Why do we need a trekking shoe
Why do we need a trekking shoe?
Shoes are one of the most important equipment on a trek. From a small day hike to a high altitude trek and even expeditions, the right kind of shoe matters. Our daily wear sports, casuals and formal shoes will not last on treks. Trekking shoes are made and manufactured keeping in mind the different types of terrain, weather and many other factors.
We have loads of treks within our country. From day hikes to 8 to 10 days treks in the high altitudes, we have them all. States like Uttrakhand, Himachal, Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh, Sikkim and the entire North east have some amazing trails to trek on. Terrain differs from state to state, mountain range to mountain range.
One needs to keep a lot of things in mind before choosing the right kind of shoe. The terrain, min temp, max temp, exposure to mud & slush, water bodies, direct sunlight, scree, soft snow, hard ice, rains, moraines, river crossings, rocks & boulders etc. There is no one type or brand of shoe that could last for all. So depending upon the area/ region you are trekking in, invest in the shoe. Now choosing the brand certainly is a choice based on taste, colour preference, comfort preference and budget, however what you should look at in a shoe is something far more important.
What to keep in mind before investing in shoes
The safest bet is to go for a high ankle shoe. The entire purpose of a high ankle shoe is to prevent an injury to the foot. Firmer the ankle support, better it is. Next is the material of the shoe, leather/ mesh whatever it is, ensure to invest in a breathable shoe. If the shoe does not have breathable properties, it will get wet with the foot’s sweat after every time usage. The shoe’s sole, as in the grip patterns also matter. The more synchronised the grips are the more friction they create on rocks and boulders. The more scattered the grips are the better the shoe grips. One of the good make for shoe soles are the in trend vibram soles.
Reason for that extra .5 in shoe size
Also, the size of the shoe matters. For a person who’s foot size is 8 it is suggested to go for an 8.5 sized shoe. The reason for this extra .5 is for the foot to have space after long days of treks. When we trek in the high altitudes for over 6 hours for a few days, the blood circulation in our feet increases. Due to this, our feet tend to swell. This extra .5 space sees to it that the shoe tip doesn’t feel tight and the toe does not get a blood clot.
Importance of break-in the shoe:
Buying shoes is one thing and getting used to them is another. A new shoe needs to be worn continuously for 15 to 20 days, 4 to 5 hours a day. This process of the feet getting used to the shoe is called as break –in. Once you break-in well with the shoe, your foot gets used to it and it minimises the risks of shoe bites and blisters.
How to avoid blisters/ fouls smell?
Some people, whose feet are prone to blisters, can avoid blisters by simply taping the toes with doctor tape. On the trek, where chances of washing feet are less, it’s important to put anti fungal powder in the shoes to ensure hygiene. Each morning before wearing the shoes, sprinkle some anti fungal powder (absorb/ clotrimazole/ clocip) and then wear your shoe. If your feet are prone to foul smell, sprinkle some powder into the shoe after the trek as well. Other alternatives to get rid of the foul smell are a small piece of charcoal, tea bags.
What shoes are available in the market?
Quecha Forclaz 500 is a sturdy shoe in Decathlon stores. Basic trekking shoes available in the Indian market are action trekkers, hunter shoes, para-comando boots etc. For some specific treks, you also can invest in a pair of gum boots. Some other brands like Salomon Quest series, Lowa, Scarpa, Merrell, Mendel, keen, North face, La sportive, Salewa, Asolo, Simond, Solognac, Kingcamp, Karimor, Zamberlan, Garment etc, are also available in the market. Make sure to try the fit of the shoe before placing an order.