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Walking in the woods is an incredible experience, and finding the best hiking shoes for men can be the difference in having a good hiking experience. However, if you do not have good hiking shoes, you can come home with sore feet, aching toes, and blisters.
Hiking is a cool full-body workout. It is also good for your mental well-being. Spending some time among hills, rocks, valleys, and trees can reduce anxiety and stress. It can also reduce the risk of depression.
If you plan to conquer the great outdoors, you need to study the terrain, weather and have the right gear.
Hiking Shoes vs. Hiking Boots
Hiking shoes bring together the best characteristics of trainer shoes, which combine them into one. Hiking shoes have low-top fits, and hiking boots fit above the ankle.
Knowing the difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots will help you make the right choice.
Parts of a Trekking Shoe
Understanding what goes into your hiking shoes will make you understand what to look for in the best hiking shoes for men.
The sole of your hiking shoes is made of different kinds of rubber compounds. The sole should have deep lugs for more grip, especially on loose soil.
An ideal hiking shoe sole should be strong and flexible to keep you agile, so you do not quickly get tired.
The upper of your hiking shoes should be able to repel water and give you a breathable feeling while protecting your feet against the elements. Uppers are often made from synthetic fabrics or leather.
What to Look for in Hiking Shoes
It may not be easy to choose the right hiking shoes. It may take several tries, but to avoid hits and misses, it would be wise to know what to look for in hiking shoes.
There are many items to scrutinize when choosing the best hiking shoes for men. Good-quality hiking shoes are among the most necessary items and the best investments in your hiking gear list.
Your perfect hiking shoes should:
Given your hiking considerations, you need to look at these factors when picking the best hiking shoes for men.
A perfect fit is an essential factor you need to consider when choosing the best hiking shoes. You should never compromise comfort. You should be able to use them even on long treks without getting blisters.
Your hiking shoes should be tight enough, snug everywhere, and should have enough room so you can wiggle your toes. Snug-fitting hiking shoes prevents water from entering your shoes while hiking to protect your arch and ankles.
Hiking shoes are heavier than sneakers or running shoes. While lightweight hiking shoes are great, support and durability should still be the primary considerations.
Good-quality hiking shoes are usually over 1.5 kg, and there is a rational reason for this. While the added padding, cross-stitching, and cushioning add to the hiking shoes’ weight, these elements cannot be left out.
You will need lightweight hiking shoes for day trips; midweight hiking shoes are for backpacking trips and multi-day trips; the heavier the hiking shoes, the better hiking. If you are going through rough terrain, you will need hiking shoes with strength and weight.
The trend for lightweight gear is on the rise, and hiking shoes are moving towards this trend while support and stability. Hiking shoes have a specific stiffness due to their internal supports.
Hiking shoes rely on cushioning for structure, bounce, support, and safety. It can be dangerous to hike on rocky and slippery terrain because you can injure yourself. In this regard, good hiking shoes offering stability, cushioning, and support are important considerations.
Your hiking shoes should be made from sturdy, durable materials, and more importantly, provide your feet with the utmost protection.
Your hiking shoes should be made of water-resistant and breathable material, especially when you are hiking during the winter.
The theory of keeping water in instead of keeping water out is often discussed subject matter. When the uppers of your hiking shoes are made of breathable material, your feet will easily get wet but will also quickly dry.
This means your feet will be dryer and less prone to blisters. It is, therefore, wiser to choose breathable instead of water-resistance hiking shoes.
Gore-Tex (GTX) is an all-weather material with a breathable and waterproof fabric membrane used in most of the best hiking shoes. Gore-Tex repels water while allowing water vapor to pass through.
Nubuck leather is a full-grain leather with a brushed finished similar to suede. Heavy-duty hiking shoes are often made from Nubuck leather. Nubuck leather is a breathable material. It is also lighter, more flexible, and has a soft touch compared to full leather. Nubuck leather is also more durable than nylon.
It is common to find hiking shoes in a combination of leather and nylon mesh. This combination gives hiking shoes more breathability and resistance to abrasion.
