This post will discuss the most important characteristics of boots and shoes for hiking (this article is a great resource about backpacking footwear and their main features, advantages and disadvantages).
What is the purpose of shoes? Shoes are designed to offer comfort and protection against harsh environments. Similar to hiking shoes, the main purpose of these shoes is to protect your feet from bruising and abrasions from rough terrain, cushion your soles and provide good traction in muddy, steep, slippery, and wet terrain.
Shoes for backpacking must be stable and durable. The reliable hiking shoes are durable and will not leave you behind on the trail. Shoes that are lightweight and supportive for backpacking long distances should be considered. Shoes should feel comfortable and flexible when walking. Shoes that are more rigid and supportive may be required for rough surfaces.
Also, hiking footwear must be versatile and adapt to different surfaces and environments. Boot construction is often the key factor. You can read our article on the anatomy and components of hiking shoes. These two topics are closely linked because the perceptions of a pair of trekking shoes depend on their materials.
Boots for hiking
Fitting is crucial. It doesn’t matter how well a boot has been constructed. If it doesn’t fit properly, it won’t function properly.
To emphasize the importance of fitting shoes correctly, shoemakers often say that “the last is first”. The last is the sole of shoes. It’s the form that the shoe is made from. Comfort is directly affected by fit. A good fit is also essential for function.
Is there a perfect match?
It isn’t easy to produce mass-produced trekking boots that fit well. If a shoe manufacturer wants to fit 90% of its male customers in size 43, they must accommodate men from 60 to 100 kg. People have different sizes of their left and right feet, which adds to the individual variability. Their feet can change in length, width and volume throughout the day and during sports activities. During hiking and backpacking, feet are very active and can change shape. Therefore, no one static shape can guarantee a perfect fit in every situation and at all times.
Shoes that fit well have the following benefits:
- Stability and support for your feet
- Foot protection
- Comfortable shock-absorption
- Shoes that are worn for a long time and retain their shape
How do you determine if the hiking shoe is well-fitted?
Good health requires that the shoe has the right shape and dimensions. Comfort is also important in most cases. If the underfoot shape is correct, it will give a perfect fit. To ensure that the shoe fits properly, it is important to check the insole and socks. Trekking shoes don’t fit as well as fashion shoes. Our feet expand approximately 5% each day. This is something to keep in mind when shopping for hiking shoes.
To properly fit footwear to your feet, it is important to understand your feet and shoes. Many sources are available for foot anthropometry. There is one problem. This is because footwear manufacturers use length, width, and girth measurements to determine footwear size. A mismatch in any dimension results in the poor fitting.
Women’s feet tend to be smaller and have a lower volume than men’s. This is why women’s and men’s hiking boots have different sizes. Certain men have narrower feet that prefer women’s boots, and women with wider, more pronounced feet prefer men’s boots.