Hiking is fun, but it can be physically challenging for some. To enjoy the experience, it's important to bring the right equipment and wear proper apparel from head to toe.
Walking is a significant part of hiking. You make use of your feet for the majority of the activity period, so you have to be particular about footwear. You want it comfortable, durable, doesn't carry too much weight, and reliable when it comes to unexpected obstacles. Choosing what to wear isn't a quick and easy decision, as there are essential points you need to consider.
Take note that men's feet and women's feet are different. There are differences in needs, size, and individual preferences. There are also various types of hiking footwear available in the market.
This article serves as a helpful footwear guide for the hiking woman. From various hiking shoes to hiking insoles for women, here's a breakdown of essential things you need to know to ensure pain-free feet throughout the day.
Hiking is not about who’s the stronger gender, but it’s about wearing the right shoe for the right gender. With the right footwear, you can enjoy everything about hiking to your heart's content. Get yourself prepared for a hiking trip, female warrior!
The first factor to consider is foot anatomy. Shoe racks at department stores are labeled separately according to size, brand, and gender-associated designs. But aside from that, there are several scientific differences between male and female feet.
According to a study from Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, female feet are not simply a smaller version of men's. It's true that when it comes to proportion, a female foot is smaller than a man's. However, there are specific differences in the arch, toe, curve shape, calve thickness, and more. Women were found to have thicker ankles and calves. There are higher arches on a woman's feet, but the toes are smaller and thinner.
Does anatomy have anything to do with the selection of your hiking footwear? Absolutely. Sometimes, women wear too small and tight shoes for their size caused by stereotypes and discrimination. Such a habit can cause foot problems, and of course, you wouldn't fancy a hiking trip with aching feet.
The type of hiking footwear will also depend on the location of your hiking activity. It is best to gather information about where you are headed as much as you can before going. There is a type of footwear for wet and muddy terrains and another for hot and dry spots. Flat and rocky lands require different levels of support as well. Do consider these things when looking for hiking footwear.
There are different styles of hiking that would determine your hiking footwear, too. Day hikers spend short trips and carry light loads. Backpackers take long journeys, so they carry heavy loads. There are also overnight hikers with camping equipment as part of the essential load. Your hiking footwear should contain the necessary support and durability for your hiking style.
Here are different types of hiking foot apparel to see which one matches your needs. Each type is designed to suit different hiking conditions and individual preferences. Find out whether you should wear hiking boots, trail runners, or hiking shoes for your trip.
Hiking boots are durable. They are designed to be waterproof and are typically made of hard rubber and tough leather to last long trail miles. There are also hiking boots that are lightweight to suit different hiking styles. Hiking boots are generally a good choice for heavy loads and challenging and rough terrains. This type of footwear costs more than the other two.
Trail runners are a lightweight champ, cost less, and are suitable for moderate trails. However, they are not the most durable type of footwear. Those who hike wearing trail runners often have to repair more than once during their journey. The material it's made of is softer rubber underfoot, which wears down faster than hiking boots. It also offers less traction, so vulnerability for injuries is higher. Unlike boots, trail shoes don't have a shank (an insert found in a boot's midsole) that provides stability.
Hiking shoes cut between hiking boots and trail runners. Hiking shoes are mostly known for their softer and comfortable material. They are more flexible compared to boots, and they are easier to fit, like sneakers. Hiking shoes are perfect for hiking during dry weather and gentle terrains. The durability varies, but hiking boots still last longer than this.
It is important never to treat each footwear type as a substitute for each other. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, so choose according to your hiking needs.
Now we're going to highlight a hiking gear that significantly helps you enjoy a pain-free hiking experience: insoles! Sore feet can be an inevitable part of the journey, but there is a way to prevent that. Insoles help by cushioning your feet to ensure safety and comfort all the way.
Hiking insoles might have more to offer than you think. Let’s break down some of its advantages.
Hiking insoles act as shock absorbent cushions inserted into your shoes to ensure you're not at risk of forming injuries. Suppose you're also quite ambitious with the distance. In that case, insoles act as support and even enhance your athletic capabilities.
Insoles keep the balance between your body weight and equipment. There are variations like gel insoles for women, which help reduce pressure and provide sore relief. The silicone gel acts as a massaging material to support you through the entire journey.
A pair of hiking insoles help reduce additional damage on pre-existing foot conditions: bunions, plantar fasciitis, Morton's neuroma, hammer toe, and pronation. Women have higher arches which increase the risk of an ankle sprain. On the other hand, women with flat feet are more prone to foot and leg fatigue.
A pair of flat feet insoles for women helps align your feet properly, evenly distributes weight, and ensures convenience.
When choosing the proper hiking footwear, be meticulous. It is better than experiencing foot pain during your trip, as it will ruin the entire experience. Wear the right shoes and look forward to a rewarding hiking experience.