Among the gear decisions hikers have to make when planning a backpacking trip, the most important gear choice is backpacking footwear. The feet carry it all, and a successful journey depends on getting the footwear right. And while support and durability are important when choosing backpacking footwear, fit is is the most crucial consideration.
Hikers have a number of decisions to make when deciding upon gear, from the larger decisions including which tent, sleeping bag and backpack to employ, all the way down to the smaller decisions like weight- and space-saving water bottles and toothbrushes. The most significant gear choice, though, is backpacking footwear. Your feet carry all of it, and if your footwear isn't right, it may possibly mean the end of the journey.
While support and durability are concerns when choosing backpacking footwear, fit is of chief importance. If your footwear doesn't fit properly, you may be at risk of serious injury and can indeed count on blisters. Even within your proper size, the construction of the shoe may allow your foot to chafe or move around -- both of which promote blister formation. It is difficult to attain such a first rate fit that the foot doesn't form hot spots from sliding inside the shoe.
Basic trekking footwear has always been robust hiking boots. Intended to supply foot and ankle support along with protection from kicking against rocks, such boots are weighty and rigid. There isn't any give to the boot,so your foot is crammed inside the confines of the toe box. Without a superb fit, your foot may slide around in the boot, or your toes may very well bang against the ends. Bulky hiking boots can have their place in very rugged terrain or wintry temperatures, or when transporting a heavily stuffed backpack, however a really good, trouble-free fit can be hard to accomplish.
As backpacking loads have diminished greatly in more recent times, backpacking footwear has also lightened. Trail shoes are a pleasant choice for the trail. If you don't have a weighty load, the need for rigid support fades away. Less heavy footwear benefits your agility, allowing you to effortlessly escape kicking rubble, and the heavy protection isn't needed. The uppers are certainly more supple, which provides more give for your feet to maneuver around as needed. Trail shoes offer many selections of style, ranging from a lighter, lower-cut boot design to an athletic-shoe style. Fit will still be a necessary thing to consider, as your foot will still be contained inside of a toe box.
Sandals have grown to be a different choice for backpacking footwear. They are lightweight, and they also leave your toes able to bend and spread as necessary. Hiking sandals come with toe caps to protect from rock kicking, and lugged soles for traction. The tough soles can often be stiff, though, and there is very slight protection from debris.
The most up-to-date option in backpacking footwear is shoes with toes. These minimalist shoes are sometimes known as barefoot shoes, as they simply have separate compartments for each toe, and look similar to a glove on your foot. The soles are of minimal thickness -- enough to protect the bottoms of your feet, while permitting you to still feel the ground. Backpackers take pleasure in the flexibility, the agility, plus the concept that the toes aren't confined. In contrast to sliding inside of a toe box, the toes are free to spread and adapt to the ground, so now the risk of blisters is lowered.
From heavy to light-weight, there is a backpacking footwear option that's correct for you and your particular backpacking technique. Do not be too self-conscious to try out something a bit distinctive -- it may well turn out to be the footwear choice you've been needing.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vibram has been a top name in non-slip soles for years; now they've applied that technology to a shoe with toes for hiking and trekking. Choose your favorite Vibram FiveFinger footwear with toes at www.squidoo.com/shoes-with-toes.
By N. B. Shepherd