What to Look for in Footwear for Holiday Hiking

Amongst all of the holiday ideas for shedding extra weight gained from the rich food fare, one of the most effective, according to WebMD is hiking and backpacking. It can be a short hike through a nearby national park or a few days backpacking in the wilderness. Hiking is best done with a well-packed backpack and the proper gear. This includes good hiking footwear. Choosing the proper footwear for a hike can be difficult. However, you can make a well informed choice on your hiking footwear if you understand the importance of hiking boots and trails shoes. There are five primary reason for wearing the specialty shoes on your hike.


Hiking boots and shoes are made of stiff soles and a tough exterior material to protect the feet as you stomp through rugged terrain. The soles are often wider than casual footwear to protect the ankle from rolling as well. The boots are usually made of a leather exterior shell to protect the feet from cuts, scrapes and abrasions in the underbrush. A plate found in the midsole is what protects the sole of the foot from being pierced by sharp rocks. Rubber outsoles provide traction to protect against slipping. With this protection, putting on a hiking boot or shoe is like placing your foot into a nature-proof vest.


In addition to providing protection, the hiking footwear also provides support for the foot. The hiking shoes and boots come with high and mid-rise tops that provide some support for the ankle, in addition to the roll protection provided by the wider sole. In fact, the upper portion of the shoe is stiffer than causal footwear to support the foot as you trudge through nature. Interior soles placed over the plate in the shoe provide extra support for the arch or heel as needed. This support also varies to accommodate most foot types.


Unless you are backpacking in the deep south or southwest, you will need some insulation against the cold. Hiking footwear provides additional insulation as needed for hiking in colder climates and even snow. The insulation prevents discomfort during the hike and it wards off frostbite.

Moisture Control

Moisture occurs on the form of sweat from within the snow or precipitation (snow, rain) from outside. Hiking footwear is designed to be waterproof, preventing moisture form entering the shoe. On the inside, the shoes are lined with a material like Gore-Tex, which pulls moisture away from the foot. It makes the foot feel dry in very high temperatures wear sweating is inevitable. The material also helps reduce the effects of moisture when the conditions outside are extremely wet. On your holiday hike, instead of running back to your holiday villa, make sure that the shoe has waterproof protections.

When to Wear Hiking Footwear

Despite their importance, does every hike deserve hiking footwear? The answer is, “yes” if you are walking through unpaved terrain with uneven trails or no trails at all. Walking on terrain that inclines and is rocky is also an area in need of hiking boots or shoes. The reason for this is that your feet need to be protected and supported when the road you walk on is uneven or undeveloped. Walks on sidewalks, paved tracks and trails can be performed with a good pair of walking shoes, as there is natural hazards awaiting your foot on the trail.

So, plan a short hike for after the holiday meal or backpacking trip after visiting the family. Just be sure to take along your hiking boots or shoes if you plan to get off the paved and beaten path. Your feet will love you for doing so.


When to Wear Hiking Boots or Hiking Shoes, Gorp Gear Blog.

How to Choose Hiking Boots, REI.

Fries, Wendy C. 10 Painless Ways to Lose Weight, WebMD

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