I recently walked the Camino de Santiago, the famous long distance path where you can do up to 25 miles a day. The hiking wasn’t particularly tough and the ground, for the most part, fairly even, so I didn’t really need ankle support.
More important was that my main boots had to be waterproof, as it rained a lot, but also lightweight. I also needed something more comfortable to wear in the evening, so I could rest my aching feet. The combination of the Zamberlan lightweight boots during the day and the Keen Uneek sandals at night worked well.
Zamberlan 104 Hike Lite Gtx® RR
These are lightweight low rise boots designed for easy trekking and combine a water resistant suede leather upper with a mesh collar and tongue for better ventilation. Inside they’re lined with Gore-Tex which ensures they’re waterproof and breathable. Even better the soles are Vibram giving a good grip on slippery surfaces. They’re also cushioned so after a long day’s walking, your feet don’t ache too much. Of course you can’t help stubbing your toes on the odd stone, so they’ve reinforced that part of the shoe with rubber. Fit is roomy and my toes could wiggle around, but were properly constrained on the downhills.
Keen Men’s Uneek O2 Ltd
Stylish yet comfortable, these are part sandal and part trainer. The clever idea is that they’re constructed of two pieces of parachute cord: one is woven into a pattern that secures your foot in place, and the other works like a lace to tighten them. The free moving cord design allows the uppers to move and adapt to the shape of your feet. Adding a cool quotient, the thick soles are bright white with black high traction grips on the underside. Other versions of these shoes have just a strap on the back but these are enclosed and the lightly cushioned heel adds extra support. Although I took them for evening use, I even managed some easy hiking, walking on the road.
Tell me more about best hiking footwear
You often get the best prices on the internet but shoe sizes tend to vary between different brands and it’s important to try your footwear before you buy. Go to a store, take the socks you’re going to wear, and walk around testing for fit. Remember that if you’re packing light, it’s important that your shoes don’t give you grief.