Sandals vs Shoes: Which Are Best for Hiking?
Choosing the perfect gear for going hiking might seem like a huge task. After all, there are so many different types of products to choose from that you might wonder how to even get started for your first trip.
Perhaps the best way to get started is to look at your feet.
What you put on them is arguably the biggest decision of them all. Should you be using sandals when you go hiking or are shoes your best option?
When we look at the issue of sandals vs shoes, the first question to consider is how comfortable you will feel with either type of footwear. Clearly, this is largely down to your personal preference, as some people prefer one type or the other.
One of the main points to bear in mind is that sandals are open to some degree, while shoes are closed. For a lot of hikers this is the key difference between these kinds of footwear, so what are the benefits of each type?
Sandals are fantastic for letting your feet breathe and keeping them fresh. If you wear shoes during the week you might also feel a wonderful sense of freedom when you put on your hiking sandals on the weekend.
On the other hand, you might feel more comfortable wearing shoes. It can be a good idea to give both types of footwear a try, to see which ones seem to give you the highest degree of comfort.
How much protection do your feet need when you go on a hike? This largely depends upon the conditions that you are likely to encounter along the way.
Are you going to be hiking on dusty, rocky paths or trying to get through big, thorny bushes? The fact that hiking shoes are closed means that you might feel more protected wearing them on particularly tough routes.
Yet, it is worth bearing in mind that there are tough models of hiking sandals that will also give your feet a high level of protection. You don’t just have to choose from the sort of flimsy sandals that are more suited to the beach.
It may also be the case that you will be hiking in parts of the world where your feet don’t need as much protection. Therefore, it is a good idea to put some thought into where exactly you are going to be hiking in the future.
Are you going to be enjoying the great outdoors in warm weather, or are you more likely to go hiking in colder conditions? This is another factor to take into account in the sandals vs shoes debate.
If it is really cold, then open-topped sandals might not seem like the best choice. However, if you use them together with thick hiking socks then your feet will still be nice and warm. This approach also gives you the advantage of being able to take off your socks if the temperature rises.
When the sun is shining down strongly your feet might over-heat in shoes. This is when hiking sandals really come into their own, as your feet will stay cool and well-ventilated at all times.
You will soon see that having the option to make changes to your footwear as you walk is very important. When you are far from home, being able to adapt to the situation is a huge bonus.
When you wear shoes to go hiking, you will lose some versatility. On the other hand, if you choose sandals then you have the option of adding or removing socks along the way. You might also want to loosen or tighten the straps.
This may not seem like a big deal, but there are some occasions in which an extra degree of versatility will let you adapt to changing circumstances. Don’t forget that a lot can happen during a long hike.
For instance, the weather might change drastically, or you might become wet and dirty. Even worse, your feet might get sore. When you wear shoes there isn’t much that you can do to change things once you are on your way.
Some people prefer shoes while others prefer sandals. It is only by trying both kinds of footwear that you can be sure which option suits you best.
You might even find that it makes sense to have both hiking shoes and sandals in your footwear collection. This will let you choose the right ones for the demands of each new trip that you make.