The popularity of hiking as a pastime has seen a significant upswing in India over the last few decades. Our nation boasts an array of extensive, diverse, and breathtaking trails spanning its length and breadth, making it an enticing destination for hiking aficionados. With the burgeoning interest in hiking and trekking activities across India, numerous companies like Indiahikes, Thrillophilia, and Snow Leopard Adventures, to name a few, offer a wide range of services and trekking experiences to satisfy the wanderlust within.
An absolute prerequisite for any hiking expedition is the necessity for the right gear. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, every hiker requires suitable equipment to cater to their trekking requirements. The right gear not only ensures safety but also enhances comfort while providing protection against varying weather conditions. Among the essential components of this gear, hiking shoes play an indispensable role in ensuring a successful and comfortable trek. In fact, the choice of footwear can make or break your hiking experience.
A high-quality pair of hiking shoes serves to safeguard your feet against bruises and abrasions from rugged terrains, offers essential traction on steep, slippery, wet, and muddy surfaces, and provides vital cushioning and support for your feet during long-distance treks. Consequently, owning a reliable and robust pair of hiking shoes is an absolute necessity.
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Best Hiking Shoe Brands In India
The act of walking has been an intrinsic part of human existence since the dawn of civilization, and as time has progressed, footwear has evolved into a pivotal aspect of our lives. From the humble beginnings of rudimentary shoes, the manufacturing of footwear has grown into a specialized industry worldwide.
Hiking, as both a sport and a recreational activity, has steadily gained popularity over the years. In response to this, the design and production of hiking shoes have advanced significantly, with numerous players in this field emerging both in India and abroad. These companies are dedicated to innovation, incorporating cutting-edge technologies to craft a diverse range of high-performance hiking shoes. Notable international brands like Merrell, Adidas, Columbia, Salomon, and homegrown brands such as Red Chief and Unistar are prominent names in this industry.
Let’s delve into some key information about the companies that excel in crafting hiking footwear:
Unistar Footwears is a renowned manufacturer and exporter of canvas and acupressure footwear for men, women, and children. Their commitment to using top-quality raw materials and advanced manufacturing techniques ensures that their shoes are not only durable but also comfortable and resistant to wear and tear. Situated in Haryana, Unistar produces an extensive range of shoes, from jogging and walking shoes to rugged jungle boots.
Operating in both Nepal and India, Goldstar is a mid-priced brand with aspirations of reaching a broad customer base. Originally established in Nepal, the company has since expanded its presence throughout India. Goldstar is recognized for its use of genuine raw materials and cutting-edge technology in the manufacturing process. Their vision is to set the industry standard for quality footwear.
Red Chief is the flagship brand of Leayan Global Private Ltd, renowned for its high-quality leather footwear. With ownership of a tannery and five manufacturing factories, the company has solidified its position as a leader in the industry. Beyond footwear, Leayan Global also manufactures apparel and accessories for men.
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A name synonymous with sports since 1949, Adidas needs no introduction. Originating in Germany, the brand has expanded its reach across the globe. Their core belief, that sport can change lives, is evident in their operations both within and outside the organization. With an annual production exceeding one billion units, Adidas stands as one of the world’s largest sports merchandise manufacturers, dedicated to designing, crafting, and delivering the finest quality sports products.
Based in the USA, Columbia Sportswear is a prominent manufacturer of modern active sportswear merchandise, including sports apparel, footwear, accessories, and equipment. Under the Columbia umbrella, the company has garnered global recognition and reputation. Their mission is to connect active individuals with their passions while prioritizing consumer and customer satisfaction. This commitment leads them to produce high-quality goods utilizing state-of-the-art technology and processes.
In the realm of outdoor sports, Quechua is a name to reckon with. Established in 1998, Quechua specializes in outdoor sports products, designing and manufacturing gear for mountain hiking, climbing, mountaineering, skiing, and snowboarding. The brand has earned its place among the top five creative brands in France. With a mission to make mountain hiking accessible to a broader audience, Quechua offers a wide range of shoes, jackets, backpacks, and tents. Their products undergo rigorous testing in both laboratory and field settings, ensuring their reliability and performance.
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Review – Best Hiking Shoes
Lightweight, mid-cut, and breathable, the Redmond V2 WP Hiking Boots are beloved by avid fans of Columbia footwear. These shoes offer fantastic value for money. Utilizing advanced technology, they are both lightweight and durable. The outer material combines suede and textile, complete with metal hardware and adjustable laces for a customized fit. The midsole provides excellent impact protection, ensuring a snug, padded, and comfortable experience. The Omni-grip outsole delivers cutting-edge traction, guaranteeing stability on various terrains. Don’t hesitate to choose this brand for your next trekking adventure.
