How to choose your hiking shoes?


Shoes are the most important thing when hiking! There is no way to hike the 180 kilometers of the GR20 without a good companion on your feet, and this is also true for a one-day hike. Safety and comfort are the key words. To avoid dilemmas and to learn to speak the same language as your sports sales consultant, read these tips and information to be on the safe side and find the best pair of hiking boots.

3 important criteria for choosing your shoes

- Understand the different types of shoes: long distance hiking shoes often have a higher shaft that holds the foot more securely than short distance hiking shoes that are lower and more suitable for "sporty walks".

- Choosing the right size for your hiking boots: take one size larger than your usual size. When you wear thick socks and push your foot to the front of your hiking boots, there should be enough room at the back of your heel to let a finger through.

- Don't neglect the proper fit of the shoe: the proper fit of the shoe is determined by the heel (which should not come off completely when walking) and the comfort of the toes (which should have enough room to move in the front of the hiking shoe).


How hiking boots work

Hiking shoes are composed of a cushioning, also called midsole, under the heel. It is the element that allows you to relieve your cushioning when walking and therefore your back. Hiking shoes are always equipped with a reinforcement in the front, which is also explicitly called "foot guard": it protects the foot from any possible impact with external elements. Finally, you will find a self-locking hook on the laces which, once your shoes are well laced, will only change the tightness of the top of your shoe (which can be useful in case of unevenness), without having any effect on the bottom part.

Choose according to the length of your trip and the load of your bag

- Long distance hiking shoes: their sole is rather rigid and the midsole is thick. Often "high shaft", i.e., high, they are ideal for long hikes of several days or for certain treks, even if finding suitable crampons is not always easy. Choose this type of shoe when you are carrying heavy loads.

- Short distance hiking shoes: considered as sporty walking shoes, their shaft is medium (less high than for long distance hiking shoes) and allow to support rather light weights. If you are going for a day hike or a few days with breaks in a refuge, they are ideal!


Focus on the comfort and support of your foot

Pay attention to the particularities of your foot (woman's or man's foot, wide, narrow, asymmetric...). If you are wondering what the best hiking shoes are, you should know that they are simply those that are chosen according to the morphology of your foot. If you are a beginner, choose shoes with a high shaft that will protect your ankles.

Choosing the right size is not easy. The best advice? Always try before you buy. To be comfortable, choose a size larger than your strong foot and then try the shoes on with the socks you will be wearing on your hike. When your toes are in the front of the walking shoe, there should be enough room behind the heel to slip a finger in. If that's good, then you've almost found the hiking shoes of your dreams!

Another criterion to consider is the rigidity of your sole. A denser sole provides greater stability on mountainous terrain and prevents accidents due to foot and ankle fatigue. Soft soles may seem more comfortable in the store, but they may not always be the best solution once you hit the trails.

Finally, all you have to do is check that the fit is good. This involves two things: the heel should not lift completely during walking, and the front of the shoe should form a "breathing cage" for your toes.


Waterproof hiking boots?

Waterproofing is a more important criterion for mountaineering boots than for hiking boots. However, for hiking boots, waterproofing is still crucial. If you are planning to go on a high route with a snowy part of the route, you should choose hiking boots with very good waterproofing.


Thanks to these tips, you won't have any hesitation the next time you approach the hiking and mountain boots section. But if you're still in doubt or looking for more advice, check out Lace Go's selection of hiking boots, you won't be disappointed!

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