Looking for the perfect footwear for your next outdoor adventure? It’s important to find a balance between comfort and protection. You also may want them to look stylish too.
Luckily, there is a huge variety of outdoor shoes on the market. There are options for every lifestyle and activity. There are also choices designed for every level of support needed.
The most important thing when choosing outdoor shoes is comfort. You’ll likely be spending a lot of time in your footwear and you don’t want discomfort to ruin your adventures. Here are some tips on choosing the most comfortable outdoor shoes.
Bring Your Accessories
Comfort is king when it comes to outdoor footwear and so should be everything on your
hiking list. You want to make sure your shoes are perfectly chosen for the various outdoor activities you engage in. You also want to make sure they work well with the rest of your footwear accessories and equipment.
It’s important to consider your typical sock wearing habits when shopping for outdoor shoes. Wearing unfamiliar socks can make shoes immediately feel uncomfortable. Make sure to bring along socks that your feet are used to so you can properly gauge the comfort of the shoe.
Think about the variety of socks you wear in varying conditions. If you opt to vary the thickness of your socks due to temperatures, bring several pairs along. It may seem time-consuming, but you’ll be more likely to find a shoe that works well with any sock you choose to wear.
If you wear insoles for medical or comfort reasons, remember to bring them with you when shopping. The thickness and shape of an insole can make a huge difference in the fit of a shoe. You may need to go up a size to accommodate your insoles.
Look for Sturdy Construction
No matter how much support you need, it’s important that your outdoor shoes be well made. You want them to retain their shape to remain comfortable over time. High-quality soles will be much more comfortable and will last much longer.
Examine the seams of the shoe for good, consistent stitching. This is one of the biggest indicators of quality. Make sure the thread is tightly stitched and there are no frays or loose material.
Make sure the soles are well-made and attached well. Check for any gaps between the shoe and sole material. Twist the shoe to make sure it’s flexible but doesn’t give too much. Look for good, deep treads that will aid your stability on a variety of terrains.
Think About Your Lifestyle
Consider your recreational habits when beginning the shopping process. Your favorite outdoor activities will dictate what features should be a priority. You should also consider the climate, elements, and terrain where you plan to wear your outdoor footwear.
Are you planning on participating in trail races or going on long runs through the woods? Trail runners are a great option for lightweight support that’s suited for rugged terrain. They are also a comfortable choice for light hiking but offer less ankle support.
Hiking boots are the optimal choice if you are focused on taking on rough terrain or backpacking. They are a durable choice that offers protection and stability. Their harder soles provide the support needed for long hikes and carrying extra weight.
Looking for something a little more breathable? Hiking sandals from Viakix are an awesome choice, especially for pleasant weather. They are light enough for everyday recreation but supportive enough to wear hiking on a warm day. Many styles have adjustable straps so you can customize them to fit perfectly.
Make Sure The Fit is Right
Fit is one of the most important things to get right when selecting your outdoor shoes. Too large and you’ll end up with blisters and a lack of support. A too-small shoe will leave your feet cramped and uncomfortable.
If you haven’t done it before, consider having your foot measured for a good starting point. It’s important to know the width and length of your foot. Knowing the measurement and type of your arch is also helpful.
Try to shop for shoes later in the day. Your feet tend to naturally swell a little throughout the day. It’s especially helpful to try shoes on when you have been on your feet a lot. It will help you to get a clear idea of how shoes will feel after the hours of activity you are purchasing them for.
Are Immediately Comfortable
The right shoe for you should feel comfortable right when you put it on. The comfort should only increase as you break it in. Take your time and make sure you like the feel and fit of the shoe right away.
Think about the activities you will participate in when wearing your shoes. Do your best to simulate like movements in the store. Be patient and move around when trying shoes on to make sure there’s no discomfort or tightness.
Consider Your Stride
Whether you are a runner, walker, or somewhere in between, it’s important to know your stride. Being aware of how your foot moves can help guide you in finding a shoe that will move naturally with your foot. This will help make your feet move more comfortably and can prevent injury.
You can have your stride evaluated by a footwear professional or check out the wear on the soles of your shoes. If your soles are worn more heavily on the outside of your foot, you’re likely a supinator, meaning your foot rolls outward. However, wear on the inside on the foot indicates pronation or inward rolling. A neutral stride results in even wearing across the entire sole of the shoe.
If you find that you are a supinator, look for shoes with extra cushion. This will reduce the risk of stress fracture this stride makes you at risk for. Look for a more flexible option in the type of shoe you are looking for to spread out the impact on your whole foot.
Those that pronate should look for a lot of support and stability. Look for structured cushioning that can minimize the foot rolling inwards. A strong insole can increase comfort by supporting arches well.
If you have a neutral stride, a large variety of outdoor shoes is suitable. Select a shoe that allows your foot to move comfortably in its natural motion. Find the level of support that is most comfortable for you.
Consider your lifestyle and climate when shoe shopping. You want a versatile shoe that makes sense for your favorite activities. Also, remember that everyone’s feet and stride are different. It’s important to find the best footwear for your unique needs.
Finding the perfect outdoor footwear can take time, but it’s well worth taking your time. Your comfort will make your outdoor activities much more enjoyable. You’ll be thankful you have the right footwear when you take off on your next adventure.