These shoes are suitable for all trekkers, with a particular advantage for beginners. Crafted from waterproof materials, they are suitable for all weather conditions and terrains. The rubber sole offers exceptional traction, especially on muddy or slippery surfaces. Featuring a stone guard for toe protection and a mid-height upper for ankle support, these shoes are versatile. Plus, they come with a two-year warranty. If this fits your budget, it’s a must-have!
When it comes to Adidas, the brand speaks for itself. Known for sportswear excellence, they also excel in hiking footwear. The Argo Trek is a lightweight option, perfect for rugged terrain. Its standout feature is the rubber outsole, providing a secure grip even on wet, slippery surfaces. The lace closure and molded sockliner ensure a regular fit. The mesh and synthetic outer fabric keep your feet breathable in hot and humid conditions. Overall, these shoes offer excellent comfort, fit, and traction, even on steep slopes.
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The FURO Hiking Shoes sport a sporty look! Their air mesh outer fabric ensures breathability, while the Dry Tex lining absorbs sweat, keeping you comfortable in hot, humid terrain. The toe and heel sections are reinforced, and the anti-skid soles with shock absorbers ensure a better grip during trekking or hiking, reducing the risk of stumbling or falling. Molded socks and soft-density collar foam provide cushioning for an enhanced experience. These shoes are available in black and blue and are a worthwhile investment if they fit your budget.
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Designed for extreme, rough, and tough usage, the Unistar PU Anti-skid High Ankle Extra Cushion Inner Sole Jungle Boots were initially created for military personnel and can withstand harsh conditions. They are manufactured using the polyurethane (PU) injection technique, ensuring the soles are molded directly into the shoe tops, increasing durability and longevity. The materials used for the inner lining and soles eliminate odors. Anti-skid soles offer a secure grip on all terrains, while the lace-up closure provides comfort. These boots are not just functional but also stylish, making them perfect for pairing with rugged jeans or hiking shorts.
These olive Goldstar hiking shoes are a testament to quality. With a traditional lace-up closure and mid-cut ankle design, they offer a comfortable fit and essential ankle support for long, strenuous treks. The synthetic leather outer material and rubber sole with a PVC compound provide added traction. The Vibram sole on the toe and heel sections enhances protection. Easy to maintain and versatile, these shoes are a closet essential for outdoor enthusiasts.
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Hiking Shoes – Buying Guide For Men And Women
Choosing the right pair of hiking shoes is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Keep in mind that you’ll be embarking on a demanding adventure sport, spending considerable time on your feet throughout the journey. Therefore, it’s crucial to invest in durable and comfortable footwear. However, don’t forget the importance of breaking in your shoes well before hitting the mountains to avoid painful shoe bites during your trek.
Before you make your hiking shoe purchase, consider the type of hiker you are. Do you engage in short, one-day hiking trips, or do you embark on extended backpacking journeys or even mountaineering expeditions? Identifying your hiking style will help you choose the right type of footwear.
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Short or day hiking shoes
For short or one-day hiking trips with lighter loads, opt for lightweight hiking shoes. These shoes can be low-cut or mid-cut if you prefer ankle support. They flex easily and require minimal adjustment time to conform to your feet.
If you’re planning backpacking adventures that involve carrying extra weight, lightweight shoes won’t suffice. You’ll need high-cut boots for essential ankle support, with stiffer soles to withstand the demands of various terrains.
Now, let’s explore other factors to consider when purchasing hiking shoes:
The type of terrain you’ll be hiking on is a crucial consideration when selecting hiking footwear. If you’ll be trekking on relatively simple, soft, flat, or muddy trails, a standard waterproof shoe with mud-shedding lugs on the outer sole should suffice.
However, if your journey involves challenging and rugged terrains, such as rocky paths or mountainous terrain, you’ll need shoes that provide excellent ankle support and superior sole traction to ensure secure footing. On the other hand, if your hikes take you through hot and humid landscapes, prioritize shoes with good breathability.
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Waterproof resistant shoes
Novice hikers often assume that waterproof shoes are ideal for hiking, but this isn’t always the case. Waterproof shoes feature outer materials with membranes designed to keep water out, but this can reduce breathability. Consequently, in hot weather or during the hot season, waterproof shoes may lead to excessive perspiration and trap moisture from sweat inside the shoes, potentially causing blisters.