Hiking shoes made from synthetic nylon and synthetic mesh contribute to the breathability of your shoes. While they are not too known for durability, they are lightweight. Some hiking shoes made from tightly-woven synthetic upper are as durable as Nubuck leather hiking shoes.
The terrain where you will be hiking will influence the weight, sole, and grip that you need from your hiking shoes. How often and how long you will hike each time are also critical when choosing the right pair of hiking shoes.
Soles, inner soles, mid-soles, and upper soles should be made of top-quality material to ensure proper grip and shock absorption.
Mid-soles are often made of Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a durable plastic material that is not too cushiony than when only made of EVA. TPU is an expensive material, so most manufacturers use TPU for the midsole’s shank and frame for toughness and stability and add the EVA material on the underfoot for added comfort.
EVA, on the other hand, is a soft cushy material. It is lightweight and long-lasting. Most hiking shoes have soft to slightly stiff EVA midsoles.
Insoles provide comfort. They can also improve the fit of your hiking shoes under the arch. The insoles can increase or decrease the impact of shock and cushioning of your hiking shoes.
Choose hiking shoes with a toe cap. The lack of protection on the front of your hiking shoes can impact your trip and ruin your hiking trip. A full-rubber toe cap ensures full protection for your toes.
The laces and lacing system of hiking shoes are often overlooked. Laces and the lacing system of your hiking shoes are critical to your comfort and fit. A flawed lacing system will tend to make your hiking shoes loosen and will need constant adjustment. This can be a hassle while on the trail.
The lacing system of your hiking shoes also helps secure your heel and prevent blisters and spots.
Do Not Forget your Socks
While you are into picking the right hiking shoes, do not forget to get a suitable pair of socks.
The proper pair of hiking shocks should be seamless and have extra cushioning and reinforcement. Wool socks are always the best because they are not only tough but dry easily, too.
Socks have different weights that translate to warmth. Go for thinner pairs of socks when it is hot and thicker ones when it is cold. Be wary of heavy socks because they can make your hiking shoes feel tighter and may cause you to have blisters.
If you are buying hiking shoes for the winter, get one that is a half-size bigger to allow you to wear thicker socks.
Best Hiking Boots for Men
Hiking shoes come in various brands and models. Here are the ten best hiking shoes for men.
The Merrell Moab 2 Vent Low Hiking Shoes is a suede leather and mesh-designed hiking shoe that comes with superb breathability and durability. It also comes with leather uppers for more protection.
These hiking shoes feature Vibram soles with 5mm lugs for maximum traction in the mud and sand. It’s hard nylon shank offers full support for your arch. It also features a reinforced toe cap for maximum protection of your feet when hiking on rocky terrain. Its rockered sole, on the other hand, helps you sustain your forward momentum.
The Merrell Moab 2 Vent Low Hiking Shoes is a durable and stable shoe. It can resist rolling and shock absorption with its air cushions in the heels. It is available in various colors suitable for you, and it does not quickly get dirty.
The Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 GTX Hiking Shoes for Men offers superb grip, especially in rocky and wet conditions. This pair of hiking shoes is lightweight and has sufficient cushioning.
The rubber outsole lug soles of the Adidas hiking shoes will not make you slip or slide because it has a solid grip. You can go through any water or tricky terrain with these lightweight hiking shoes. It has been designed to allow you to move fast on any terrain.
These hiking shoes are made with a breathable mesh upper combined with TPU overlays for more support and durability. An EVA midsole provides superior cushioning, and its rubber outsole provides maximum traction. It is also easy and quick to make adjustments with its lace-up bungee system.
The La Sportiva Spire GTX is lightweight, yet it is considered the best waterproof hiking shoes with a Gore-Tex liner. It has good traction for wet and dry conditions; thus, it is a flexible hiking shoe for all kinds of trails.
The La Sportive Spire GTX hiking shoes come with an innovative membrane making it comfortable even when hiking in warm weather. It also has moisture to pass through your feet effectively. It may not be that breathable, but it does have a water-resistant liner.
