HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR HIKING OR TREKKING FOOTWEAR?
Your choice of hiking or trekking footwear depends on several criteria: the practice ground, the length of your hike, the weight of your backpack, your usual footwear and of course, the weather. All these factors will help you fight the right shoe for you so you can enjoy your hike in comfort and with peace of mind. Once you're kitted out, all you need to do is look up and enjoy the scenery!
1) YOUR PRACTICE GROUND IS...
If there is one question you should ask yourself before choosing your footwear, it's “what type of hiking am I going to do?”. That is to say, on what type of terrain? For how long? And how heavy is your backpack?
There is a wide range of hiking shoes available that have been designed according to the terrain. If you're walking on lowlands you won't have the same needs as for mountain walking. Each type of terrain has its own particular features.
… ON LOWLANDS, IN THE FOREST OR ON THE COAST, SLIGHTLY UNEVEN
If you’re going for a short hike on lowlands, in the forest or on the coast, then go for country walking shoes.They will give you maximum comfort and cushioning so you don't feel the roughness of the trails.These shoes have dual density soles which means that a first sole close to your foot provides softness for comfort, while a second sole close to the ground is cushioned to protect you from stones.Their studs and outer sole give excellent grip on natural paths - such as forest or coastal trails for example. Country walking shoes are well suited for slightly uneven hikes.
… IN THE MOUNTAINS, ON STEEP TRAILS
Are you looking to reach summits on more challenging, steeper trails? If you go mountain walking more often and encounter scree for example, it would be better to go for mountain walking shoes. They are more lightweight so your steps aren't as heavy on the climb. Their sole and studs also have good grip so you don't skid on steep trails or in scree. Mountain walking shoes generally come with EVOFIT. This technology offers stretch materials and a specific design for the area of the foot where the joints are located so the shoe fits perfectly to the shape of foot.
… ON SNOWY TRAILS
Climbing snowy summits? In this case, your choice is everything! Because snow means warm and waterproof shoes are needed. We recommend you choose snow walking shoes that insulate not only from the cold but also the moisture of
the snow. Snow walking shoes come with a membrane to make them waterproof and breathable. Their sole also insulates and they have an anti-ingress system to avoid having to walk with snow in your shoes. Some of our snow walking shoes come with SNOWCONTACT technology, the result of lengthy tests. SNOWCONTACT soles are made with a specific component and stud pattern that is designed to ensure the best possible grip and traction. This makes them more effective on snow than standard soles.
2) WALKING TIME
If the type of terrain influences your choice of shoes, so should the length of your hike. Once again, you will have different needs for a half day outing than for several days.
Are you going for a few days or several weeks? Are you planning on exploring new trails during a week-long trek? If the answer is yes then you will need resistant and durable shoes that won't let you down during you entire stay - even more so if you are going mountain walking for a few days and you can't take several pairs of shoes. In this instance, go for trekking boots. Their durability will get you through kilometers day after day on all types of terrain. Their high upper also properly supports your ankle giving greater comfort for the duration.
If instead you plan on hiking for a half-day or full day, your selection criteria will be different. In fact, if a trekking boot is more durable, it can also be heavier that a standard hiking shoe. For day hiking, go for hiking shoes instead of trekking.
For the final steer in your choice, here is one last criteria to consider: the weather.
On dry ground or with a little morning dew, waterproof shoes aren't required. A water-repellent shoe will do the job. The drops of water slide off the fabric and your feet stay reassuringly dry.
On soaked ground, during a rainy hike or feet in 40 centimeters of fresh snow, don't even ask yourself the question: choose a waterproof shoe that will insulate you from moisture. Laboratory tests help you evaluate a shoe's waterproof level. During these tests, the shoes are half immersed in water and 3 levels of waterproofing are tested:2,000 flexes (approx. 4 km walk), 4,000 flexes (approx. 8 km walk) and 8,000 flexes (approx. 16 km walk).These different waterproof levels are stated in the features of the footwear.
Do you generally hike in high summer when it's very hot? Breathable hiking shoes are the answer! These models have greater breathability thanks to the mesh used and they stop you perspiring when hiking. There is nothing more uncomfortable than hiking with a damp foot that sometimes slides in the shoe! If you want complete foot ventilation, go for sandals. Their sole and toe bumper protect the foot and give the same grip as a shoe.