At the start of the hiking season, many hikers will be looking to renew their hiking footwear. There are many varieties available, each designed for different types of users. If you are looking to start hiking for the first time, here is our guide to choosing hiking footwear suitable for your needs.
Where will you be hiking?
When choosing the right hiking footwear, you first need to decide where you will be hiking, as the type of terrain will influence what is suitable. Will you be hiking over flat ground on good paths? Or will you be on steep gradients in the mountains? Knowing this will allow you to choose hiking footwear with features suited to the terrain. Within the Quechua range, you will find the Arpenaz range, which is designed for hikes in the valleys, whilst the Forclaz range is designed for steeper gradients. On flatter hikes, footwear with a lower profile such as the Quechua Arpenaz 100 Novadry will be suitable for your needs. However, if you’re taking on the mountains, hiking footwear with more ankle support such as the Quechua Forclaz 100 Novadry will be more suitable, giving you more stability when tackling steep hillsides.
The steeper the gradient, the more support you will need from your hiking footwear.
How long will you be hiking for?
Once you have decided where you will be hiking, the next question to ask yourself to help choose the right hiking footwear is how long will you be hiking for? If you’re planning a full day’s hiking, footwear with more cushioning will ensure that you are comfortable for the duration. Whilst there are many forms of cushioning, EVA and PU cushioning are the most common. The Quechua Forclaz 500 will provide an excellent amount of comfort for longer hikes, thanks to the EVA cushioning along the entire footbed alongside a technical EVA insole which is fitted inside. The Forclaz 500 also comes in two models: a shoe for flatter hikes and a boot for steeper mountain hikes, making it a great choice for many hikers.
Rain or no rain?
The next question to answer to find the right hiking footwear for you is will you need waterproofing? Will you be hiking come rain or shine, or only on days when the weather is good? If you are hiking for a full day, the chances of encountering wet weather will be higher, where as if you will only be hiking for a few hours you can get away with footwear without waterproofing. For many people hiking in Southeast Asia, the best choice will be waterproof footwear no matter what type of hiking they are undertaking. When looking for waterproof hiking footwear, the models which utilise membrane technology represents the best option. All of the waterproof models within the Quechua range use Novadry membranes which keep water out whilst still allowing your feet to breathe, therefore keeping your feet dry and comfortable.
There are a number of additional features you can look for when choosing your hiking footwear, such as ball bearing laces to ensure the boot is firmly secure around the foot. Another feature is self-cleaning lugs on the sole of the boots, which are designed to push mud away from the sole, therefore ensuring you have maximum grip at all times. A leather boot will be very durable and therefore long-lasting due to the natural robustness of leather, and will also have increased waterproofing again due to the natural properties contained within the leather.
The most important questions to answer when choosing your hiking footwear is to decide where you will be hiking, how long you will be hiking for and whether you require waterproofing, and then choose accordingly. Good hiking footwear will be hard-wearing, comfortable and suitable for the type of hiking you will be undertaking.
The Quechua Mountain Sports range is available exclusively at Decathlon.
This article has been reproduced and adapted from Decathlon UK’s blog.