When hiking on demanding terrain or with a lot of weight on your back, the Spire’s Nano Cell 2.0 Technology provides support and structure to the shoe that makes you comfortable. It comes with a mesh upper that is resistant to abrasion and a Gore-Tex® Surround™ within the midsole and footbed.
The Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe is made of mesh and suede leather. It comes with a synthetic sole as well as mesh and suede leather upper.
It features the M Select DRY that keeps water out while allowing moisture to escape so your feet stay dry.
It also comes with a tongue with a closed-cell foam design to keep debris and moisture from getting into your feet. A rubber toe cap protects your toes.
The Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Waterproof is the perfect choice for your easy and moderate-day hikes. This shoe will be able to provide your feet with sufficient support, comfort, and traction. It is also ideal for hikes during cool and cold weather.
The Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Hiking Shoes offers reliable stability and dependable traction. It is an ideal hiking shoe for beginner and advanced hikers who need to experience stability, foothold, cushioning, a dependable grip, and superior comfort.
This shoe features a top arm Sensfit system that functions to hold your foot comfortably and securely in place, especially when you are trekking downhill.
The shoe itself is surrounded by foam cushioning for your comfort and is directly connected to the sole for your heel’s stability. Two different kinds of rubber provide a better grip when you are doing steep climbs.
The Columbia Men’s Redmond Waterproof Low Hiking Shoe is durable. It is perfect for casual hikers because it is a lightweight and competent shoe that can withstand challenging terrains’ rigors.
This hiking shoe comes with a leather, suede, and mesh upper to keep water away while always keeping your feet comfortable and cool.
Its Techlite midsole gives you superior traction, and its cushioned insoles help in impact absorption and keep your feet comfortable over demanding terrain.
The Oboz Bozeman Men’s Low Leather Hiking Shoes can be worn anywhere and anytime. Its supportive midsoles provide all-day comfort. This shoe has also been designed for hiking.
The suede leather uppers of this hiking shoe are lined with quick-drying natural and recycled materials.
This Oboz Bozeman hiking shoe contains recycled materials, and its foam insoles are made with algae biomass. Its insoles, the O Fit insoles™, support is cushioning to your feet. On the other hand, its midsoles are of EVA material that provides dual-density for men’s feet.
Its laces and webbing are made from recycled materials as well.
The KEEN Men’s Targhee II Hiking Shoe is made from 100% waterproof Nubuck Leather. Its breathable membrane allows water vapor to escape while not letting water in. It is waterproof so that it can withstand wet weather with the outsole adding traction.
This lightweight hiking shoe provides an external stability shank that offers improved mobility torsion control and support even on uneven surfaces. Your ankle is also protected from irritation because of its cushioned collar. The mesh lining helps keep your feet cool even during warm weather.
This hiking shoe comes with an all-terrain rubber outsole for a high-traction grip. Its rubber outsoles do not leave any imprints or traces on the ground. Arc support and cradling of the form of your foot care provided by its internal support mechanism for perfect comfort and fit.
The Camel Crown Hiking Shoes for Men is lightweight and breathable. It is an all-season pair of shoes ideal for long-distance trekking. It can provide support to your feet when trekking, camping, walking, and mountain trekking.
This shoe is made of leather, and the inner portion is of wicking mesh, allowing inner and outer air flow to make your feet comfortable.
This shoe protects your ankles, allowing you to have comfortable hikes. It has a stretchy insole made of materials that can absorb shock. This shoe has anti-slip abilities and superb cushioning.
The Merrell Moab Adventure Lace Waterproof is made of 100% Nubuck leather, its Nubuck and mesh upper will be able to provide comfort for your feet even during challenging treks.
The Nubuck and mesh upper will be its Vibram soles and insoles provide maximum comfort and protection for your feet. The Nylon Arch Shank, on the other hand, protects the arch of your foot. The EVA midsole provides comfortable cushioning.
Many users of this hiking shoe say that it provides excellent comfort. Many also said that while it is a great hiking shoe, it can also pass as casual business shoes. Most users also say they love that this hiking shoe gives a weightless feel.
You have decided on what hiking shoes to buy. Now, it is time to purchase your hiking shoes. Make sure you know how to get the right fit. How can you ensure the right fit?
