If you're out for a day around the camp, park or backcountry, a reliable pair of hiking shoes could be all that you need for a short excursion, provided that you find the right fit, comfort and support. Altrec.com offers an extensive selection of quality technical light hiking shoes with the right weight, last, width and profile to fit most adventure needs. Select below to view our complete selection:
Lighter Than Most Boots
Initially dismissed among the established old guard of backpackers, light hiking shoes continue to gain favor among discriminating outdoor enthusiasts, provided that the shoe fits the proper application. Hiking shoes come in a range of designs for varying terrains, but almost all models are ideally suited for lumbar packs and lightweight backpacks. If you're doing a multi-day trip through the mountain ranges of Alaska, California, Colorado or Canada, go with a heavy backpacking boot that cushions and protects your feet for days on the trail, especially if you plan on mixing your hiking with climbing and mountaineering. Hiking shoes are ideal for short day trips or camping in the slightly structured confines of a campground.
Match Uppers to the Season and Weather
If you're doing light day hiking or camping trips around the Hoh Rainforest in Western Washington, a hiking shoe with a waterproof upper is an essential component. If you're plodding across desert trails in the Southwest, a breathable shoe with plenty of perforated holes and Airmesh is a must-have in warm, dry conditions. Heavy backpacking and climbing boots often rely on waterproof Nubuck or Gore-Tex to enhance weather protection, but lightweight hiking shoes often cost half the price of their backpacking counterparts. This means it could be cost effective to buy two shoes to meet the climatic changes through multiple seasons. Keep in mind that some cheap hiking shoes use inexpensive fabric panels that won't transfer interior heat and vapor as mud and dust penetrate the vent holes. Opt for tighter quality weaves or consider multi-layer vent panels that resist wear and clogging. You'll find that many new and established shoe designs situate vent panels away from wear and abrasion regions to prolong the performance of the shoe.
Stiff Shanks for Rough, Uneven Terrain
One of the biggest criticisms associated with new lightweight hiking shoes is the missing or flexible shank. Shanks are stiff support platforms buried beneath the cushion of the midsole. Full-length shanks are ideal for uneven terrain because the design gives you a steady platform even if you're dealing with a toehold balance in rough rock. While steel is the overall favorite shank material for climbing, backpacking and mountaineering, many lightweight hiking shoes incorporate a partial steel shank with nylon, thermoplastic and polyethylene to save ounces. If you're hiking light on smooth surfaces with little undulation, shanks won't be a concern, but anyone hiking on rough, uneven rock will find essential stability in a stiff, full-length shank design, even if it means adding a few extra ounces.
Narrow Welts Save Weight
Hiking shoes based on lightweight athletic shoe designs often neglect welts or whittle away these raised protective areas along the side of the shoe to save weight. If you hike on rolling terrain, burly shoe welts can protect your feet from unseen and unexpected immovable obstructions in your path, but they add extra ounces. A few lightweight climbing and ascent shoes utilize sticky rubber welts along the sides of their designs, but these inserts are intended for edging on smooth rock, not for protecting your feet.
Versatile Soles for Varied Adventures
Lightweight hiking and performance ascent shoes feature a variety of lug sole patterns, although very few designs feature the protruding heel found on heavy backpacking and climbing boots. The key advantage most hiking shoes have over standard backpacking shoes is the extra weight savings, which could translate to less fatigue miles down the trail. Consider your application and anticipated weather before you make your purchase. Generally consider a deeper lug sole for wet or rugged terrain, and less pronounced lugs for hard and smooth rock surfaces.
Are you ready to shop for the best? You'll find top light hiking shoes from Adidas, Nike ACG, The North Face and La Sportiva N.A., but don't miss out on any potential special discounts in our Clearance section.
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