How to choose a good walking shoes

Every year, thousands of climbers have a common dilemma, how to choose a good walking shoes? . In many cases, boots are bought for small tours or even for the Camino de Santiago, but the question is always the same for a simple reason, the boots are not particularly cheap. Today we give you a few tips for your ideal mountain boots.

How to choose a good hiking boots

choose a good hiking boots


Sometimes when I look at walking shoes I meet nice people trying to find boots, leaving the comfort as a second option or the smooth finish of the boot (My girlfriend, for example often makes mistake when choosing a best walking shoes for women by the look). The design may play an important role in clothing, but in the mountains it must be put aside and should be as comfortable and convenient as possible. Ideally, test and test until you find your perfect boot. Once, twice, three times or more if you need, but never choose walking shoes on the first try.

With this initial advice, I encourage you to continue reading so you can find some good hiking boots up to your expectations, primarily for use in spring, summer and fall. We’ve divided into sections to our view that we think are the most important, starting with the exterior.

Exterior protection


Exterior protection

It is the fastest of any boot so find out  what must rely. For example check that reinforced seams come as double seam. This must have good looks and if it comes with rubber on the toe or heel, check that this is not stuck with super glue because sometimes glue is … a bad sign. It would not be the first time that I take off from the protections of a boot which can be happened with the best walking shoes for men.

Many models have a tape on the back to move the cord and offer extra support. Personally I have hardly used it. It is also used to put the boot on more easily.

Also take boots with reinforced rubber toe or even with the entire bottom of the boot. This not only combats chafing but also gives additional protection against water. This type of boots usually has a higher price and usually is higher quality boots. But this sometimes increases the weight of the boot …

The type of sole is paramount

One of the key factors when choosing a good walking shoes are the sole. It must meet three basic factors: endurance, grip and comfort. If this rules are not met, the boot will give us many problems.

  • Vibram: is the reference in the market and probably the best sole that you can find. As an independent patent brand boots, they have increased in price. It is our favorite and most used sole by shoemakers. However in some shoes I have noticed that in tough, wet soils, the attachment is not desired for. Ideally, the boots have deeper studs for added grip.
  • Omni-Grip: Columbia used by the brand’ sole to lower their boots. Personally I have not used this.
  • Contagrip: sole used by Salomon and Adidas. The truth is that it works well, but for my taste it is a little hard, but very strong.
  • Continental: mainly used in footwear for primarily trail and as you may have imagined, the material is rubber tires. There is hardly boots that make use of this sole.

With the different soles we find different hardnesses. Soft, semi-hard and rigid. The latter is used in winter, usually the two previous are used in summer . I personally use the semi-hard, and that eventually tends to sag and practice is much safer with them than soft soles. If you do not usually walk up the mountain, use soft sole that is most common in summer and autumn.

By the way, the soles of the boots can be changed. So if the sole wore out but outside the boot is new, go to your favorite store boots and ask to change the sole.

The inside of the boot

The inside of the boot


Each model of boot / manufacturer is different from each other, so I eye on Internet purchases. Knowing the number is not enough since the mold of your foot plays a key role. Not all feet are the same width, so boots should always be tried on before buying. There are manufacturers who make boots for wide feet and another for narrower feet. Everything depends on the model so we have no choice but to try and test.
Another thing to evaluate is the type of template which is used. Each manufacturer of hiking boots design their own template and some even against the appearance of fungi, odors, etc., but an important factor is that this mold to the shape of our feet and is not rigid.


The differences between winter and summer walking shoes

First of all, remark that both winter walking shoes and summer walking shoes come in various types, mainly because of the leather or plastic which they are made from. We are just going to highlight the differences with leather walking shoes between summer boots and winter boots, since the latter are not made of plastic and paper which is more focused on summer boots.

When choosing and buying winter walking shoes or summer walking shoes, we must note the following differences:

hiking shoes

1) Hardness of the boot:

There are mainly 3 types,

  • The soft walking shoes come to be the most common in summer boots
  • The semi-rigid boots are used both in winter and summer
  • The rigid walking shoes are used only as winter boots. As its name indicates, a rigid boot is much more stronger that the previous two. It provides more climbing steep slopes and avoids slipping. Imagine that you are climbing a slope of 50% with crampons and that these are bent as you are wearing a soft boots …. a disaster.

