March is truly a great time for a winter hike. For us up here in New England, there will still be snow hanging around, making the hills a beautiful winter wonderland. In warmer climates around the country, March is the perfect temperature to get out and get your sweat on without overheating. It’s a wonderful time to take in the scenery, enjoy the natural world and get a little exercise simultaneously.
There’s nothing that can make or break a hike like the shoes you wear. Muddy terrain without waterproof boots can make for cold, uncomfortable feet. On the other hand, warm temperatures and extreme cold-weather boots don’t mix very well, leading to sweaty, unhappy toes. Neither sounds ideal!
What type of boots are right for you?
One big question to ask yourself is how intense your hiking is going to get. If you’re looking to scale mountains and boulders, your needs are a lot different than those climbing their nearby hills for a great view of the city they call home. That said, selecting boots that are appropriate to the type of hiking you wish to do is a vital part of choosing the proper shoes.
If you’re hiking in a fairly dry, warmer area, trail shoes will offer you the support you need. These are typically low-cut and work best if you’re carrying a light daypack and encountering minimal rocks. Many trail-runners utilize these shoes on their daily trail runs.
Available in both mid and high cuts, these boots are typically waterproof. Best for hiking terrain that could be wet, muddy and rocky, these boots are meant to keep your feet dry and supported. Great for either beginners or advanced hikers, these shoes give you the confidence to explore uncharted terrain.
Backpacking or Mountain-Climbing Boots
For more intense hiking aficionados, these shoes typically have high arch and ankle support, completely waterproof outsoles and enough padding to support you for a multi-day hike. These extremely strong boots are essential to longer, more intense adventures. As a warning, these may take quite a while to break in due to their durability.
How do you find the best fit?
Be sure to try on and test out hiking shoes before you purchase them (or take advantage of sites with free returns). Walk around the house and be sure your heel isn’t slipping, the arch support feels adequate, and your toes aren’t sliding to the front of the boot or pinching. Try on with the socks you’ll be wearing on the hike (if it’s super cold and you’ll be wearing thick, wool socks, for example, you’ll want to test them out with those same socks). Walking up and down a flight of stairs can help simulate steep or hilly terrain.
What do you look for in hiking shoes? We all definitely have our own favorite choices, as finding the right pair is individual to your purpose and fit preferences. We’d love to hear about your favorites! Let us know in the comments below.