It is super important that you consider how lightweight the shoe is before you purchase it.
When buying a hiking shoe as opposed to a hiking boot, the expectation is that generally, they will be much lighter on your feet.
A lightweight shoe is a great choice if you are a casual hiker who tends to stick to well-trodden paths and moderate, mixed terrain.
If you were, say, mountain climbing, or constantly traversing a very rugged landscape then a pair of boots may be the best choice.
Lightweight shoes will ensure that you do not have any excess weight when you are walking and will ensure your feet and calves are not as achy after a full day on the trails.
Do you need your shoes to be waterproof? If you are often walking in muddy paths, or someone who is not afraid to walk in all weather conditions, then the answer should be yes.
We certainly think that waterproofing is essential.
Of course, not everyone feels that they need them, and certainly, if you are walking in desert conditions or live in an area that is blessed with sun all year round (you lucky things), then waterproofing is probably not a huge deal.
However, if you happen to live somewhere with a lot of rain, waterproof shoes are needed!
Letting water into your shoes is not just a nuisance but can actually pose a health risk.
You can get blisters far more easily, as well as foot infections and even trench foot if you wear them for long enough! It is certainly not worth the risk in our opinion.
How do they fasten?
Some walking shoes now come with quick laces. These are laces made from elastic that does not need to be tied like a traditional lace but instead can tighten or loosen depending on your needs. Consider whether you need these or whether you would be happy with traditional laces. Perhaps you would prefer velcro straps instead. There is no right or wrong, as long as they can provide adequate support for your feet and ankles.
Where will you be hiking?
The environment in which you undertake your hikes will be a huge factor when deciding what type of shoes you will need.
If you are someone who likes to hike on all sorts of terrains, whether soft and muddy, dry and sandy or very rocky, you will likely need a shoe that is versatile enough to handle all of these.
If you are someone who just hikes on uneven, rocky terrain, you will need a shoe to support this, ensuring the traction is excellent, and that you have adequate arch support as well as some toe protection.
Wetter, muddier conditions call for shoes with deep tread and mudguards. You may also wish to ensure the shoes are waterproof.
In general, if the tread of your shoes is thick and deep, then you are likely to get excellent hold and support from them even when descending a steep, uneven incline.
Your toes will always need some form of protection, after all, that is what shoes are for, in part.
However, there are times where your feet will need even more protection. One of these times is if you are walking on some rocky terrain.
Loose rocks that can fall on your feet have the potential to really injure you.
Ensuring your toes are protected by thick, rubber (or any other material) toe caps, can help stop any nasty injuries.
There are many shoes on the market with molded toe caps that will prove useful for this.
The one thing to bear in mind, though, is that having toe caps can interfere with the overall weight of your shoes.
This is an important thing to bear in mind if having lightweight shoes is the most important consideration for you.
Now, it goes without saying that the main priority of walking shoes is for them to be functional.
They are made to serve a purpose, and that purpose is to keep our feet protected when we walk.
However, that does not mean to say that they can’t look good. Given the huge variety of choice out there when it comes to walking shoes, it is now easier than ever to find a pair that look good as well as being practical.
Consider what color and style of shoe you may want. Do you want trusty black or brown, or something with a splash of color?
Of course, this is a mere frivolity to some people, but equally many others will want to look their best.
Whatever category you fall into is totally fine, and whether they look good will not affect the quality of the shoe.
Even so, if it is important to you, it is worth considering!