Whether you’re taking your dog for a walk or planning a three day hike through the hills it is equally important to have shoes that fit both the purpose and your feet properly.
It’s All about the Fit
The first, most crucial point is to get a shoe that fits properly. Essentially this implies that you can wiggle your toes, but don’t have too much free space in the front of the shoe. It’s also important to check that your foot doesn’t move from side to side within the shoe as you walk. Most experts agree that it’s wise to take your hiking socks and any insoles you’d like to use with you when shopping – then walk around the store with everything on, getting a feel for the shoe.
It’s prudent for those of us with weak ankles to also opt for a shoe with a mid to high cut that will help to stabilize the ankle when walking.
Are You a Lightweight, or a Heavy Weight?
Just as you wouldn’t wear a dress to go horse riding you wouldn’t wear a lightweight tennis shoe on a serious hike. Different activities call for different shoes. Hikers tend to agree that low cut (meaning there’s no ankle protection), lightweight shoes can work well on a well traveled, frequently used trail.
When it comes to walking with weight on your back or walking over rougher terrain this becomes more debatable; many in hiking circles believes that one pound on your foot equals 5 pounds on your back so the lighter the shoe the better. This counts for both day trails and longer hikes over fair terrain. Should you be walking through very heavy ground or snow experts seem to agree that you need a heavy, reinforced boot.
Waterproof or Not?
Hiking boots made from full grain or Nubuck (suede) leather tend to be fairly water resistant while there are also boots available with specially treated fabrics to make them waterproof. Of course, no shoe is completely waterproof, especially if you’re hiking through streams etc. What’s important to consider here is where you’ll be walking.
On a long, wet hike a pair of leather hiking boots with a high cut will probably serve you best, on a walk with your dog a pair of lightweight breathable shoes with a low cut and water resistant fabric will likely be more comfortable.
What about the Price?
When buying boots you need to focus on durability and functionality. There are very expensive boots that might look more appealing yes, but will they serve the purpose you need them for? On the other hand, the cheapest pair might also not work – as such rather look at the above, then at pricing considerations.
Dickies has a number of great boots that will serve both for both light walking and serious hiking:
- Mock fur lining.
- Sturdy leather.
- Ideal for all rugged weather conditions.
- Water resistant and insulated.
- Leather is protected with scuff guards.
- Comfortable to wear all day every day.
- Ultimate protection.
- Water resistant properties.
- Padded collar and tongue.
- Oil resistant sole.
- Shock absorbent heel.
- Metal free safety.