Therefore, if you plan to hike during the monsoon season or anticipate encountering numerous water bodies, waterproof shoes are recommended. However, for other conditions, consider shoes with good breathability to ensure comfort and minimize moisture buildup.
Getting the right fit
Our feet come in various shapes and sizes, making a standard “size 6 or 7” a vague benchmark for choosing hiking shoes. Since every shoe brand differs, it’s essential to try them on before making a purchase.
When trying on shoes at the store, take a stroll to assess comfort. Your feet should not feel cramped or restricted, considering you’ll be spending extended periods in these shoes. The ideal pair should provide excellent arch support and ensure comfort around the forefoot and toe area. Are your toes snug against the shoe’s end, or is there too much space? Can you wiggle your toes, or do they feel cramped? Your foot should be comfortably secure in the shoes to prevent your heels from lifting inside.
Don’t forget to try on the shoes with the socks you intend to wear during the trek. The right socks significantly impact overall comfort. Keep weather in mind when selecting socks; for instance, opt for woolen socks in cold climates. While cotton socks retain moisture, synthetic and woolen socks wick moisture away. Pay attention to both the shoes and socks for a comfortable hiking experience.
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The sole of the shoe
Hiking shoe soles can be divided into two main categories: the midsole and the outsole.
The midsole is the shoe’s primary structure, acting as a buffer between your feet and the rugged terrain. It plays a pivotal role in wearer comfort by providing cushioning, support, and flexibility. Midsoles are crafted from various materials, with EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) and PU (polyurethane) being the most common. Light and mid-weight hiking shoes often employ EVA due to its softness, lightweight nature, and shock-absorbing properties. However, for traversing rugged terrain, PU midsoles are a superior choice. Although less cushy than EVA, PU is more durable and capable of handling heavier loads. It maintains its shape longer and doesn’t compress like EVA midsoles.
The outsole, on the other hand, is the part of the shoe that makes contact with the ground. Typically made of rubber, some outsoles incorporate carbon for added stiffness and longevity. The lug shape and size vary depending on the terrain. For instance, shoes with larger lugs are preferable for muddy terrain.
We’ve all witnessed runners or strollers bending down to tie their shoelaces, which can be quite a hassle if they come undone frequently. This often-overlooked aspect of footwear is equally vital. The lacing system allows users to adjust the fit to their liking, and during a hike, constantly loosening laces can be irritating and distracting. If it’s the lace material causing problems, there are quality laces available in the market, which can be rounded or flat with varying degrees of elasticity.
The eyelets of the shoes should also keep the laces securely in place. The number and arrangement of the eyelets allow you to customize the fit. Eyelets that run up to the shoe collar offer enhanced stability to the wearer.
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Hiking Shoes for Women & Girls – something to ponder!
When it comes to purchasing hiking shoes for women, it’s vital to recognize that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach doesn’t apply. Women’s feet aren’t simply scaled-down versions of men’s feet. Studies have revealed differences in aspects such as arch shape and length, the lateral sides of the feet, toe bone structures, and the ball of the feet. Manufacturers take these distinctions into account when creating sports shoes for women.
Incorporating all the tips provided in the ‘Buying Guide’ section of this article, carefully select a pair of shoes that offer an optimal fit. They should deliver lasting comfort during your journey, possess a lightweight and breathable design, and provide excellent traction for secure footing.
Hiking Shoes for Kids
Planning a trail run with your child is a fantastic idea, as it introduces them to an adventurous outdoor sport while channeling their energy and enthusiasm. But is there anything specific to consider when purchasing hiking shoes for children?
While your child’s journey may not be overly strenuous, they still require a quality pair of shoes that strike a balance between comfort and stability. Children’s feet are more delicate and need protection. Overly rigid and stable shoes can take time to break in, potentially causing discomfort or blisters. Conversely, shoes that are excessively soft may lack the necessary support, increasing the risk of ankle sprains. Therefore, maintaining this balance is crucial.
Another important factor is that children’s feet are continuously growing. When buying shoes, leave a bit of room for growth. However, be cautious not to select shoes that are too large, as they can become loose, uncomfortable, and unstable.
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We trust that you now have the information you need to make an informed choice when selecting the right hiking shoes for your requirements. If you believe we’ve overlooked any crucial details, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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