Whether you’re out for a day hike or determined to carry light loads on your overnighters, a pair of low-cut hiking shoes are just the ticket.
Eyelets and laces
Fabric eyelets are common, with some metal or hard plastic eyelets used on those shoes intended for demanding uses.
Wide-spaced and deep lugs are designed to shed mud and offer grip in all conditions. A pronounced instep will provide braking power on descent.
A rubber bumper protects toes from knocks and the shoe upper from abrasion.
Most midsoles – the material between the inner and outsole – are EVA, a polymer designed to handle the stress and impact of walking over uneven ground. Easy-flex models are more comfortable on level ground and when moving fast. Stiffer shoes are better for rockier terrain and allow more precise footholds when climbing and scrambling.
Fit and width
The toe box should have a thumb-width of space in front of the longest toe. The overall fit should be snug – not tight – across the arch and forefoot.
A heel counter supports and stabilises the foot, preventing heel lift. A shock absorber will reduce heel strike.
Most hiking shoes are made from a combination of leather and synthetic material, which makes them light and relatively cheap. Full leather shoes are more expensive, but, with less stitching, should last longer.
Now you know what to look for, it’s time to choose a shoe…
Salewa Wander Hiker GTX $349
Salewa Mountain Trainer $329
The North Face Endurus Hike GTX $300
Keen Men’s Targhee EXP $289.99
Merrell Moab FST Waterproof $279