How to Avoid Getting Blisters with your New Hiking Shoes
A new pair of hiking shoes or any pair of shoes for that matter will often give you blisters on the first use. You cannot afford to get blisters while on a hike. Here are some few tips on how to avoid getting blisters with your new pair of hiking shoes:
You should always make it a point to break in your new pairs of shoes. If you don’t, it will break you in by giving you blisters. Walk a few miles with your new pair of hiking shoes before going on your actual hike.
Wear it to the grocery store or even just wear them around the house for a few minutes. This should be enough to prevent painful blisters while on your hiking trip.
Your socks will make a lot of difference. You will regret not wearing the right socks when you have painful blisters. Wearing the right socks will keep your feet comfortable and dry.
Choose socks made of wool or synthetic blends made especially for hiking. Some hikers choose to wear a sock liner in addition to their hiking socks. This can also help further prevent blisters.
Never attempt to wear cotton socks or even gym socks because they can cause blisters on your heels. These types of socks will also cause you to have sweaty feet.
It is dangerous to hike with shoes that are not properly laced. You can prevent a rolling ankle with tightly-tied lace. Loosely-tied laces will not give your hiking shoes a perfect fit and can cause you to have blisters.
Take care of your hiking shoes, and they will last long. After wearing them through dirt, water, and muck, avoid storing them in your closet until your next hike. Give your hiking shoes a good cleaning before storing them. Besides, wearing dirty and soiled hiking shoes will cause you to have blisters.
Essential Hiking Tips
Hiking is unlike walking on a paved path or a treadmill. There are many unpredictable variables involved in hiking, but, honestly, it is these variables more enjoyable and exciting.
Follow these hiking trips to ensure safe and enjoyable hiking trips:
As you gain some experience, you can move on to longer distances and more complex trails.
Monitor the weather a few hours before your hike. This will let you know what to pack and what to wear. It will also allow you to cancel your hike when the weather forecast is terrible.
After you have decided on a trail, grab a map, and check some data concerning the area. Learn about the terrain and study your route. You may also like to check for a lake, a lunch spot, a picnic area, or a fantastic view of the area.
Pack the essentials you need to ensure a safe and comfortable hike. Anything can happen while you are hiking, including provisions for a potential overnight.
While you need to be ready with your essentials, avoid overpacking. You will be carrying all the stuff you pack in your back, and you do not want to carry a heavy load while hiking.
Avoid ruining your hike with painful and blistered feet. Invest in good-quality shoes and socks. Buying expensive hiking shoes to ensure your comfort and safety, yet skimping on socks, is a terrible idea. Pack a first aid kit, too, especially a pack of blister dressing.
Pack light items. For example, this means if you need to bring sunscreen, just a travel-sized tube instead of packing what you have in your bathroom.
Once your hiking shoes and socks are settled, choose a comfortable outfit for your hike. Avoid cotton clothing as it will get damp and will not quickly dry, leaving you feeling uncomfortable.
Clothing made of synthetic materials is the best because they quickly adjust to the weather and temperature. Wear layers of clothing you can quickly shed and pack clothing you can easily add. Always make it a point to pack extra warm clothing.
Start slow on the trail and pace yourself accordingly. Pick a pace you will be comfortable with and one you can maintain throughout the hike.
You may feel awkward starting slowly, especially if you are an advanced hiker, but after a few miles, you will be happy you saved your energy.
Do your share of keeping the trail clean and beautiful. Never leave any of your garbage on the trail.
Someone must know you are on a hiking trip and where. Leave your itinerary with a friend, as well as the time you will leave and the time you are expected to be back. Anything can happen during a hiking trip; it is best. Someone knows your whereabouts, especially the time you are expected to be back.
Better yet, try to take an emergency device with you so you can call for emergency assistance when the need arises.
Follow these tips, and enjoy your hiking trip!
If you love hiking, you need to invest in a good pair of hiking shoes. Whether you go day-hiking or on multi-hiking trips, a good pair of hiking shoes will protect your feet from the elements and make you comfortable, as well. Choose the right pair of hiking shoes for enjoyable hiking trips
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