With the urban world engulfing the life of most people, hiking provides a great distraction from the hustle and bustle of the city. When you are on a trail, you become one with nature and enjoy all of its beauty in its truest form. But in spite of all its advantages, a hike also comes with its own challenges. On my first hike, I found moving through bumpy trails a major annoyance, and I was left with terribly achey feet after I got back. It wasn’t until I found the right hiking boots that I started feeling comfortable on my hikes.

The decision of which boots to buy before heading out on a trail relies in large part on the personal preferences of the hiker. Whether you are a backpacker or a climber, you need to find boots that aid your hiking experience. Each discipline has its own needs, and to fulfill them you require boots that are designed for your type of challenge. I enjoy all types of adventures and have an assortment of boots that cater to the different challenges of the wild.

Lightweight Boots

Lightweight Hiking Boots are ideal for pre-defined trails. If you frequent places with gentle sloping hills and low-impact hiking terrain, lighter boots yield the best results. Made in a combination of leather and synthetic materials, these boots are breathable and come armed with flexible soles for comfortable movement. If you carry heavy backpacks, you should not wear these shoes, even on low-impact hikes, as the added weight can be too much for these shoes to handle.

Backpacking Boots

For people who like to carry heavy backpacks or hike on uneven terrain and moderate inclines, backpacking boots work best. With cushioning that has a soothing effect on the feet, these shoes make your journey pleasurable without being too heavy to walk with. Ankle support helps you to carry additional weight in your backpack, and maintain better body balance. These shoes require a certain amount of wearing-in time before they are ready for longer hikes. Wear them on shorter hikes or at home for a few days, so that you get comfortable before wearing them on longer hikes.

Mountaineering Boots

Heavyweight hiking boots work best for me as I am an avid mountaineer. Though these boots have additional weight, they make up for it by providing you with immense comfort on higher inclines and uneven terrains. Mountaineering boots come with a thick and stiff sole which is designed for the rough terrain.

Waterproof hiking Boots vs. Fast Draining Boots

The choice between waterproof hiking boots and fast draining boots is a heated topic of discussion amongst hikers. Waterproof boots come with a membrane, like Gore-Tex, which allows a person to wade through water without wetting their feet. However, these boots only work when the water level is below the ankle cuff. Moreover, these boots are generally heavier than a regular boot. You need to make a choice based on your needs before opting for a regular fast draining lightweight boot or heavier waterproof boot. I like to move fast and complete my hike in the shortest span of time, so I more often than not stick to regular boots.

I do have a pair of waterproof hiking boots in my shoe cabinet that I use sporadically for shorter hikes with a lot of water bodies on the trail route. It all comes down to the preference of the hiker. If you do not like the feeling of wetness in your feet, you should select waterproof boots, or else follow in my footsteps… literally.