How to Choose Hiking Boots

 Walking Sandals

We crossed hundreds and hundreds of pairs were fitted to the feet of many walkers on vacation and there are many models to walk on all possible fields: city, sandy roads …

Features: Open and light, they evacuated fine sand and water. They also offer slightly soles clinging to limit sliding and are most of the time very simple to put on and adjustable Velcro.

Use: Suitable for heat, they are acceptable on easy paths and flat. Useful in water (rivers and wetlands) and sand (seaside and desert areas), they can also be used as spare shoes in shelters while hiking to allow feet to breathe.

Perfect for:

  • Walking on the dunes of Pilat,
  • To the port for dinner after an afternoon of hiking active,
  • Walk on the roads of the island of Ré.

Not recommended for: Its maintenance and protection are relatively insecure, they should not be used on rough terrain and / or a heavy bag, you risk injury. Not immune rocks, branches and other thorns, the points of contact with the feet are very limited. They can be painful on the distance.

Goodies: Ultra-light and airy.

Now, harvardshoes lists the main features and criteria for you to decide which model of shoes will suit you and make you want to chain kilometers.

II. The main characteristics and selection criteria hiking shoes

 The structure of the shoe (rigidity and weight, stem height, strength and durability)

  • Rigidity and weight

The rigidity is due in large part of the sole and is verified by its ability to be deformed. Over the sole bends under the pressure, the more it is flexible. Conversely, the harder it is to bend and it is rigid. How to choose?

On easy terrain and low altitude difference: choose more soles flexible for their comfort and lightness. They allow a good foot roll. However, they provide a low maintenance and little protection.

On difficult terrain with a vertical drop, a heavy carriage and a technical use in the mountains: use soles rigid to more strength, better protection, greater precision support. The stiffer soles are also heavier and therefore require more effort. However, the technical materials used tends to reduce the weight and inconvenience.

Attention lack of rigidity results in a lack of stability that generates muscle compensation that can become painful and cause fatigue Falls, shin-ankle area being overstretched.

  • Height rod

The stem height plays a vital role in protecting the hiker. Over the rod is, the more it protects feet. It also affects the stiffness since the more stem length increases, the rigidity of the shoe increases.

  • Strength and durability

Nobody wants to be let down by his shoes in the middle of a demanding trek, so the robustness is a key element in choosing your shoes.

The life of a pair of shoes of course varies depending on the frequency and conditions of use. The more you explore, the more they wear!

But no matter: “There is no roots in our feet, these are made for walking. “David Le Breton . So let us use our soles!

However, a pair of shoes unsuited to your practice will significantly reduce its performance and lifespan. Extreme weather conditions also contribute to the rapid wear of your shoes. Also, the choice of a pair of good quality is often a relevant investment as it will ensure (?) Life span of your shoes.

Consume less, consume better!

And to increase the life of your shoes and keep their technical characteristics, do not forget to maintain them.

 Different materials

  • Leather hiking shoes

The leather is soft, durable and relatively impermeable (some receive special treatment to make them waterproof).

It is a durable material that is resistant to abrasion and very well suited to technical fields of practice.

This material requires regular maintenance.

  • hiking shoes in suede or nubuck

Results obtained after sanding leather, suede and nubuck are thinner , more breathable but less robust than leather. The suede is derived from a sanding inside leather and nubuck an external sandblasting. They are lighter and more airy compromise to leather. However, their lifespan is shorter.

  • Synthetic leather hiking shoes

The synthetic leather has properties similar to leather but at a lower cost . However, it is less breathable and less resistant to sunlight and abrasion. It absorbs little water and thus offers the advantage of slightly deform when wet.

  • Synthetic fabrics in hiking boots

Present in the composition of the liners, synthetic fabrics are of great lightness . They allow excellent ventilation and are very rigid and therefore very permeable. Nylon, Kevlar and polyester are the main fabrics used in the composition of the mesh (the nets) trail shoes for lighter weight breathability.

  • Plastic hiking shoes

Mountaineering shoes are partly made of plastic or any plastic. Plastic also equips the braces on all types of shoes: heels, toes, lateral reinforcements. It has the advantage of being very rigid when necessary and completely waterproof . In return, the breathability is very low but it is also what makes the charm of the shelters!

  • The breathable membranes : Gore-Tex, Hyvent, Novadry, H2No

The membranes are tissues ultra-technical both waterproof and breathable. Fragile, they are located between the two inner and outer layers of fabric or leather of the rod.

