No two persons feet are the same – they vary in size, shape and form. In fact for most of us, our feet are the most exercised part of our body and probably also the most neglected. We usually do not buy shoes considering our foot type – do we have flat feet, wide feet, neutral feet and so on. We tend to focus only on the size of our feet. However knowing and understanding the structure of our feet will help us select the right shoes for ourselves. An important factor to keep in mind when buying shoes is the fit of the shoe and then the amount of stability you need.
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Let us understand some of the different types of feet:
Pronation refers to the way your foot rolls and the arch collapses upon landing on the ground to absorb the impact as part of the natural process of movement. There are three types of pronations:
in this condition, the arch of the foot collapses excessively to absorb the impact. The feet roll inward and people with this condition are considered to have “flat feet.” Such people would benefit from wearing shoes that provide higher level of stability. Stability shoes have firmer cushioning on the inside arch area of the foot that does not allow the ankle to rotate inward excessively.
also known as normal pronation goes along with a normal arch. A neutral pronation keeps the ankles and legs aligned in a straight line. There is an even distribution of pressure through the length of the foot. People with such feet type are compatible with most shoes available. There are more options to choose from among neutral shoes. These shoes have an equal amount of cushioning material through the entire shoe
This occurs when your foot rolls outward putting pressure on the outer toes. It usually affects people with high arches. People with under-pronation have arches that do not collapse much leading to reduced shock absorption. Such people should wear shoes that provide a lot of cushioning which will help absorb more of the shock from impact.
Best Hiking Shoes for Flat Feet
Available in boulder and gold, the Merrell Moab II Waterproof boots are one of the best in the market. The mere appearance of the shoe gives a sense of ruggedness and endurance. With a conventional lace-up system and medium shoe width, the upper material is made out of suede leather and mesh. It uses the M-Select Dry Technology which involves a membrane that seals out water and allows moisture to escape so that your feet are dry at all times.
The bellows, closed-cell tongue made of foam also keeps the moisture as well as debris out. The shoe has a protective toe cap that keeps the front section of the shoe intact and secure. Enclosed shoes with no breathability results in odor; fortunately the Merrell Moab shoe also has a breathable lining which will enable the shoes to be odor-free.
This particular footwear uses the M-Select Fit Advanced contoured footbed for added arch structure and heel support. It also uses a molded nylon arch shank, which is a supportive structure between the insole and outsole specifically used in hiking shoes. This shank reduces the load experienced by the wearer on his/her feet and calves. The Merrell air cushion located in the heel of the shoe absorbs shock and adds stability. The EVA midsole also provides stability and comfort.
This pair has too many positive features to let it go by. While the price may be steep, it is definitely worth every penny.
Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet
For those with wider feet, the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid Wide shoes are a good option as they are specifically designed for wide feet.
The upper material of the shoe is made of waterproof PU coated leather while the lining is made of textile which makes the shoes breathable and comfortable. A mud guard and toe cap protect the heel and toe respectively.
This shoe uses the Ortholite insole and Sensifit system which provides a greater adjustment, making you feel secure and snug in these shoes. The EVA foam energy cell midsole guarantees good shock absorption. The Advanced Chassis surrounded by the foam, gives great stability to the heel and the liberal cushioning provides maximum comfort while trekking. The gusseted tongue prevents debris from entering the shoes while the chevron patterned aggressive lugs offers greater grip and gives you more control when walking.
So if you have wide feet, you can confidently go in for this pair of shoes.
Best Hiking Shoes for Narrow Feet
One of the few names that come to mind when looking for a narrow width pair of shoes is the Lowa Renegade GTX. The footwear looks sleek but is one of the most sturdy pairs as it provides complete underfoot support. This brand uses its patented Monowrap Support Frame that makes it lightweight, yet providing lateral stability.
The upper material is made of nubuck leather and also uses the Gore-Tex lining to make the shoe waterproof and breathable. The midsole which gives great cushioning and support is designed using Double Injection DuraPU technology. A Vibram Evo outsole is utilized to provide good traction on almost all terrains. A durable rubber compound on the outsole helps the shoe to endure all kinds of ground conditions.
