What Shoes to Buy
For the last 8 years I have been wearing Columbia Hiking Shoes, which retails for roughly $90. Its a good shoe the only problem I found with it was that the collar on the back that rests along my heel was easily crushed. This happened from normal use which results in blisters. It was such a nuisance. I went hiking a few weeks ago and had to hike the last mile in my socks. Thank goodness it was muddy so that my feet had cushion. I decided that I wouldn’t hike with those shoes again and set out searching for a new pair right away.
I wanted a durable, waterproof, hiking shoe that fits all my needs and under $200. Anything more seems obscene and even $200 seemed a little too much. I had no idea what the market was for hiking shoes because I just stuck with one kind for so long. I did the normal internet search for THE BEST HIKING SHOES FOR WOMEN, BEST HIKING SHOES FOR MEN, BEST BACKPACKING SHOES, WHAT ARE THE BEST SHOES FOR HIKING. And so on and so forth. I stumbled upon a review that rated Vasque’s St. Elias GTX as the best backpacking/hiking shoe.
At $199 it was at the stratosphere of my budget. Before I took the plunge I needed to do two things. One talk to my brother who does this all the time and hear his recommendations. And two, go try these suckers on. When I talked to my brother he gave me my first niggle of doubt that these Vasques were the way to go. He told me to think about their weight. They might be sturdy, but over time your feet feel like they have lead weights on them. Keeping everything light is the key to an easy hike. He recommended I try Salomon. And after some online research I liked what I read on the Salomon X Ultra Low II GTX Hiking Shoes.
Now all that was left was trying them on. I went to my local REI and started trying on the shoes. I tried on both the Vasques and Salomons. The Vasques made my feet feel heavy and stiff. I liked their ankle height though. The Salomons were light and easy to get on, but they made my feet look like violent turgid potatoes. Which isn’t a good look. The man at REI suggested I try the Merrel Moab series. They had low and high tops. I tried the women’s low tops on and loved them immediately. The look and feel were close to perfect. There was a slight tension on the outside edge of my foot and the man suggested I look at the men’s version because they were wider throughout. He brought out the high top version for me to try. It was brilliant.
Honestly, do your research and then go and try on a bunch of styles. I walked in thinking I was going to buy one thing and left with something else.
Since I bought the boots I have now been hiking with them and they are brilliant. No complaints. And that is even having to deal with the blister from my last pair.