“If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes”– The Houghton Line
Whether to wear hiking boots or shoes is a necessity in today’s world, is a commonly asked question asked by many backpackers and hikers around the internet. A straight forward answer to this would be “NO.” I have come to write a detailed guide on this topic and give you the top 5 reasons why you do not require hiking boots anymore.
I have personally hiked in boots, shoes, sandals, flip-flops, and heck even barefoot. It was one hell of an experience but least to say that I never despised not wearing my dedicated hiking boots during, it. I hope this article is going to be a fun read for you as it was for me when I wrote it for my readers.
So the question is, DO YOU NEED HIKING BOOTS? MAYBE!
From day one, we have been told that one requires hiking boots when you are backpacking. And typically, that’s what we do! We listen to society and then adapt accordingly. Not doing our own due diligence and experimenting around different solutions, we tend to stick around and follow the whole belief system. Well, I agree that the hiking boots provide you with toughness, ankle support, terrain protection and water protection, and more. Am I right?
Here are the 5 main reasons you should ditch those hiking boots and never look back.
YOU DON’T WANT TO TOE THE EXTRA WEIGHT ON YOUR FEET
Your optimum goal should be to be light-weight and carefree
while backpacking. The whole reason behind that is when you are hiking, you shouldn’t
be carrying the extra load induced by these boots.This is because the more
weight you carry, the more drag you are bound to suffer. This directly applies
to those three (3) pound heavy shoes that you have put on for hiking purpose.
My approach has always been that I would prefer a decent light-weight paired
running shoes instead of those gigantic hiking boots. This easily eliminates
the extra drag these shoes procude and giving me the option to remain
comfortable and both secure while walking.
This is when being a science student pays off!
SAY HELLO TO Mr. BLISTER’s
Out of all the hikers that I know of, a blister is their common point of discussion along with many others. Blisters are no fun! We have already discussed how severe blisters can be and the negative impact they post on our health and well-being. But that’s a separate topic.
Hiking boots are rigid and hard-soled, thus giving little to no flexibility to your feet. This in result won’t let your little puppies (referring puppies to our feet here) breath. As a result of which, swear starts building up in the shoes during your hiking sessions. Which in turn, welcome Mr. Blisters
And NO! Break-in of shoes doesn’t prevent blisters in the case of HIKING. No matter how comfortable your shoes are, no matter how breathable the mesh is, you are prone to getting blisters one way or the wearing those gigantic 3-pound weighing shoes during your hiking. Blisters are the PITS! I am a sworn enemy to these cup-shaped monsters.
NOT COMPLETELY WATERPROOF
Most of the manufacturers claim their boots are “WATERPROOF.” Well, in reality, this won’t keep your feet dry. AT ALL! Here’s why:
- As discussed in the point above, sweat can’t be eliminated even if the shoes are waterproof.
- These shoes are designed to only protect you from “rain.” But this is short term protection. Reason being, once it rains during your hiking; the water is bound to slide from your gear directly into your shoes.
- Even if you go on about investing considerable sums of money on high-end hiking shoes considering they would be water-proof, then you are in for a surprise. These shoes develop tiny-holes on their bodies which then in return causes the water to seep into the shoes, thus making your feet wet again. Duh!
You can, however, take specific steps to ensure you prolong
the rain-shoe-wet-effect by wearing Gaiters and pants. But eventually if it
keeps on raining and you are on your track hiking, it is inevitable that your
feet will get wet. Once this happens, their weight “DOUBLES.” How about that?
Let me be the icebreaker here. No, the shoes don’t dry quickly. These shoes take a considerable amount of time before they dry out. So please do not get invested into the “WATERPROOF” hype of hiking shoes.
THERE IS NO ANKLE SUPPORT
The “ONE” worst fear of any wilderness traveller is, INJURY! These shoes claim to be ANKLE SUPPORTIVE to provide you with the maximum protection, safety, and traction during your hiking sessions. But in reality, it’s a big myth and with the help of my article; I would be able to tell you why.
Most of the medical researchers claim that if you want to protect your ankles from injury, then the only and the most optimum way of doing it is by doing ankle stretching exercises. This helps to strengthen the muscles and thus provide a significant amount of resilience when you are hiking. But if you are already a physically fit person who knows about their core, then going after this hype finding the best hiking shoe with the best ankle support isn’t worth the shot.
HIKING BOOTS TOO ARE VERY DEMANDING
For your new hiking boot to be comfortable for you to take it out on your journey, they require sufficient break-in time. Not only that, these shoes need to be maintained as well during their break-in period. When I say maintained, I mean making sure no deformation happens when the break-in happens. You need to prepare your hiking boots before you travel. Which is a big downside for me to be honest!
Wouldn’t a simple, cost-effective, inexpensive alternative which is both light-weight and can be worn straight out of the box; a suitable fit instead of these bulky shoes?
Time to make the switch I must say! Get your hands on a lightweight running shoe or a new trail runner. Forget about going after the market hyper of picking up a shiny hiking boot for yourself. They won’t do you any good.
Your only aim in a right hiking shoe should be that they should provide you with a proper amount of traction, are soft, flexible, and the sole should be thick enough so that you don’t feel the rocks under your feet when hiking.
If you liked the article above and my research and analysis on the topic, please feel free to leave a comment down below, and I would be more than happy to reply back.