So if comfort and lightness are the key elements that you are looking for in your next trail, the Renegade is the choice you must make.
Also check out Swami’s take on the Best Hiking Shoes That You Can Buy Online in India.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHILE BUYING HIKING SHOES
So, you want to buy a pair of hiking shoes for your next expedition but do not know where to begin? Well, let us help you out. Remember that buying the perfect shoes for your feet is the secret to a happy hiking adventure. There are various factors that you have to bear in mind when considering the best hiking shoe for yourself – the level or duration of the hike, terrain covered, weather and the pack weight. You need shoes that give you the right fit making you feel comfortable throughout your journey. An ill-fitting pair of shoes could result in foot pain, blisters and even injury.
Let us look at some elements that you need to consider when buying your next pair of hiking shoes:
Hiking shoes with ankle support
several discussions revolve around the need for ankle supporting boots during a trek. The ‘hiking shoes v/s hiking boots’ discussion is an ongoing one! If you are headed out for a short trek on a decent terrain and are not lugging a heavy load in your backpack, then hiking shoes would be fine. However, if you are carrying a heavy load and are traversing difficult terrains, then you need to have added support to your feet and ankles in the form of hiking boots. A high boot will limit the movement and keep your ankle straight. Then again, this footwear should fit you perfectly and be of good quality. Also keep in mind that hiking boots are heavier and stiffer as compared to hiking shoes.
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Hiking shoes with arch support
Every person has a different foot arch – some have flat feet, others have high arches while many have normal arches. It is important that the shoe you wear during your hike, gives you the required support to the sole of your feet. Poor footbeds will result in you feeling discomfort, pain or sprain in the arch area of your feet. A good footbed will keep your foot in a neutral position and stop it from twisting inside the shoe. Motion control shoes are good for people with low arches while shoes with more arch support in the form of cushioning helps those with high arches.
Best Hiking Shoes with Ankle Support
If you are looking for a good ankle support hiking shoe and are wondering which one to buy, then think no further. The Salomon Quest 4D 3GTX is the solution to your dilemma.
These are hefty, burly shoes apt for a heavy loaded trek. They are comfortable from the word ‘go’ and do not need a break-in period. The upper material comprises of nubuck leather with nylon mesh for breathability. It uses the tried and tested Gore-Tex Performance technology that enables waterproofing.
While it has the traditional lacing system, this pair is designed in a way that provides an eyelet deep into the ankle which helps to secure the boot well. Hence the boot grabs onto your ankle and foot to give you great stability while not compromising on your comfort. The 4D advanced chassis along with the tallest ankle collar which is firm but not stinging, vouches as the best combination for all-round stability.
These popular shoes are exceptionally comfortable and stable providing great ankle support that most trekkers look for in shoes.
Best Hiking Shoes with Arch Support
The Keen Targhee II is a pair of shoes that you can wear for your trek during any season – be it pleasant, cold or wet weather conditions. Waterproof, with aggressive traction and enhanced torsion stability – that is the shoe for you.
The upper nubuck leather, the Keen.Dry waterproof breathable membrane and the hydrophobic mesh lining keeps the feet dry by allowing the perspiration to dispel from within the shoes. The secure-fit lace capture system keeps the feet secure inside the shoes. The Cleansport technology is utilized for odor control, thus giving the wearer a fresh feeling inside the footwear.
The EVA footbed offers ample cushioning and arch support thus cradling the arch to provide that added buttress. The dual density EVA midsoles also offers great shock absorption. The nylon shank enhances the stability which makes it safe to use on different terrains. The carbon rubber outsole with the multi-directional lugs gives great traction and durability.
Above all many users say that these shoes feel broken in, straight out of the box, which will give you a comfortable feeling right from the start.
That brings us to the end of this review of the flat,narrow and wide feet hiking shoes that you can buy online in India. Do let us know in the comments below if we’ve missed any good pick.
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