Saturday, October 23, 2021

Shoes for the Trail: Top Ten Tips

July 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Gear, Trail Tips

One of the most frequent questions I get is:  What kind of hiking shoes should I get?

Here are our top ten tips for selecting shoes for the trail:

  1. Get shoes that FIT your feet.  Make sure you know what’s too large and what’s too small by trying on different sizes.
  2. Understand your feet so that you can look at a shoe to see if it suits you.  For instance, do you need a wide or narrow toe box?  Is your heel narrow or wide?  These can be communicated to the shoe salesperson.
  3. Buy shoes at the end of the day.  Allow at least an hour, don’t rush this please!
  4. Use the store’s ramp to make sure your heels don’t slide up and down.
  5. Test the toe box on the ramp as well to make sure your toes don’t scrunch as you go down hill.  Many a toe nail has been lost by ill fitting shoes.
  6. Give yourself at least an hour to select shoes.
  7. Try one shoe on one foot and another on the other foot for instant feet feedback.
  8. Wear your hiking socks when trying on shoes for hiking.
  9. Try different in-soles (one in one foot, another in the other) to see if an upgraded insole improves your comfort or support.
  10. Buy shoes from a place that offers a return policy, even if you’ve worn them on the trail.

Here are a few more trail tips for your feet:

  • Know lacing tricks (or hike with a leader who does). So often lacing can be modified to resolve shoe problems.
  • At the first HINT of soreness or “hot spot,” stop immediately and treat to avoid a blister.
  • Carry moleskin and consider using a sock liner.
  • Pre-cut moleskin into useable sizes or carry a blister kit.

    YakTrax Provide Traction in Snow & Ice

  • Cover-roll stretch tape (dressing retention tape), is thin and great for keeping moleskin on tough places (like heels) even when wet. Pre-cut this as well.
  • Knee high liner socks help protect calves from low-lying poison oak.
  • Carry an extra pair of (dry) socks and replace socks after stopping for lunch or a break.
  • Soaking feet in a cold stream can reduce swelling.

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