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How to choose your hiking shoes

Properly equipping yourself is essential before you go on an adventure and discover new horizons. However, choosing your hiking shoes is a choice with serious consequences.

Each foot is different, so a hike can quickly turn into an ordeal if the shoes are not adapted to your foot or to the use you make of it. Your pair of hiking shoes has to combine comfort, impermeability and technicality. Whether you are going to hike for a day, a weekend or more, there are several criteria to consider when choosing your hiking shoes.

For every each practice its proper hiking shoe

As you know, the choice of your shoes depends first on your practice.

  • For day trips or walks, opt for ankle-lenght shoes. They are light and flexible and are ideal for easy paths with little height differences.
  • For more "sportive" or multi-day outings, you can choose the polyvalent hiking shoes. Their ankle lenght is generally medium-sized ("mid"). This is a good compromise between hiking and trekking shoes. They are lightweight, ensure a good grip and hold the ankle well.
  • For trekking or long hikes, choose rather waterproof trekking shoes. They are taller and more rigid. Perfect for difficult terrain or if the weather conditions aren't good.

Maintenance and protection

Before buying your hiking shoes, test them. If comfort is paramount, maintaining and protecting are also very important, especially on steep slopes or on steep terrain. If a shoe can bend easily, it means that it doesn't guarantee good support on slippery or uneven surfaces. It's therefore reserved for short trekking. On flat or on pretty even terrain, a soft shoe is more comfortable. It protects you foot, although it doesn't maintain it well.

Conversely, when the shoe resists and doesn't twist, it means that it's rigid (high shoe). It's essential to hold the foot and to grip mountainous terrain (rocks, slope). High shoes are heavier. They are reserved for difficult terrain and/or highly uneven slopes. They ensure a better support and protect your foot and ankle from twists that can occur, especially during descent.

Soles and waterproofing

The grip is a key element, especially on wet soils. Good shoes solve part of the problem but having a good sole is essential before you go on an adventure. Stability, grip and cushioning depend entirely on soles. Most of the time, brands call on specialists such as Vibram.

If you are a fan of long expeditions or if you are hiking in places where the weather is variable, make sure your shoe is waterproof. Whether it's crossing streams, moutain streams, névé, or in case of rain, the goal is to keep the foot dry, not to feel cold and to avoid friction.

For this, the shoe is equipped with a membrane, the most well-known being Gore-Tex. Its technology prevents your foot from getting wet. The sweat is evacuated thanks to the shoe's breathing capacity.

The ideal fitting shoes welcome your feet and hold them when you walk. If they are well adapted, the rigidity of the shoes will bring you comfort and safety during your hikes.


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