Tips for selecting hiking footwear
Are proper hiking shoes and boots really necessary?
Hiking shoes are designed to protect your feet from the elements - they are made for rugged terrain, they are designed to grip a variety of surfaces, provide water resistance/ proofing and protect your feet from sharp rocks.
Walking on uneven ground comes with the risk of ankle twists and sprains. Proper hiking footwear also provides more ankle support than a running shoe or sneaker. Hike shoes hit below the ankle while hike boots go above the ankle. Choosing between the two can be based on hiking terrain, personal preference and injury history (if you have a history of ankle injuries you may want greater support offered by a boot).
Fit of hiking footwear can be extremely important. When selecting hiking footwear make sure you try your boots on at the end of the day (feet swell and get bigger with activity, trying them on at the end of the day can help avoid purchasing a shoe that's too small in size).
Wear the appropriate socks when trying on your shoes, make sure the thickness of the sock matches what you plan on wearing for your hikes (avoid slow drying cotton as it can retain moisture and is more likely to cause blistering).
If you wear orthotics - try them in the boots, they may influence the fit.
Break in your boots before heading out on a long trek.
With the proper footwear you can be more prepared to tackle challenging hikes and spend more time enjoying the scenery! Happy hiking!