Picking our hiking shoes
Switzerland has a lot of hiking trails for the whole family and many of us like planning family hiking trips in Atzmaennig or other hiking parks. The right hiking equipment is something we should all look for. Picking the right pair of hiking shoes is very important for everyone who likes hiking. Shoes make all the difference. A bad choice can be an expensive, or result in heavy pair that will tire us, or it may slip, or it hurt our heels and toes. So let's find out some tips to help make the right choice!
Choose based on material and fit
Fortunately or unfortunately we rarely find hiking shoes in the color we want. Hiking shoes must be seen as a tool, and they match everything! So color shouldn’t matter to us that much. It is also good to pay attention to the materials that our shoes are made of more than the brand name because it is important that it offers us protection and comfort.
Choosing the right size is of paramount importance
A very good method is to measure our foot in centimeters or inches, at the farthest distance (usually this is from the big toe to the middle of the heel and in some cases the second toe if it is taller). If we have difficulty we can draw our footprint on a white piece of paper, and measure the longest distance from the footprint. Attention! Make sure to clip your nails before this exercise! This distance translates into a number close but different for each company. Of course, we will add 2/3 or 1 extra shoe size for the sock and for the widening of the leg. The shoe should not hit our toenails downhill, nor should the heel lift up from the floor of the shoe. Another practical way to choose the right size is to rest the toe on the front of the shoe while wearing it with the right sock and to try and fit the index finger between the heel and the shoe.
The choice of the type of shoe. All good hiking shoe companies have shoe stratification in more than two categories. The most common categories are hiking, backpacking, approach, climbing, alpine and mountain running:
This is a category of hiking shoes for relatively easy routes routes and when traveling with a light backpack. Suitable excursions for this category of hiking shoes are the Rosenwald adventure trail where the whole family can enjoy nature while learning about the UNESCO Tectonic Arena Sardona and have an adventure by visiting Ämpächli in Elm in search of the legendary giants. The Globi's Treasure Hunt hiking adventure is also a great one day hiking trail for a family get away. The advantages of hiking shoes are that they are light, orthopedic shoes that we can trust to do our hiking safely and comfortably. In Switzerland they cover a fair amount of the hike trails due to soil morphology and distances. It's an all-round hiking shoe.
This is a category of hiking shoes for more demanding routes and is ideal for a loaded backpack. We prefer them in crossings, in soils with many rock alterations, when we are "loaded" with a backpack for more than a day. The advantages are a tougher sole, anti-vibration sole, more sturdy to support the additional weight we carry.
This category of approach shoe is ideal for approaching paths with a rocky terrain, gorges, caves, and wet levels. They are gaining more and more ground in the world market, for two reasons: They are very light and easy to use, plus their sole is the most non-slip. Be careful in choosing the right size because due to their narrow mold you’ll need a larger size than usual.
This is a category of climbing shoes only aimed for rock climbers.
This is a category of shoes with high requirements and are suitable for use in winter mountains, including ice climbing, crampon climbing, or long hours of use in winter conditions. These are semi-rigid or rigid shoes, hard and very durable. They are addressed to hikers that enjoy hiking in snow like many of us do in Switzerland. Allmendhubel for example with the flower trail at 1907 meters is a great place for this category.
This category has recently become fashionable, mountain running shoes. If we want to compare it to something, it is the dirt tires in our car. Quality orthopedic shoes that "bite" the soil. Lightweight and safe - they become one with the foot.
Finally, it is good to know what kind of climbing we want to experience before we choose the relative hiking shoes. The right shoes are the foundation for our feet, and will define how much we will enjoy the route, because hiking is a pleasure when we have the right equipment.
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