There are three major types of hiking boots with which most hikers are intimately familiar. Outwardly, they sometimes look strikingly similar, but it is the reinforcement in certain areas of the boot that cradles the foot and makes all the difference in the world. Whether you are anticipating a hike far off the beaten path and into the untouched wilderness, plan on exploring local trails for the better part of a backpacking trip or simply plan a leisurely hike over some well-manicured trails, there is a type of hiking boot that is specifically made for your plans.
On- and Off-Trail Hiking Boots
Choose on- and off-trail hiking boots when you anticipate a hike across uneven terrain. An example of these heavy-duty hiking boots is the Timberland Chochorua Trail brand. These boots are waterproof yet feature a breathable material for ventilation. The toecap is enforced, and the rubberized outer sole offers a better grip on varying terrains. Do not use on- and off-trail hiking boots for a casual jaunt, because they are stiff and weighty. This is the kind of shoe you would pick for a day hike that could land you anywhere but on a well-manicured trail.
All-Day Walking and Hiking Boots
Pick all-day walking and hiking boots if you anticipate hiking trails and the occasional rough spot. They are perfect for all-day hikes in controlled environments and feature a heightened ankle cut for support and often a slightly reinforced toe area. A great example for all day walking and hiking boots are the Merrell Moab Mid GORE-TEX XCR hiking boots. The foot bed is anatomically correct, so it is a good idea to invest in a gender-specific hiking boot for this kind of use.
All-Day Light-Hiking and Casual-Walking Boots
Do not mistake this type of hiking boots for average sports footwear. Hiking boots made for all-day light hiking and casual walking are specifically geared for the hiker who will stay on the trails and is unlikely to encounter any rough terrain. Although they're generally not waterproof, they do feature a protruding tongue that keeps debris and some water out of the inside of the boots. An example of these light hiking boots is the Garmont Eclipse III XCR brand. At a glance, they could be easily mistaken for a high-end running shoe.
Article Written By Sylvia Cochran
Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.