All About Hiking Boots – How to Choose and Repair them?
Cinderella is the proof that a perfect pair of shoes can change your life. Now, we know that real life isn’t a fairy tale and glass stilettos are impractical but the shoe concept still stands true, especially when you go hiking and trekking. So we hope that this will help you shoo away your shoe issues!
TYPES OF SHOES (FOR HIKING/TREKKING)
A) HIKING SHOES
These are the pretty much distant cousin of your regular trail running shoes. They are light and flexible but have a low cut. Hence they don’t provide the much-needed ankle support.
Opt for these shoes if your trek is plotted across flat dry lands and if you aren’t supposed to carry your own heavy backpacks.
B) HIKING BOOTS
These are an amateur version of expedition boots. They have soles stiffer than hiking shoes and provide substantial stability and support to the feet. They have mid cuts meaning they lock your ankles in a grip preventing those unwanted slips and twists. Most importantly you’ll need time to break into these not-so-light shoes. Meaning you’ll have to learn to get used to walking in these shoes.
Opt for these shoes if you are going on an easy to moderate level trek. These are great especially if you have to trek while carrying your own backpacks. Prefer the water-resistant variety to keep you dry in case of puddles and snow. If you are a beginner, these shoes are your match mate.
C) EXPEDITION BOOTS
These are the ‘macho’ boots designed for hardcore trekking. They have stiff soles and pretty solid and durable. They have high cuts and hence provide rock solid ankle support, way better than hiking boots. Basically, from material to the structure, everything spells ‘sturdy’ in these boots. You’ll definitely need to ‘break in’ these shoes before you leave for your trip. Mind you these shoes are heavy, you’ll literally feel the weight of the shoes on your feet.
Opt for these if your trek is a difficult and a long one and involves arduous crossings, hefty climbing or any other adrenaline fuelled inhuman conditions. And yes, they are pretty expensive, so you want to be absolutely sure before you buy these.
POINTS TO REMEMBER WHILE CHOOSING THE SHOES
» Your size(of course!)
Ask the staff at the shop to measure your foot (length and breadth, both) and help you find the perfect size. It’s absolutely imperative that you find the perfect size. Ill-fitting shoes are synonymous to disaster in hiking trips. If you cant find the right size, try looking up some other brands.
Once you find your size, wear the shoes and walk around the shop and on different surfaces for at least 15 minutes. This will help you analyse if there is any unwanted point of friction between your shoe and your feet or if your toe is banging or if your feet are slipping inside shoes. If any of these happens, means you are wearing the wrong size. Remember too tight means blisters, too loose means poor support and stability. So find the perfect size!
Carry along the socks you will be wearing on your trek. They help you determine the size of the shoe too! For example, if it’s a winter trek, you’ll be wearing thicks/multiple socks hence you might need bigger shoe size.
» The type of your trek
Like I mentioned above, the terrain you’ll be walking in and factors such as snow, rains, rocks and overall difficulty level will together determine what shoes will work best for you.
» Breaking in your shoes
This means you have to learn to walk in these shoes (not kidding!). with your ankle fixed in a grip, these shoes make it difficult to walk, initially. So preferable buy the shoes 3 to 4 weeks prior to your trip and start walking in them. If you have to walk with the backpack, try practising with a loaded backpack as well. All this will help you acclimatize to your new shoes.
HOW TO REPAIR YOUR BOOTS
First and foremost let me tell you prevention and better than a cure. So try to take care of your foot buddies! Wash them and clean them once you are back from your trek, however cumbersome it may sound, to make sure they live a long life! Here are some hacks that might save you in case you face some last minutes dismays!
Χ Hole in Sole?
Clean the area and use FeviBond or any waterproof synthetic glue and fill the hole and seal it with a duct tape. This only work for tiny holes or cracks. If your sole is severely delaminated get a new one, sole or shoe, whatever works for you!
Χ Cracked leather?
Again if it’s a last moment disaster seal it with synthetic leather glue and duct tape. Otherwise getting it repatched and stitched is the best option.
Χ Toe cap torn or peeled off?
Temporary fix again is the synthetic glue. If too severely damaged get new toe caps fixed.
Χ Torn shoe mesh?
If it happens on the trek cover it up with a tiny patch of plastic or cloth (whatever is available). Once back get it replaced and repatched.
Well, we truly hope that now you’ll be able to find your perfect pair. But in case you still are unsure what shoes to buy or how to fix them let us know in comments and we’ll definitely help you!