Gore-Tex® is the inventor and the reference of this type of waterproof and breathable membranes. The skillful weaving of the mesh is formed sufficiently narrow pores so that water does not penetrate but wide enough to drain perspiration.

 The soles of hiking boots

Key element, the soles are the link between the floor and your feet. To be successful, they must be a compromise between grip, traction and cushioning. Over the gum is soft, the better cushioning and grip, but wear will be.

  • The outsole hiking shoes

Often rubber, it varies depending on the field:

On a soft ground (mud, snow, sand), it looks for a good grip that will be obtained with deep treads and carved .

On a hard ground (trails, rocks, stones) it favors a good grip with large spikes and shallow .

Vibram (famous brand of Italian shoes manufacturer) offers a technology for obtaining soles infallible grip and the formidable grip for greater versatility.

A shoe sole with a raised front and rear gains in performance but loses stability relative to a flat sole.

  • The insole hiking shoes

Quality insole ensures effective cushioning . It reduces shock and fatigue in the legs. A good insole avoids many injuries.

Given the possibility of replacing the insole, we advise you to alternate with a summer shoe and one for winter.

Moreover, in case of pain or gene, do not hesitate to consult your podiatrist will give you valuable advice and may, if appropriate, you make treads.

Your shoes should marry your feet and not vice versa.

 The maintenance and protection

Maintenance and protection are two characteristics related to a hiking boot.

Over the upper of the boot is high , rigid and thick, over the foot of the walker is protected. A high upper brings security and protects effectively ankles and feet shock, cuts, strains and sprains.

You choose a good support especially for hiking with a heavy bag for a long time on technical grounds or three at a time.

However, you may prefer a lower maintenance when you want to walk fast, without heavy loads on some technical grounds or three …

Safety and comfort or performance and agility, you!

The impermeability and breathability

It is important to avoid as much as possible that the feet are wet to not suffer blisters, cold, fungal infections and just discomfort.

For hiking in hot and dry : choose very breathable shoes, not necessarily waterproof and if possible at low stem.

For hiking in hot, humid weather : choose versatile footwear, ideally with breathable membranes like Gore-Tex® who have the advantage of combining waterproof and breathable and you allow your feet to breathe without fear of rain.

For hiking in cold, wet weather : Choose 100% waterproof shoes, breathability is less important because the sweat will be smaller in the cold.

Although more comfortable, it is not necessary to have waterproof shoes when he falls a few drops of water or to deal with the dew especially for short trips. However, for your long walks or outings in cold weather, it is indispensable not to discourage you or just for your safety.

Thermal insulation

Moving our feet off heat but they are often very sensitive to cold.

Cryotherapy or steam bath are certainly very pleasant to take care of yourself but absolutely not recommended hike!

How to find the right balance, the perfect temperature for simply being just right and not think about it?

More shoes are aerated, the more they reject heat and allow entry of air. The breathable materials and a low upper dissipate heat more easily . The sandals are the ultimate example in terms of breathability.

For their part, the shoes with breathable membranes like Gore-Tex® are warmer than aerated shoes but they will prove insufficient in the high mountains in cold conditions and extreme humidity. However, they provide an effective heat shield to your feet in all seasons.

You now have all the keys to choose a model for your practice and the important criteria for making your choice.

However, we are at your disposal for any questions: contact@hardloop.fr or 09 53 02 65 30.

  1. Find the shoe for your foot

For his hiking boots, it is recommended to take 1 ½ or size above his shoes. Indeed, feet swell during the effort under the effect of heat and blood activation. Please refer to size chart shoes we have achieved and which specifies for each brand, the size that suits you.

For shoes high rod : it is generally appropriate to choose one size larger than the size of city . Your toes should be comfortable and not risk rubbing especially downhill. However careful not to choose too large shoes that would cause a loss of feeling, poor maintenance and could cause painful blisters.

Tip : Press your foot toward the front of the shoe, you have to spend just one finger between your heel and the back of the shoe. If this is not the case, your toes may butter on the front of the boot in the downhill.

For shoes Low-cut: it should take an additional ½ size in your city size. Flexible, they stretch a bit when the feet swell slightly and relax after the first outputs. Furthermore, the aeration being best and often less long effort feet swell a little less.

In short, more a shoe is rigid, the more it is necessary to take a margin of comfort in and nothing can replace the look at the size guide shoe brand you choose.