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Buying Guide Of Hiking Boots

Views: 52     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2024-04-03      Origin: Site

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Hiking boots are specifically designed and manufactured for outdoor climbing, hiking, and trekking activities, making them highly suitable for outdoor sports. Waterproof and breathability are primary features of modern hiking boots, surpassing the capabilities of regular sports shoes in these aspects.


hiking boots


The purpose and selection of hiking boots focus on balance maintenance, body support, cushioning capabilities of soft pads, hard soles, water resistance, and the appropriate weight of the shoes. For instance, lightweight boots are suitable for walking on traditional routes, while non-traditional routes that involve moving through forests or rock climbing require harder shoes. Generally, lightweight shoes do not provide enough stability for carrying heavy backpacks, and walking on challenging terrains necessitates protecting the ankles, heels, and toes.


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. As one of the "big five" pieces of outdoor equipment - alongside jackets, tents, backpacks, and emergency medicines - the quality of hiking boots can, at critical moments, affect the safety of outdoor enthusiasts.


There have been reports from friends and Darcy that purchasing certain domestic brands of hiking boots, which failed in quality, almost resulted in fatal accidents due to the shoes breaking down during hikes.


Many ask if a particular pair of hiking boots will slip. On natural surfaces like mud, grass, or gravel, hiking boots generally offer better traction because of their wide and deep tread patterns, which increase friction with rocks. However, on wet stone steps, wooden steps, moss-covered rocks, or smooth tiles, hiking boots can be as slippery as ice skates. Therefore, no hiking boot is completely slip-proof.


1. Structure of Hiking Boots


The structure of hiking boots is designed to provide better technical support for users. A professional pair of hiking boots consists of:


Structure of Hiking Boots


Sole Structure:


Mainly composed of rubber material and woven carbon plates to ensure sensitivity and accuracy during climbing, while guaranteeing the hardness of the sole.


The sole, also known as the outsole, is the part that directly contacts the ground, hence its selection is primarily based on slip resistance and durability.


Currently, the Vibram sole, known as the "golden sole," dominates the Chinese market. Not actually made of gold, it is named for its durable reputation and the yellow hexagon logo of Vibram, an Italian company. Made from special synthetic rubber, it's a mainstream choice on the market.


Sole Structure


Midsole Structure:


Composed of integrated support or whole nylon preformed internal braces with micro-porous shock-absorbing cushioning materials, further enhancing the shoe's firmness and ensuring the stiffness of the torsion.


The midsole, which determines the shoe's comfort and durability, is crucial as the foot's reaction force during normal walking can be about twice the body weight. The midsole's primary function is to introduce appropriate shock-absorbing materials to reduce the pressure on our feet.


The hiking boots on the market today have midsoles of different shock absorption levels, mainly of three types: EVA, PU, and rubber.


Insole Structure:


It is the final layer of the midsole structure, providing soft and comfortable support for the foot. A good insole offers additional protection for the arch and heel.


Ankle Structure:


Designed to support and protect the ankle, the ankle protection structure is often designed according to different ankle shapes. Therefore, professional hiking boots usually have a high collar, generally 5–7.5 inches tall.


Tongue Structure:


The design of the inner pad of the tongue should be high, thick, and closely fitted to the foot. The tongue should not move or be misplaced. It should be stable and easy to wear, with a sufficiently large opening for putting on and taking off the shoe. The manufacturing of the tongue should adopt an integrated folding process.


Lace Structure:


There are mainly two styles of lace structures: traditional symmetrical structure and asymmetrical structure. The former focuses on aesthetics, while the latter emphasizes the angle of the laces with the toes.


Upper and Shoe Shape:


A comfortable, soft, yet sturdy upper design provides a lightweight and durable construction that conforms to the foot shape. The space in the forefoot is reasonably spacious, and the heel is firmly secured. The manufacturing process should use integrated materials as much as possible to enhance design advantages. The treatment of the shoe seams must ensure that the upper does not deform under pressure.


Sole Tread Pattern:


The design of the tread pattern on professional hiking boots is meticulous. Similar to how Formula 1 racing cars choose different tires based on weather conditions and road surfaces, professional hiking boots have distinct tread patterns depending on their type. Also, even within the same type of hiking boot, different design philosophies and costs can affect the tread pattern. In cheaper models, as long as the shoe is slip-resistant, the tread pattern may not be as refined.


2. Classification of Outdoor Hiking Boots


Lightweight Hiking Boots:


Designed for short-distance hikers, suitable for general outdoor camping with uncomplicatedterrain and stays of one to two days. These boots are relatively soft, breathable, comfortable to wear but have the lowest sole rigidity and durability among hiking boots.


Midweight Hiking Boots:


Designed for medium-distance trekkers carrying more equipment, on not overly complicated terrains, for short to medium distances. These boots offer good sole rigidity and durability, with a medium-height collar to effectively protect the feet and ankle joints.


