Hiking shoes are versatile enough to be worn on day hikes, overnighters or longer – they’re a favourite of long-distance trampers due to the weight savings.
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.
Most midsoles 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.
Most hiking shoes are made from a combination of leather and synthetic material, which makes them light and relatively cheap.
A heel counter supports and stabilises the foot, preventing heel lift. A shock absorber will reduce heel strike.
Wide-spaced and deep lugs are designed to shed mud and offer grip in all conditions. A pronounced instep will provide braking power on the descent.
Eyelets and laces
Fabric eyelets are common, with some metal or hard plastic eyelets used on those shoes intended for demanding uses.
A rubber bumper protects toes from knocks and the shoe upper from abrasion.
Now you know what to look for, it’s time to choose a shoe…
|Merrell Moab FST Waterproof $269
Use Hiking Upper Leather, mesh and TPU Construction M Select DRY waterproof/breathable membrane, bellows tongue, breathable mesh lining, M Select odour control, blended EVA-contoured footbed, moulded nylon arch shank, air cushion heel Outsole Vibram MegaGrip Weight 796g (m); 646g (w). www.merrell.co.nz
|Keen Women’s Terradora Waterproof $269.99
Use Hiking Upper Mesh and synthetic Construction Low-density midsole, KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane. ESS stability shank, dual density PU footbed, mesh lining, 4mm multi-directional lugs, Cleansport NXT natural odour control Outsole Non-marking rubber Weight 640g. www.keenfootwear.co.nz
|Merrell Moab FST $249
Use Hiking Upper Mesh and thermoplastic urethane Construction M Select Fit, Eco blended EVA contoured footbeds with odour control, moulded nylon arch shank, air cushion heel, bellows tongue, mesh lining Outsole Vibram Megagrip Weight 737g (m); 646g (w). www.merrell.co.nz