Your hiking shoes are the most important piece of backpacking equipment. A poor pair of shoes can make an otherwise great backpacking trip completely miserable. A good pair of hiking shoes helps prevent blisters, gives foot and ankle support, helps prevent knee pain and keeps the most valuable tool for a hike (your feet) comfortable.
Here are a few FAQs and answers that will hopefully help you select some shoes for your next backpacking trip.
Do I need to purchase new shoes?
While having shoes that are already broken in is ideal, backpacking shoes that are lacking good tread, cushion and support would make a better rear view mirror accessory. Also, consider the age of your shoes. I once had a guest on one of my backpacking trips that I led through the Grand Canyon who had shoes that were rarely worn, but broken in. The problem? They were so old that the glue holding the soles on the shoes was old and worn out. Let’s just say duct tape is an amazing invention!
Should I get leather or synthetic?
This depends on where you are hiking. Synthetic shoes that can breath and are light are best for warm/hot weather hiking – such as a Grand Canyon backpacking trip April through October. Full leather boots are best for your cold weather/snowy hikes.