Whilst I don’t consider myself an expert on shoes, I have however done enough research to make what I would call informed recommendations on the ideal walking shoes to take along for a trekking or hiking challenge.
There is the debate as to whether one should go the Trainer-style route or the hiking route.
I don’t think it matters much whether Trainers or Hiking boots, because each has its pros and cons. It therefore depends on what you want and the nature of your challenge.
One thing though is that Hiking boots can be a little heavier than trainers. I suppose the weight may not matter much in the beginning of the walk.
But as the challenge gets tougher with more mileage under your belt, a heavier shoe might become a significant factor.
In that regard, Trainers, might be preferred. Trainers are lighter, more flexible and some are so well designed you won’t know you have shoes on at all.
The latest generation of trainer-style walking footwear are quite sturdy despite being featherweight and naturally you are likely to get more traction and momentum from them than their heavier hiking-style cousins.
However, trainers are usually ankle high which means, in a rugged terrain or where the walking trail is covered with vegetation, your feet are more protected with hiking boots. Trainer-style shoes will certainly not cut the mustard if you are heading in the direction of snow or muddy terrain.
Hiking-style boots on the other hand are usually above ankle and most are invariably made of waterproof material. This makes hiking-style boots more weather-proof and is a big, big advantage.
If your walking challenge terrain is of the snowy type or one that involves crossing low-level streams, then there is no denying the fact that hiking-style boots would be the way to go.
Whatever choice you make, one serious advice is not to rein in on the budget when it comes to footwear for a walking or hiking challenge.
In fact, I would say categorically that your footwear is the most important accessory when undertaking such a challenge.
You can save money on the rucksack, the walking poles, the weather jacket etc, but you must pay particular attention to your shoe choice because your feet will hate you for being too economical.
Your feet are going to do 80% of the work in a walking or hiking challenge, why not look after them.
Hiking Shoes or Trainers – Things to consider.
In reaching a decision about hiking boots or trainers, here are some of the features for you to think about. They all seem quite important. Hopefully your choice would be something that would make your exercise blissful.
- Comfort – This is an obvious feature. Your feet should welcome your shoes without fuss. Comfy shoes are what you want any day, any time anywhere.
2. Waterproofing – As stated earlier, no one wants want wet feet walking their dog let alone during a serious challenge exercise like walking or hiking. If your choice is not particularly waterproof, then a dose of waterproof spray wouldn’t go amiss.
The shoe should be made of breathable material to allow for easy drying if weatherproofing is an issue.
3. Weight – For this feature, a trainer-style shoe would be a better choice. Trainers are much lighter but still provide enough mid-sole support for the arch of your foot.
4. Sizing – This is a tricky one. You don’t want a snug fit because if you are walking in a hot weather, your feet will expand. So, you need to leave room for that little swelling that will occur. You also need to leave room for sucks.
At the same time, you don’t want to leave too much room because a downhill descent will make your feet slide to the front of the shoes causing a jamming effect. That will hurt over time.
A sensible thing would be to buy half a size over your regular size. For instance, I am size 11. I will buy size 11.5. This would strike a nice balance for comfort and dynamics of walking.
5. Sticking points – The inside of the shoes must not have sticking out areas. Such sticking points might appear innocent at first but when a long walk is undertaken, they will inevitably rub with the ultimate end point being blistering. This excludes the heel. You need a particularly well cushioned heel as a bare minimum.
Recommended Walking Shoes – Hiking or Trainers
With all those features in mind, here are 4 picks of shoes for you to consider having done some research.
For Ladies – My suggested walking/trekking footwear for women
Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX, Women’s Low Rise Hiking Shoes
A little pricey but seems to meet approval of professional hikers. These shoes are in the trainer-style category.
The price on Amazon is much less than elsewhere. Check it out here on Amazon.co.uk
Karrimor Bodmin IV Weathertite, Women’s Trekking and Hiking Shoes
These are hiking-style boots. Rated to be comfortable. More importantly, the price is good. Really good.
You can pick up these gem of women’s walking shoes on Amazon.co.uk here at a great price.
For Men – These are the walking shoes I would recommend for men
Karrimor Orkney 5 Mens Walking Boots
The price range is good at least on Amazon anyway. This one is leather-style and hiking-style. I like the fact that the ankle is padded. This provides more comfort. Get the Karrimor Orkney 5 on Amazon.co.uk here.
XIANG GUAN Men’s Outdoor Water Repellent Trainers & Low-top Hiking Shoes Trekking Shoes 81283 Black
There are trainer-style walking and hiking shoes. They are also not too pricey. They seem to provide very good support. Well rated.
Get the Xiang Guan Mens Outdoor Trekking Shoes here on Amazon.co.uk
So, there you have it. I have found one of each – a hiking style and a trainer-style trekking shoes for both sexes.
Now go choose one and start preparing for your walk. Always try out your shoes before undertaking the challenge.
Put them through their paces. Find out if they meet your needs.