How to choose the right trekking shoes
For a trekker, choosing the right trekking shoes is very important. However, this task isn’t easy. Different shoes are suitable for different kinds of treks, depending on the weather, trail condition as well as duration of the trek. The ever-increasing number of choices of trekking shoes makes choosing very difficult for a trekker.
Before making a choice be aware of the different types of trekking shoes and boots.
1. Hiking Shoe: Hiking shoes is a lot like trail running shoes — they are lightweight and have flexible soles. They are meant for short treks that are a day or weekend long. These shoes are good when you don’t have to carry heavy loads. They are superb for warm weather and dry terrain. Some of the popular and recommended hiking shoe brands are “Forclaz Fresh,” “Arpenaz Flex” series, “Salomon,” “Woodland” and “Weinbrenner” low ankle series.
2.Trek Boots: They are high-end versions of hiking boots. They have added support for the feet and ankles. The constructions are stiffer too. Their uppers are usually leather, suede or synthetic like “Gore-tex (GTX)” or “Nova Dry.” Trek boots are ideal for those looking to do longer treks, usually week long that involve carrying good loads on the backpack. Trek boots provide excellent support for the leg muscles on rough terrains, especially when you are prone to occasional slips and rolled ankles. These boots are good on snow, rain and are moderately water resistant.
The trade off is that they are heavier and more constricting, again because of the ankle support. For first timers these shoes can take a while to get used to.
Trek boots differ with their builds, design and choice of patented materials. The prices range between Rs 3000 and Rs 7000. Some of the popular and recommended brands are “Forclaz 500,” “Forclaz 600,” “Kingcamp” and so on.
3.Expedition Boots: These boots are designed for trekkers heading for challenging treks that involve tricky pass crossings, glacial traverses and so on. These treks last longer, sometimes more than ten days. The boots have thicker and more aggressive outsoles. The fabric used in these boots are more robust too. They have an insole padding which helps in cushioning the feet. They also have better ankle support and come with crampon ready features. In that sense they are “bridge trek boots” — they offer more than “trek boots” but are not designed to be “mountaineering boots.”
These boots are more expensive, with prices starting upwards of Rs 8000. Some of the popular and recommended expedition boots are “Forclaz 900” and “Salomon Quest 4D-GTX.” Other brands such as Merrell, Scarpa, Keen and La Sportiva can be considered but you need to get them from abroad.
Things to keep in mind while choosing a right Trek Shoe:
1.Select the right type of shoes. Factor in the duration of the trek, trail conditions (well-defined trail, rugged trail, rain, snow, glacial-pass traverse, etc.), and the load to carry.
For warm, dry terrains use low ankle hiking shoes. For cold, rugged conditions go for trek boots. Trekking on glacier and extensive snow, on the other hand, will require trek boots with crampon ready features.
2.Trekking boots should ideally have industry-accredited material used in their build. For example, look for waterproof and breathable fabric such as “Gore-Tex” or “Nova dry”. Also the use of patented anti-slip soles by “Vibram” adds to the reliability of the boots.
3.Always test the shoes for the right fit. Ideally you should buy trek boots that is one size larger. Factor in this space keeping in mind the multiple woolen socks you wear on colder treks. Also a larger size helps in avoiding blisters.
Wear your shoes for about a week or so to break them in. Happy trekking!
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