Men's Grey Merrell Shoes Hiking Boots

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A couple of decades ago it was enough to find a reliable hiking boot that you could break in after several painful weeks on the trail. Today hiking and climbing boots come in a variety of men's and women's lasts (lasts are the foot shape that boots and shoes are constructed around) so your chances of finding a great-fitting boot are much better than they have ever been. Remember that European-sized boots often run slightly narrower than American sizing, so pay attention to the details if foot width is a factor. If you hike in and around mountains and hills in Alaska, Washington, California, Colorado or Western Canada, allow your toes plenty of room for those long ground-pounding sessions on extended downhill descents beneath a heavy pack.

In many cases heavy hiking boots are exactly what you need for extended day hiking, backpacking and traditional summer alpine climbing, especially if you intend to do all three without splurging on three separate pairs for each activity. Support is the key factor, but durability and versatility are also important for big backpacking trips (like hut-to-hut hiking in Switzerland or other places in Europe) or covering long distances on unfamiliar trails. Like most athletic footwear, you'll usually pay more for a hiking boot that weighs less than other designs with similar features, but it's important to consider the following characteristics before basing your final purchase decisions on mere ounces.

Many of the best-designed contemporary hiking and backpacking boots use Nubuck or other full-grain leather material backed with a waterproof and breathable laminate like Gore-Tex. This waterproof protection is essential on multi-day trips in questionable weather or during the spring and summer months when high alpine snowmelt transforms steep trails into slick and muddy drainage channels. Some backpacking boots use open panels with waterproof fabrics along the upper, but keep in mind that these less durable fabric panels often lose their important vapor transfer properties as mud and dust accumulate on the boot throughout your journey. If you're strictly a fair-weather, desert-type trekker, you can save some money opting for a backpacking boot with a waterproof leather upper instead of a waterproof and breathable membrane. One final important consideration about the upper: Even if the manufacturer states that the upper consists of waterproof leather, the seams can compromise the watertight performance, especially if you plan on wearing your boots for a decade or two. Merrell hiking shoes are considered the SUV's of footwear and will last for several years before breaking down. Nike shoes, including most of the options you see in our selection, would be an excellent hiking boot for anyone that demands performance in the most extreme conditions.

If your outdoor adventures revolve around short duration day hikes across predominately smooth terrain, a light, athletic-styled hiking shoe may balance your backcountry interests better than classic hiking boots. Some fast-moving minimalists opt for trail running shoes, but keep in mind that many low-slung light shoes leave ankles exposed, a factor that can contribute to rolled ankles and other injuries, especially if you add any moderate pack weight to your upper body. Popular brands for men and women include The North Face, Nike, and Montrail. Use the links above to begin your search, or call cusomter service at 1-800-369-3949 for help in selecting the best shoe for your needs.

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