This weeks Good to Know topic is a very hot topic every since the Ultra Light backpacking fad started. It causes many arguements in hiking and backpacking forums, and is one of the most important pieces of information you can have before heading out on the trail.
I cringe every day when browsing through the forums, and see long time experienced backpackers telling brand new hikers and backpackers they don't need boot, and suggest trail runners. This could be dangerous!
So let's get started!
Hiking footwear is really a personal choice, and people often have differing opinions on what type of shoe works best for hiking. Here are some things to know that can help you decide which style will work best for you.
Boots provide more ankle support, stability, and water protection than hiking shoes or trail runners, and they’re the more practical choice for off-trail adventures. They’re usually more durable than other types of footwear and will last around 1,600 trail kms or so. When boots are laced properly, they will hold your feet to the back of the boot, not allowing your toes to slam into the toe box of the boot on the descents which helps keep your toe nails from falling off. Many hiking boots are waterproof and can make hiking in the rain more comfortable, but they become heavy and dry slowly if they do get wet. Boots are also the heaviest hiking footwear choice, so you’ll expend more energy with each step. If boots are your thing, it’s worth it to splurge on a high-quality, lightweight pair.
Hiking shoes are a good balance between support, weight savings, water protection, and durability. You may love hiking shoes if you like the durability offered by hiking boots and still want waterproof footwear, but you prefer something lighter and you aren’t concerned with ankle support. For example, waterproof hiking shoes are a great choice for day hikes or walks around town in soggy spring or fall weather. Typically, hiking shoes will last around 1200 trail kms before needing to be replaced. Many hiking shoes are waterproof and work well in light rain, but they won’t keep your feet quite as dry as a high collar boot will. Hiking shoes don’t provide the ankle support that many like from boots or the extra weight-savings and breathability of non-waterproof trail runners, but they’re a good middle ground.
Trail Running Shoes
Trail runners are great for those who prioritize comfort and weight-savings when choosing trail footwear. Among long-distance hikers and thru hikers, trail running shoes tend to be the most popular choice. Trail running shoes are lightweight and breathable, so it’s easier to manage moisture and avoid blisters. The most popular models are non-waterproof for breathability, but they dry fairly quickly once getting wet. Trail runners do tend to be less durable than most hiking shoes and boots. Generally speaking, trail runners will last for around 650 trail kms before needing to be replaced.
Niagara Adventure Club's Opinion
For safety reasons and more, Niagara Adventure Club always recommends 3/4 height goretex hiking boots on most of our hikes. The boots offer much better protection against the environment and much better protection for your feet and ankles, not too mention, keeping your feet to the back of the boot on decents so your toe nails don't fall off. Know your terrain, choose the appropriate footwear. When you don't know the terrain, or what is suitable, consult a professional first! Your feet are your only mode of transportation in the back country, so protect them!
This article is a derivative of the article origionally posted on The Clever Hiker Author - Casey Handley Edited - Lenny Burch (Niagara Adventure Club)
(Sunday, September 13, 2020)
It's Sunday and time for Adventure Weekly Volume 15. I was fallng behind on the galleries. So this week, I had spent a few hours choosing and editing photos. It's never easy trying to choose just 2 or 3 photos from each event, all of them are so great, but it's done. I have posted 95 new photos to the 2020 Gallery. Take a look, see if you made the cut! I spent a while on Google, trying to find somewhere to do a Halloween Evening hike. After much searching I found quite a few awesome spots, unfortunately most of them included tresspassing. So, I have decided to do a short, 7km hike here in Niagara Falls. We will visit the Screaming Tunnel. Not just once, but twice. We will pass through at dusk, and then again in the dark. In between, we will hike to a historic cemetery. Do you have the guts to walk through one of Canada's most haunted places in the dead of the night? If you think you have a better idea for a Halloween Evening hike, Click here and tell me where you want to hike! That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club