There’s nothing quite like the great outdoors! Whether you prefer trekking along mountain trails or navigating your way down river streams—there is so much to love about mother nature. If you want to get the most out of your adventures, though, it is vital to have the right shoe for the job. Today we will provide a breakdown of the different types of outdoor shoes and share some tips for selecting the best hiking shoes suited to your needs. Ready to get out there and explore? Let’s get started.
Understand Why It’s Worth It to Invest In Hiking Shoes
Attempting longer hikes in the wrong pair of shoes can have serious consequences. If ill-fitting or not correctly suited to the environment, shoes can cause everything from discomfort on the trail (wet feet, blisters, scratches) to injuries that require medical attention (heel spurs, twisted ankles). A key thing to look for when choosing shoes suitable for hiking is that they should respect the morphology of your feet. You also want an outdoor shoe that provides optimal comfort and stability and is breathable yet water-resistant.
"Our outdoor collection is designed to take on whatever you might encounter, whether you are sightseeing, travelling, or just exploring nature. Made for long hikes and rugged mountaineering, our hiking shoes provide innovative support, comfort, protection and durability on all terrain. We’ve put in the work so that you can get the most from your outdoor adventures!" - Sebastian Antezana, Weinbrenner Global Product Manager
The 4 Mains Types of Outdoor Shoes
Not all outdoor shoes are created equal, and it is crucial to understand your needs to select the best shoes for exploration and the type of adventure you’d like to have. Here is an overview of the primary types of hiking shoes for men and women.
Type 1: Multifunctional shoes
You can think of these a bit like hiking shoes lite. They are designed to perform well on relatively undemanding terrain, have a soft outsole and are lighter than proper hiking shoes. Notably, multifunctional shoes don’t have much ankle support, which tends to rule them out for hikers looking to tackle more challenging trails. Overall, multifunctional shoes are ideal for walking and excursions on passable paths on flat ground.
From the Weinbrenner collection, Breath is a favourite in this class. These models are more flexible and lighter than many other outdoor shoes and offer a comfortable wear all day long. Given their low upper, they do not provide additional support to the ankle but have a more relaxed and versatile look than a dedicated hiking shoe.
Type 2: Hiking shoes or boots
Kicking things up a notch, you’ll find multi-terrain performance in specialised hiking shoes and boots. These sturdier cousins of the multifunctional outdoor shoe are specially designed to protect from extreme conditions and give you stability and optimal grip on slippery or icy terrains. They provide better foot support than multifunction shoes and have a high upper. Nevertheless, they remain comfortable on most terrain.
With a flexible outsole yet plenty of cushioning underfoot, the Weinbrenner Serra is an excellent example of a good-quality hiking shoe that can meet your needs regarding more ambitious trekking. Available in two different cuts, this model offers a compromise between flexibility and stability, making it the perfect shoe for rocky terrain. The more lightweight, low-cut version is ideal for speed hiking and easy day hikes. When carrying a heavier pack in rough and uneven terrain, however, the high-cut boot is there to offer the extra support needed.
Regardless which one suits your needs, both Serra designs features water- and stain-repellent protection and optimal internal temperature control thanks to a breathable, water-resistant membrane. You can also rest assured you’ll have traction on all surfaces due to the thick and sturdy rubber outsole that also prevents feeling rocks underfoot.
Type 3: Trail running
Designed for those who like to move fast, trail running outdoor shoes are crafted to be lightweight for speed while still offering sturdy lugs for stability and a reinforced upper to protect the feet from repeated impact. If you want to feel confident barrelling down a hill, you need traction you can trust. Thankfully, contemporary trail running shoes are becoming better at tackling all types of surfaces due to advanced multi-directional lugs and stickier rubbers.
The Weinbrenner Himalaya is a great example of a super comfortable trail running shoe that provides superior traction and plenty of protection underneath your feet—meaning you’ll be able to cover miles and miles of beautiful trails easily. These trail running shoes are also versatile and can double as great lightweight hiking shoes. In fact, more and more people are opting to try trail running shoes due to their lightness, flexibility, and nimbleness.
Type 4: Water Hiking Shoes
Specifically created to meet the needs of hydro hikers and canoers, water shoes have evolved from unsightly and heavy designs to sleek, light and more comfortable ones. In addition to great design options, they offer features including thermal protection, water drainage, underfoot traction and of course and ability to dry out quickly. Anyone who has spent the day squelching along a trail with pools of water in their shoes knows this last detail's importance. Athletes' foot is also a concern, and treading along in a wet boot isn’t going to do much to prolong its lifespan.
As such, if you plan to spend time in or around water, you’d do well to treat yourself to a pair of lightweight and breathable water hiking shoes.
The best hiking water shoes provide the traction you need for negotiating all types of slippery surfaces. The Weinbrenner Kathmandu is one example of a top-quality water shoe that provides a secure yet breathable fit and excellent grip. Best of all, these contemporary shoes for nature look like regular sports sneakers, making them just as suitable for outdoor adventures as they are for everyday use.
Bonus Tips for Hiking shoes:
- Be sure to try the shoes out before attempting a more extended hike; even if the materials and construction are sound, every foot is different, so try out a short trek to ensure you have an adequate level of comfort.
- Take care of your hiking shoes, and they will take care of you! Clean them regularly with a brush or sponge and dry them at room temperature (do not put them in the sun or use a heater or hairdryer, as it will damage the leather and stitching).
Eager to get out there for a family hike but still have some questions about finding the perfect hiking shoe for your needs? Our Weinbrenner experts are all shoe wizards who love nature as much as they love footwear. They are available in-store and online to provide you with informed advice when it comes to selecting the perfect model. Visit your local Bata store today, and you’ll be off the trailhead before you know it!