October 20, 2013

Be Kind To Your Feet

Whether you’re hiking 5 or 15 miles, your feet are the most important body part in getting you to your destination. Having the proper footwear, sock liners, and socks are essential so that your feet will outlast the hike. While there are many great brands on the market, I’m sharing my favorites.   Please note that I haven't been paid by any of these companies to market or recommend their products.   

Since I frequently hike two days in a row, I like to alternate between footwear so I own two pair of hiking boots, one pair of hiking shoes, and one pair of sandals.  The decision on what to wear is based on length and terrain of the trail.  

The Vasque Breeze 2.0 Mid GTX Hiking boots for Women.  I like these boots because they are higher on the ankle, offering great support when hiking on rough and rocky terrain.  Here is what Vasque has to say about their boots:  "This durable women's hiker features a waterproof nubuck and air mesh nylon upper with a protective TPU plate; the GORE-TEX® waterproof membrane ensures protection from the elements. The Arc Tempo Last provides powerful toe-off and enhances agility over technical terrain. The dual-density EVA footbed and molded EVA midsole absorb shock and lend support. The Vibram® Contact outsole  grips into the terrain with aggressive high-traction lugs for added stability."  

The Keen Gypsum Mid Hiking Boot for Women.  These boots are also waterproof and offer great toe protection which is important on long hikes as your feet and toes tend to expand.   Here is what Keen has to say about their boots:"Follow the trail farther afield in the Gypsum Mid, an all-terrain boot built with the technology to take you there. Featuring a wide, 4mm lugged outsole, a KEEN.Zorb strobel and KEEN.DRY waterproof breathable membrane, the Gypsum Mid delivers the stability, comfort, and moisture management needed for overnight hikes and winter ascents."

LET'S MAKE SURE WE'VE LACED OUR BOOTS PROPERLY.  Here is a video from hikinglady.com that will surely save you a toenail or help prevent heel blisters.

I also own a pair of Salomon Ellipse Aero hiking shoes.  According to Salomon, the shoe offers “athletically inspired details and specific fit to make this lightweight hiking shoe ideal for women who like to move quickly in the mountains." 

For stream crossings, short hikes, and driving to and from hikes, I own a pair of Keen Newport sandals.  They are waterproof, have good tread, arch support, and protect your feet and toes on rocky stream crossings.  According to Keen, the Newport is the foundation of the Keen footwear line. Designed to perform in the adverse conditions of a marine environment, the razor sipped outsole and 3mm lugs provides excellent traction both on land and on the slick surfaces of boat decks or river rocks." 

If you only own one pair of them, I highly recommend the Injinji Coolmax Toe Sock Liners. These sock liners are one of the best ways to prevent blisters when worn underneath a hiking sock.  Each toe is seamless so there is no chance of rubbing and they also wick to ensure your feet stay dry in your boots or shoes.  According to Injinji, "the LINER toesock is extremely thin and intended to be worn as a base layer sock paired with your favorite outer layer.  Your feet don’t need to be running or hiking to deserve the best sock treatment. "

There are many brands of hiking socks, but I love the SmartWool Cushion Hiking socks.  They wick moisture away from your feet, are very durable, and fit well.  They are also soft and comfortable, and unlike other wool hiking socks, they aren’t scratchy! 

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!   Please share your favorite brand of hiking boot by commenting below.  The next time you head out on the trail, make sure you are kind to your feet so you can "Keep On Hiking".

(Photograph courtesy of Patricia McAlpin.)

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