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Gadgets and equipments to prevent uncomfortable walking shoes

Water is your worst enemy

An indispensable element in all walking shoes is the membrane that prevents our feet from being wet and encourage transpire as much as possible. The latter is more complicated, as socks play a key role in perspiration.

Such membranes have achieved an excellent impermeability. And how can we get repel water and in turn drive our humidity? Well, if we could have a microscope for one of these membranes, we would see that they have very small pores, so small that a drop of water is not able to go through them but at the same time so large that water vapor generated by your body can get out.


Many shoe manufacturers make their own membrane with the aim of reducing the price of their boots. The problem is that their resources are not exclusively for waterproof and breathable membranes, so the end result is not as good as the companies expected to.

Within the type of membranes, we have a good group to choose from:

  • Gore-Tex: The most used and recommended. However the boots with this membrane pay for its use, which will be reflected in the price I boot. It is the favorite and most used membrane by shoemakers
  • OutDry®: Italian origin membrane purchased by Columbia Mountain Hardwear in order to replace Gore-Tex in the footwear. This membrane was made  by the famous winning team in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008, but personally Columbia and great brands conglomerate marks a step below when compared to the rest.
  • Dri-Tec: Hi-Tec used, usually of low quality.
  • Dry-Line: used by Boreal.
  • M Select Dry: used by Merrell to cut costs for Gore-tex.

Thermal insulation or not

The great dilemma of cold feet for a summer boot is no problem. This is used mainly in winter boots, because in the summer we can use socks that meet this requirement.

What kind of socks to use?

They come in many types and prices of course but at first glance we all look the same. Ideally, look for socks with as few seams as possible to avoid possible friction and blisters. Later if the toe and heel are reinforced and padded, this will improve comfort, but check beforehand that they are highly breathable.

To the intense cold, it is good to opt for fashionable PrimaLoft socks. A synthetic fabric that comes close to the heat that give feathers, but with the advantage that has its price and ease of maintenance. It is also possible to find Polartec and Primaloft socks but the latter is only recommended on very cold days.

The happy blisters


There are products that act as “second” skin to help heal the blister and do not continue rubbing against the shoe. One example is Compeed which is known worldwide for new women shoes heels.
For MacGyver we will always have the old trick of pin and thread. Simply through the blister, leaving a thread from beginning to end in order to drain. Once it dry we can easily remove the thread.

Tips to choose the right types of walking shoes

The right walking shoes, the right size, and the proper cushioning system provide the necessary support for the activity you are going to perform, and also can prevent stress injuries. There are several brands and styles of shoes which are available in the market. It is only a matter of making the right choice according to your needs for very specific use and body frame. Remember that the ideal shoe for one person is not necessarily the ideal shoe for you.

Before buying your shoes, you should do a little research. Usually the best places to go are specialty shops, there you can find a variety of shoes and receive necessary advice to choose the shoe that best fits the type of activity you are going to do or plan to carry assistance. But sometimes stores or large chains do not have adequate staff to give a true and reliable advice, so you have to prepare for yourself.

The weight and size of the shoes is directly proportional to the charge that they are to receive. That is, for faster and shorter the distance which you will walk or run, you need a lighter shoe. And the opposite is when you are walking many hours, for days, with heavy backpack, which you will need a boot with good tread, excellent support, high stability, and strong. Shoes for activities “outdoors” can be divided into these basic categories:

  1. Trail walking shoes: Walking shoes on trails or dirt roads. Some forms or variants of the sport are the cross country march and adventure racing. These shoes are focused on the lightweight, flexibility, comfort, breathability, and grip of the sole.
  2. Light hiking shoes: These shoes or boots are designed for walking trails or dirt roads and irregular presence of natural obstacles. These shoes or boots are focused on the lightweight, flexibility, comfort, breathability, grip sole, and durability.
  3. Hiking shoes for quite heavy backpacking: These boots are designed for use inside and outside the paths leading light to moderate loads. They have better support and focus much more on the strength and durability than the previous light hiking shoes.
  4. Walking shoes for extended backpacking and mountaineering: These boots are designed for use inside and outside trails, and expeditions of several days with moderate to heavy loads. They are very durable, provide great support, high protection for the foot and heel. Many of those shoes are rigid enough to be used with crampons for ice and snow crossings.