Did you that hiking, bike riding, backpacking and trail running will be among the most popular outdoor activities during the cooler weather? And experts agree that the right equipment, such as bug repellent, a compass, first-aid kit and extra food and water, can protect against unforeseen dangers.
But one of the most important pieces of equipment you should have is the right pair of shoes according to Jerry Slover from The Athlete’s Foot. Because you’re likely to encounter uneven surfaces, sharp rocks, roots and other obstacles on trails in the woods and mountains, wearing the right shoes can help you avoid foot, ankle and leg discomfort.
Slover offers the following shopping advice to help you buy the right outdoor shoes for your feet:
- Get fit – There are numerous brands of outdoor shoes, but the best kind to buy is the one that fits your foot. Have a fit technician measure both of your feet and help you choose the right shoe each time you buy a new pair.
- Get what you need – Each outdoor sport will have different shoe requirements for your feet, so choose a shoe that is specific to that activity:
Hiking boots need to protect your foot while providing comfort and stability. A good pair should have solid bottoms with good traction, good side protection and plenty of ankle support.
When trying on a pair, make sure the sides don’t bend easily. Keep in mind where you’ll be going and how much you’ll be packing. Rugged terrain and a heavy load require a sturdier boot than “casual” hiking.
Full-grain leather boots – for strenuous hiking – will be more water-resistant, durable and supportive. Lighter weight and more breathable day-hikers or outdoor cross trainers are suitable for easier treks.
Trail Running Shoes
Trail running is a great exercise because it requires more varied muscle use than hiking or running and provides less impact on joints because of a softer running surface. It also requires a more rugged shoe that provides maximum traction, protection and support.
A good trail running shoe should provide stability, an aggressive outsole and a well-protected, roomy toe box. Waterproofing and breathability should also be factors to consider.
Mountain Biking Footware
Mountain biking is a highly popular form of aerobic exercise. Outdoor cross trainers, trail running shoes or light hikers are all suitable for the sport as long as they fit comfortably on the pedals.
Here’s a useful tip for biking. Shoes with more supportive soles will distribute pedal pressure and give support both on and off the bike.
Tip: Take the Slant Test
After finding a pair you like, walk around in them to ensure comfort before buying. Since you’ll be using hiking boots and trail running shoes up and downhill, find an incline on which to test them out.
The shoe shouldn’t slip in the heel, and there should be plenty of room in the toe box to avoid pinching and tightness. If it doesn’t feel right, find another pair. You don’t want to discover discomfort in the woods or on a mountaintop.
Socks for Dryness and Comfort
Don’t forget the underwear – For your feet, that is. Your socks should keep your feet dry and prevent blisters. Opt for an acrylic blend that will wick moisture away from your feet instead of absorbing it, as all-cotton or wool socks do.