First, you’ll want to settle on a category: hiking shoe or hiking boot?
For the Chapada Diamantina you have 2 options:
-hiking shoes for day hikes and tours : hiking shoes
-hiking boots or shoes for multiple day hikes with light backpack (Pati valley)
-hiking boots for multiple day hikes with tent with heavy backpack ( treks by tent )
All shoes should be well ventilated and have a decent sole. Depending on weather conditions you could choose between a hiking boot and a shoe. When it rains or the Pati valley is still full of water, you should go for a hiking boot.
Compared to boots, these shoes are lighter and more flexible, and they offer less support. You would want to consider a hiking shoe if you are:
- Not carrying a lot of weight
- A seasoned hiker carrying some weight and/or going farther on rugged trails. Ideally, you’ve already built up considerable strength in your feet, ankles, calves, and legs so you’re not relying on your shoe to provide a lot of support
Within this category, you’ll find shoes that are generally composed of textile with leather, suede, or synthetic reinforcements that provide a support structure and add abrasion-resistance. The former tend to be lighter and more flexible, which allows you to move quickly, but you’ll be sacrificing some support and protection.
Aside from intended use, another important question to ask is what kind of weather you will be using the shoes in. If your use will be mostly in the summer, or primarily in dry, warm weather, a well-ventilated, lightweight shoe with a lot of mesh in the upper will allow your foot to breathe best.
On the other hand, if you anticipate using your shoes in damp or cold weather, waterproof hiking shoes might be your best option.
Hiking boots are, broadly speaking, more supportive and protective than hiking shoes. Sometimes they are simply higher-cut versions of hiking shoes, and sometimes they feature slightly stiffer construction, both of which will offer more support. The tradeoff, of course, is that they’re going to be heavier than shoes. You might want to consider boots if you are:
- Pati valley : best pick when it is raining and trails get muddy
- Heading out on longer hikes over rougher terrain
- Carrying a moderately heavy load
- A beginner or occasional hiker who needs more support to help out less-developed muscles, or who is prone to rolled ankles or tweaked knees
Like hiking shoes, you’ll find most hiking boots are generally composed of textile with leather, suede, or synthetic reinforcements, although overall, the proportion of textile to other materials is lower to provide more support and protection. All-leather options are available as well, and you’ll find that toe bumpers and full or partial rands (strips of rubber or highly abrasion-resistant material around where the upper meets the sole) are more common. You’re also more likely to find better underfoot protection, usually in the form of lightweight plates under the forefoot that prevent bruising.
You’ve Picked Out A Shoe— But How’s The Fit?
Because you’re going to be spending so much time in a hiking shoe or boot, fit is paramount. When you get your shoe or boot, be sure to put it through its paces before you head outdoors on a hike. Try to do this towards the end of the day or after some activity, since your feet tend to swell over the course of a day, just as they do during a hike. Here are some things to look for:
- When you put it on (don’t forget to slip in your custom or specialized insole if you have one), you should feel plenty of space in the toe box. You should not feel squished on the sides of your forefoot, but shouldn’t feel like you’re swimming around in it, either.
- A good way to test the length of the shoe is to stand upright in unlaced shoes, and then slide your foot forward until it does touch the front. You should be able to comfortably slip your index finger in between your heel and the heel of the shoe.
- Once you have your shoe laced, the feel should be snug enough that, as you roll up onto your toe, you don’t feel your foot sliding forward to touch the front of the boot; however, it shouldn’t be so snug that it cuts off your circulation or causes hot spots.
- You should also not feel any heel lift or slip as you walk around. A loose fit here not only increases the risk of painful blisters, but could lead to injury on rough terrain if your boot goes one way and your foot the other.
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)