Although many people aware of the need for recreation prefer their home bikes, gyms, fitness centers, and similar facilities, there are still people who consider the best and healthiest physical activity to be in the fresh air. And where is there more fresh air than in nature itself, in the woods, on the mountains? Hiking is relaxation and enjoying what nature has given us.
Many reasons confirm that hiking is fun and healthy. During the walk, new friendships and loves are gained, you improve your condition, get to know nature and new areas, and perhaps most importantly, you forget about everyday obligations and problems and find your peace of mind.
Many give up considering it too strenuous. Yes, there are difficult moments, but every challenge overcome brings new satisfaction. What is especially important is to provide adequate equipment before you decide to hike.
One of the most common mistakes made by beginners is choosing shoes. Many believe that, if the weather is warm outside, comfortable sneakers meet the criteria. A mistake, of course. Sneakers are by no means a good choice for hiking for a number of reasons. Today there are shoes specifically designed for this type of activity, and this article will help you choose the right one.
Shallow or deep shoes?
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you plan to hike on dry, undemanding terrain, or are you still an adventurer who prefers big steps and hiking on steep slopes, where you will be exposed to different air temperatures as well as wet rocks. If you choose option number one, choose shallow hiking shoes, ie those that do not go over the ankle.
Deep shoes are a little more uncomfortable to walk because they are also heavier, and go over the ankles, but are necessary for hiking to higher ground. If you are not sure about your future routes, choose deep shoes, just in case.
You will probably think that there is not much wisdom about buying this type of footwear and that it is the same as when you buy footwear for every day. However, you must choose shoes for a number higher than usual. Why? You will decide to go hiking on colder days when you need thick socks, or in summer, when your feet start to go away from walking and the heat. You choose the number so that your toes do not touch the top of your shoes when you put them on. Also, the stem should not move inside the shoes as this would mean they are too big. The footwear must have an adequate insole, to provide complete comfort.
Regular shoes – yes or no?
Ok, shoes are needed to engage in this activity, but that does not mean you need to give up the intention if you are not currently able to buy the right one. Of course, the shoes you already have will also serve. It is important to have a good rubber sole and deep patterns so that you do not slip while climbing. However, in this case, we recommend you get microspikes for hiking which will make it easier for you to access inaccessible terrains. These are small chains with spikes that are placed on shoes and prevent slipping, just as chains do with cars during heavy snowfall.
There is no single rule for choosing shoes. In principle, you only need to take the time to choose the model and size, since footwear is very important for the safety and enjoyment of nature. Shoes must protect us from injury, and give a feeling of support to the legs and body, cushion bumps and make any ascent or hike better, simpler, and easier.
Types of materials
Hiking shoes can be made of different types of materials. Each species boasts advantages and disadvantages. As a rule, hiking shoes are usually made of integral leather, which is considered to be an extremely durable type of hiking shoe. Such footwear is largely waterproof, and above all provides the user with good foot support.
The choice of material also plays a key role when it comes to the soles of hiking boots. Polyurethane sole is one of the most durable and stronger types of the sole. This type of sole is recognizable by mountaineers.
What else do I need from the equipment?
In addition to shoes, you will need many other things. Adequate clothing is certainly one of the most important. Pants and tops are best chosen from synthetic and elastic materials so that they can dry quickly, and such should be the active laundry. A hooded jacket is recommended, and as we mentioned in the article, hikers often wear thick socks over ordinary ones.
The recommendation of experienced people is wool socks because they warm the feet, absorb up to 40% of moisture, and do not leave a feeling of humidity, which is very important in the winter. Of course, we must not forget the hat, gloves, layered clothing, and wearing spare clothes.
In the backpack, you should find food, water, a compass or a map of the area, a match or lighter, a band-aid, sunscreen, and some other things that you will hear from those experienced in this hobby.
Hiking is not aimlessly wandering the hills and conquering already conquered peaks from which we will soon have to descend anyway; on the contrary, mountaineering is a way and style of life, a series of activities that make life more pleasant, interesting and, above all, more beautiful for modern man.
Plus, the mountains are something really extraordinary and it’s great that you can enjoy them even if you’re not in any particular condition. True, in the beginning you may not conquer the high peaks, but above all you will enjoy the forest, the view, the walks and mentally “heal”. Each new hike brings with it a new challenge in which you will enjoy again and discover new charms.