Ready for Hiking season? Finding the right boots is essential to enjoying your hike. Trekking through mud, steep cliffs and slippery ground ensures you will be working up a sweat, but you can ease the pressure off your feet by finding the right boot. Every journey requires different footwear, whether you are on a long distance backpacking trip or a short walk in the woods, and we're here to break down the difference in footwear for you.
Thru-Hiking The A.T.
Normally backpacking boots are made to be very stiff since you don't want too much flexibility when you're carrying a heavy load on your back. However, LOWA has come out with a couple of backpacking boots that offer just enough flexibility to make the boots easier to break in. These boots are made with a stiff shank in the rear boot, and in the front the shank tapers to allow flex, which will allow for a shorter break-in period. For men, we have the LOWA Camino Flex ($300), and for women, the Mauria Flex ($300).
Exploring Devil's Den
For day hiking, you have the option of boots or shoes, and it really just depends on which is more comfortable for you. A boot that encases your ankle is generally better when you will be doing more climbing on your hike, as it will give you added support and protection. For men's boots, our experts recommend the LaSportiva Core High ($200). This is not only a brand new boot, but it utilizes a whole new type of construction called GORETEX Surround. The GORETEX bootie is incorporated into the boot in a new way that makes it much more breathable, perfect for hiking in the summer. For women, we love the Vasque Inhaler ($159), another new boot that gives your feet added breathability. It is also made with GORETEX, but it incorporates a generous amount of mesh into its design to allow for maximum airflow through the walls of the boot.
Walking your dog in Cranbury Park
A hiking shoe with a low ankle can feel cooler in summertime than a high hiking boot, and we have a wide selection of hiking shoes to choose from. Our favorites are the Oboz Tamarac ($140) for men and the Phoenix ($140) for women. Oboz boots offer excellent quality for the price, and unlike most hiking boots, they come with very high-quality insoles. In addition, Oboz makes their own outsoles, which are very well crafted and helps them keep their prices low. BDry waterproofing keeps your feet nice and dry.
It is essential to your hiking experience to have a boot that fits well. With the right fit, the right insoles and the most comfortable socks, your feet will be blister-free and much less likely to be injured on the trail. Our experts can help you find the perfect fitting boot, and also the perfect insole to add comfort and customize your fit. We recommend using insoles in your hiking boots no matter what to give you added support, and since they come in a variety of thicknesses, you can also use the thicker ones to shrink any extra spaces inside the boot. Superfeet and Sole Footbeds make fantastic insoles that will keep your feet happy on the trail.
We have a huge assortment of socks that are perfect for day hikes or long trekking adventures. A common misconception is that wool socks are meant for cold weather, but this natural material can be used to construct thin, lightweight socks as well as thick winter socks. We carry socks from Smartwool and Fit that come in a variety of thicknesses and are excellent at wicking away moisture. Bacteria don't take to wool since it is a natural fiber, so even after hours of hiking you won't have that unpleasant sweaty foot smell. Never wear cotton socks while hiking, since cotton holds in moisture, sucks in bacteria, and is very slow to dry.