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Hiking boots - Are they REALLY necessary?

Jerry Chang · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 0

Of course it's necessary ,it can protect your feet and make it easy for hiking, i usually take some light-weight boots from dream pairs ,cat and timerbland .

Dinu DesculÅ£ · · Bucharest, RO · Joined Jul 2019 · Points: 0

NO. For me, the boots (shoes) are never necessary. I'm a barefoot hiker, since at 3 years old (in 1962). Life is better barefoot than in shoes, being natural. So ... my bare feet are the best shoes in the world. 
Thanks (if you can understand this) and all the best, with health and happiness, in peace !

Ryan McAvoy · · Greenville, NC · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

I used to be in the hiking boots camp (see what I did there) but after reading the blogs of some thru hikers I think a pretty valid point has been made for having boots be situational.  Really cold weather and high elevations with snow to consider, sure.  Warmer climates where you might be facing stream and river crossings, trail runners are becoming more popular due to their light weight and how much more quicly they'll dry.  The point to me that helped seal the deal was that even some of the best rated boots on the market, specifically designed to minimize ankle roll, still did not prevent all ankle rolling issues.  I opted for lighter weight and just being more mindful of where I'm stepping.  I'm sure my next few hikes wont be without incident but will I be more accident prone with trail runners?  Who knows.  I just picked up a pair of Altra Zero Drop runners and I'm looking forward to taking them out next weekend.

Thomas David Kehoe · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 430

I had a girlfriend who wore big, heavy hiking boots. She endlessly injured her ankles and claimed that the boots protected her ankles. I was wearing New Balance 510 minimalist trail racing shoes at the time, 10 ounce racing shoes. Halfway through a season of backpacking with me she said that I turn my ankles all the time but I recover and keep walking. I never noticed that I turn my ankles. She bought a pair of the New Balance 510 and no longer had ankle injuries. She realized that the boots were causing her ankle problems. Plus going from 3-pound boots to 10-ounce shoes her hiking speed increased. They say that a pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back. After ten years in minimalist shoes I developed metatarsal problems so I now hike in Nike Wildhorse trail running shoes (1 pound 5 ounces).

Sophia Barwegen · · San Jose, CA · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 89

I used to be a big believer in wearing hiking boots for all hiking and backpacking, however, once I switched over to trail runners I have never gone back. I appreciate how they dry much faster than a goretex boot and they give me more foot and ankle mobility. I never once had an issue with wearing the trail runners when traveling over snow or scrambling off trail in the Sierras.

Whether you prefer to wear trail runners, hiking shoes, or hiking boots, all it comes down to is personal preference. 

danial james · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2019 · Points: 0
Matthew Storm wrote:

LOTS of people consider hiking boots absolutely essential for any kind of hiking. And trail brochures at national parks will tell you not to set foot on a trail without them. But honestly, I never really liked them. They seem too heavy, clunky, and uncomfortable compared to a simple pair of sneakers. And lately, that's ALL I will wear on a hike. I've hiked smooth trails, rocky trails, steep trails, and cross country with sneakers. I've climbed 13000 and 14000 peaks and boulder hopped in sneakers. You can't use other shoes like best tennis shoes or golf shoes and other sports shoes. Even walked through snowbanks. But not once did I ever feel like something was missing or that my safety was in jeopardy because I wasn't wearing hiking boots. All of this makes me wonder - are they REALLY necessary? Or are they more of a personal preference? Some say they will prevent a sprained ankle. But if you are going down, is a boot REALLY going to hold your leg strong enough to keep your ankle from twisting? And even if it could help, is it REALLY worth it to put up with all the negatives (ie increased weight, decreased comfort, increased chance of blisters, etc)?

I am going for hiking on small mountain this will not real but just for fun so can i go without hiking shoes....? Although this will be on small mountain but also dangerous so somebodies say that you should go with all equipment and safety arrangements and some say you can go without hiking shoes what will good for me....?Any best place for cheap hiking shoes....? 

Mike M. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

I reside in Pennsylvania USA and only hike in late autumn through late winter. I no longer hit the trails in the warm season. I primarily day hike, nighttime trek and single overnights. I frequent the AT and various upland plateau state parks and forests. Our state is pretty darn rocky above the coastal plain. I personally would not go out in fast trail footwear as they do not have adequate protection for my feet. When I am rock and boulder hopping a trail I need a good mid-height waterproof boot with a decent midsole. I bought a pair of Merrell Phaser, old original design not the current work version, some years back and they have saved me numerous times from losing skin from rock abrasion on my ankles. A good midsole also blunts the assault to the bottom of my feet from angular rock surfaces. Factor in snow and ice and it gets seriously real. I can couple the Merrell with gaiters and midweight merino wool socks and am comfortable in snow down to around 15 degrees above. From 15 above down to about 25 degrees below I wear Keen Neve Polar boots with a heavyweight merino wool sock. I had frostbite on my feet one time only in 1985 while backpacking the High Peak region of the Adirondack. Once was all it took! So the choice is personal but should also account for safety concerns in addition to comfort. It's never a competed hike if you do not return. Happy trails!

Anatoliy Soloshenko · · Kharkov, UA · Joined Nov 2019 · Points: 0

Hello. I am planning to start hiking and now thinking about the stuff needed. what clothes and shoes can you recommend? I am also interested in the equipment itself, what are you using? where do you buy all this or do you order from online shops? By the way, does anyone know how can I find out the Glasgow postcode? Is this postcodefinder.net/scotland… ok? Is everything correct there? 

Loren Pechtel · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2018 · Points: 0

I sometimes hike in trail runners, I sometimes hike in boots, it depends on the trail and the conditions.  I use boots when things are on the wet side (especially if I'm expecting to see snow) and when I'm around cactus.  If I'm facing neither of these I might consider them if the trail is very rocky.

Bella Anna · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2019 · Points: 0

I think it also depends on what kind of hiking you will be doing in Switzerland and what the rest of your trip looks like. I hiked last year on the RS Best of Europe tour and actually the trail we were on was more a walk than a hike as it was fairly flat, wide and smooth along with the jaw-dropping scenery, lol. I did not want to carry boots for just one day in Switzerland and did fine with Altra Lone Peak trail shoes. They have a bit more aggressive tread than their regular athletic shoes but even that was not needed the day I hiked. I would have been fine in my regular Altra athletic shoes.
I do have New Balance waterproof hiking boots which I use when I hike here in N. Idaho or in Yellowstone but they are too heavy to haul around Europe for me. They are better for a rockier or steeper trail where I need more ankle support.

I got all the above thru Amazon and yes, I love their return policy as well. I also like to wear merino wool socks. Costco has their Kirkland brand merino wool trail socks again this year. Great deal - $12.99 or so for 3 or 4 pr. They wash and last really well.

Fenester Perfect · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 14 days ago · Points: 0

Hiking boots are a key element of your hiking gear. On a hike, your feet should be comfortable and safe. Properly selected hiking boots securely hold your foot on any terrain, protect from injuries, protect from rain or snow, and uncomfortable, rubbing your feet soaking from any dirt or puddles spoil the whole impression of a hike. In my wardrobe there are five (!!) different models of hiking boots designed for certain types of activity.​Leather Hiking Boots​​​

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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