How to Select the Right Hiking Shoes


Shoes can make or break your trekking experience. Whether you’re hiking along well-paved paths or trekking through tough trails; ankle twists, toe blisters, and aching feet should be the least of your worries. Good shoes are synonymous to a good trekking experience. Here’s what you need to consider while selecting a good pair of hiking shoes:

The right fit:

Finding the right fit is really important. There is nothing worse than an ill-fitting shoe. Make sure there is just enough room for your toes to wiggle around the toe box, but not too much that cause a huge gap between the tips of the toes and the front of the shoe. Likewise, the heel shouldn’t get lifted off the back of your shoes while you walk. At the same time, it shouldn’t clasp so tight that your feet can’t breathe. Battling with the right size could pose a problem for some people. In such cases, using a customized insole could help. After all, having a good grip on your feet gives you the confidence to tread your way up without any problem.


The right socks:

Trying on shoes without socks is the worst idea, as it changes the fit completely. Carry a pair of socks that you would wear while hiking so that it is of the right thickness or simply buy it along with the shoe. When it comes to choosing the right set of hiking socks, opt for one with antibacterial properties. The right set of socks provides a good cushion and keeps moisture at bay. Additionally, you can invest in a set of gaiters to prevent sand and dirt from entering your hiking shoes.

Understand the terrain:

Understanding the terrain helps you identify the kind of sole your shoe needs. Not just that, certain minerals, stones, concrete, sand, and grime can easily cause abrasions on the surface of the shoe and penetrate all the way in. Moreover, getting a better perspective on the prevailing weather conditions really helps as well. Frosty temperatures would mean icy terrains. In this case, you ought to have waterproof boots to prevent blue toes and frost bites. You also need ample amount of coverage for warmth, thus, synthetic insulation works well for mountains and glaciers.

Be sure of your shoes:

You can only be sure it’s the right pair for you if you try them on and run or walk in them. Sometimes, it needs a few days of breaking in your shoes rather than directly wearing them on the day of the hike or trek. Another important aspect is the maintenance of the shoes. Merely investing in a heavy-duty pair without taking care of it won’t go a long way. Understand how to take care of your shoes, ask for guidance at the time of buying them and pick the right polish or waterproof coat that you need for touch-ups.

Choose the right cut

Choose the right cut. Low-cut hiking shoes work fine on well-paved trails, mid-cut shoes give more support to the ankle and work well for grainy trails, while high-cut ones offer the best support, grip, and balance and are well-suited for tougher terrains and challenging hikes. If your trek or hike is a lengthy one with intense hours of walking, pick a shoe with a stiff midsole. It always helps to check for a good ankle and heel support too.


Check for durability:

Invest in a pair of durable shoes. Synthetic or leather? The latter, although expensive, is more durable in the long run. If leather shoes are your preferred type, opt for durable, sturdy and water-resistant full grain or nubuck leather instead. Let’s delve into the details here. Shoes made of synthetic materials are always inferior in quality compared to blends and leather. If you’re looking for a mid-range pair of boots, try the split-grain leather, wherein the leather is blended with synthetics like nylon or polyester. Full-grain leather boots are no doubt durable, they are perfect for rough terrains, but are quite heavy. Always remember that maintenance of your shoe is key to its long life.

Look for the right components:

Select a shoe with fewer seams. Keep it neat and minimal. Look for sturdy soles, firm toe caps and good arch support. Don’t underestimate the importance of ankle padding. The right amount of padding providing just the perfect cushion to your feet, especially ankles and arches, is very important. Buy insoles if you have to.


Quick summary: To pick the right pair of shoes, keep these in mind: terrain, weather condition, leg protection, good sole, firm grip, right socks.

Tip: To invest in your second pair of hiking shoes, observe the way the previous shoe had worn out. This will help you understand if your shoe wears off from the seams, rips off at the ankle or gives away from the sole area.

Published by

Aditi Shukla

Aditi Shukla is a traveller, explorer, soul-searcher and foodie. She loves embarking on new journeys and trying local food along the way, while documenting them on her blog Lyf&Spice ( She particularly loves exploring the countryside and little towns on foot, and has been nurturing her new found love for hiking for the past few years now. According to her, hiking gives a new perspective to a place and helps to uncover trails and views you would have otherwise not encountered.

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