and they often present a breathable and impermeable membrane. With their profile, they normally cover the ankle to ensure protection of the feet from external agents and impacts.
- If instead you have a passion for rocky and challenging terrain, then more structured backpacking and trekking boots are ideal, with solid soles with deeper grooves and technologies specifically designed to improve your performance. In this case, the ideal type of upper is that of full-grain leather, but also the nubuck is highly appreciated by users. It is advisable to opt for flexible footwear, but at the same time offer adequate support to the ankle because normally it’s expected heavy backpacks are being carried. Many of these boots are equipped with protective outer rubber bands and are almost all made of waterproof and breathable membranes.
What characteristics must a trekking shoe have?
- LIGHTNESS AND STRUCTURE. Not all trails and hiking activities are the same, so it’s necessary to look for the right product, the perfect compromise between lightness and rigidity/structure for the use for which it is intended. To face easy terrains with little unevenness you could opt for a lighter product, whereas for more difficult and inaccessible trails, maybe even with a backpack, it’s best to head towards a more structured product that will offer support to the ankles.
- COMFORT. One of the most important characteristics is comfort: it’s important to feel good inside your footwear when facing walks and hikes. This factor is important to avoid annoying moments of pain to the feet and to not ruin your day. Try on your boots before buying them, paying attention to the sensation that they transmit to the foot when you're wearing them.
- WATERPROOFNESS. In the mountains, especially in the summer, the weather can vary in a short space of time, so it’s best to opt for trekking boots with a waterproof membrane, which becomes essential to avoid getting your feet completely wet when it’s raining. Today GORETEX® is the most reliable brand that offers different technologies, which also gives excellent breathability, keeping the foot dry.
- HYDROREPELLANCY. It’s important to specify the difference between water repellency and impermeability: even if they are often used as synonyms, they are not. A water repellent hiking shoe facilitates the flow of water and is sufficient in case of light rain, while in more extreme climatic conditions it is advisable to have waterproof boots, resistant to penetration and water absorption.
- PROTECTION. For those who walk in the mountains, one of the main needs is to use trekking boots that will protect you against ankle sprains and other possible injuries. If you are facing rough terrain, it is advisable to choose boots that support the ankle and have a medium-high profile (no low boots), especially when walking steep paths, they need to be spacious on the tip to avoid toe pain.
- LOAD SUPPORT. If you carry heavy backpacks with you during multi-day trips, then you need to have sturdy, flexible and comfortable mountain boots. This will allow you to move freely, ensuring sufficient protection to prevent injury or pain to the arch or ankles.
- GUSSET. A very useful element to prevent dirt, small stones, water or other debris from slipping into hiking boots during the walk, causing annoyance. This is the tongue on which the lacing of the shoe/boot passes, which when folded up and bent connects directly to the upper, leaving no open spaces or cracks.
- PROTECTIVE RAND. Normally in rubber or polyurethane, it offers a better protection to the external part of the footwear from possible abrasions and scratches caused by pointed rocks. Sometimes it’s positioned only at the front, but in some cases it covers the whole external border, all the way to the heel of the boot. This feature also makes the boot more durable.
When do hiking/trekking boots fit to perfection?
Trying on your mountain boots before your excursion is a fundamental rule and equally important is knowing when they are ideal for your feet. There are somethings to take not of when trying to find the best solution:
- Try on your excursion shoes in the late afternoon when your feet have reached their maximum size.
- Try them with the right socks that you would usually use for the desired activity. If you need to use anatomical insoles, check that they fit well inside the footwear.
- It’s necessary to try them whilst in movement, try walking inside the shop or, when possible, testing them on different terrain, uphill and downhill, at least for a few minutes.
- Pay attention to the feeling during movement test (eg. walking inside the store) and check that your heel doesn’t rub against the inside of the boot in order to avoid the formation of any annoying blisters.
- Do not forget: the toes must have the right space for movement inside the trekking shoes.
Now you are ready to choose your hiking shoes: don't wait any longer, visit our online shop and decide which model is right for you!