Heavyweight Hiking Boots:


Designed for long-distance trekkers carrying heavier equipment, navigating more complex terrains, and staying outdoors for extended periods. These boots have stronger sole rigidity and durability, offering better protection for the soles of the feet. Some models can also be fitted with crampons. The collar is higher than that of midweight boots.


Mountaineering Boots:


These boots are specifically designed for climbing mountains over 6000 meters. They have strong rigidity in both the sole and the collar, can be fitted with crampons, are heavier, and have less flexibility. The sole uses a steel plate lining, and the upper is made of hard plastic resin material, with a high collar.


3. Recommendations for Outdoor Hiking Boots


Currently, the world's top and most renowned hiking boot brands are mostly born in Italy.


1) SCARPA


Founded in 1940, SCARPA, from Italy, is one of the most globally recognized top brands, leading in market share, reputation, and awards. Their soles, made from Vibram's "golden sole," are known for durability and slip resistance, while the upper materials include GORE-TEX and leather for breathable and comfortable wear. The wide toe box design suits Eastern foot shapes well. The pure rubber sole remains safe from hydrolysis even if not worn for a long time. Suitable for mountain climbing, long treks, short snow hikes, climbing, and various other outdoor activities, many climbers dream of owning a pair of SCARPA shoes.


2) LA SPORTIVA


Established in 1928, LA SPORTIVA is a historic Italian brand focusing on the design and manufacture of outdoor sports footwear. Their mountain boots are divided into High Mountain and Mountain series, based on the environmental and altitude requirements.


LA SPORTIVA's hiking shoes are categorized into Backpacking, Trekking, and Hiking series, according to the duration of the walk and the load carried. Additionally, they offer climbing shoes and various casual and military footwear, covering a wide range of needs.


3) Zamberlan


Founded in 1929, Zamberlan boasts nearly a century of shoemaking history. Among the top quality Italian shoes, most of Zamberlan's hiking footwear is made in Italy, following the spirit of craftsmanship. They are one of the few outdoor shoe manufacturers to use GTX complete bootie construction.


Zamberlan's product line is extensive, encompassing high mountain boots to casual lifestyle shoes.


4) ASOLO


Established in 1946, ASOLO is a well-known Italian brand. Compared to other brands, ASOLO's shoes are characterized by their beautiful design and fashionable colors, not just sticking to black and brown.


As part of the equipment for peaks above 8000 meters, their GORE-TEX material provides excellent waterproof, windproof effects while maintaining breathability. They even have designs specifically for Asians, truly embodying a people-oriented philosophy.


ASOLO, due to its high performance, is favored by the U.S. military special forces, including the Marine Corps and SEAL teams, as their specialized military boots.


5) CRISPI


Founded in 1975 in Montebelluna, Italy, CRISPI prides itself on Italian manufacturing and a relentless pursuit of quality. Known for their comfort, durability, and especially their lightweight design, CRISPI's outdoor hiking shoes are highly regarded in Europe and many other countries. They are also a designated supplier of military boots for several European countries.


6) KOFLACH


Established in 1898, KOFLACH is a famous German brand of hiking boots, leading in the field of plastic double-layered high mountain boots.


Koflach's mountain boots feature shock-absorbing devices in the heels, suitable for the majority of peaks and terrains on Earth.


Mainly designed for high-altitude mountaineering and polar expeditions, KOFLACH can be used with various types of crampons. It's the first choice for climbing peaks above 8000 meters, offering good waterproof and thermal insulation properties, though the shell is hard.


Despite their high price, KOFLACH's mountain boot series remains popular among professional mountaineers.


7) AKU


Founded in 1990, AKU is an Italian brand. AKU has a close partnership with another famous Italian sole company, VIBRAM, developing several outstanding new soles based on AKU's extensive shoemaking experience.


8) GARMONT


Established in 1964,GARMONT's headquarters is located near the Dolomite Mountains in Montebelluna, a district in northern Italy. GARMONT is committed to mountain and outdoor research, employing the most cutting-edge technology and materials to strive for breakthroughs in product performance. Every aspect of their shoes is precisely designed to ensure stability of the foot, thereby eliminating pressure points, enhancing foot flexibility, and reducing unnecessary weight. Those who have worn GARMONT shoes speak highly of their comfort.


GARMONT shoes


Summary


Choosing a good pair of hiking boots is crucial for the success of outdoor activities. Selecting hiking boots should not be taken lightly, as the right choice can protect our lives in critical moments.


By focusing on various aspects such as the structure, durability, and specialized features of hiking boots, as well as considering the specific needs based on the type of terrain and the length of the hike, individuals can find the ideal footwear to support their outdoor adventures. With advancements in technology and design, today's hiking boots offer a range of options to suit every outdoor enthusiast's needs, ensuring safety, comfort, and performance on even the most challenging terrains.

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