The Edit: The best hiking shoes available in Australia

2022-05-14 21:49:38 By : Mr. Selumis Lasers

If you're going on a long hike, investing in the right shoes in crucial. Image: GettySource:BodyAndSoul

Make the great outdoors your fitness studio, but first make sure you’ve got the right shoes to take you there.

There’s nothing like being confined to your suburb, let alone your home, to make you hungry for the great outdoors, which may explain why hiking has boomed in popularity as more Aussies seek to exercise outside.

This trend was evident in our purchases, says Katia Santilli, co-founder of activewear brand Nimble, who responded by releasing a capsule Trail collection. “Our customers are integrating an ‘escape in nature’ within their post-lockdown routines,” she tells Body+Soul.

As well as the change of scenery (literally), hiking and trail walking also offer boundless benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing, from boosting your vitamin D levels to enforce more screen-free time.

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And the benefit of exercising in fresh air is more potent than we may realise, Santilli says. “Scents have a powerful effect on our health – they’re connected to the emotional centre of our brain. Flora and fauna are full of natural oils and can [help] decrease cortisol levels.”

However, if you plan to go off-road, leave your usual sneakers by the door as they could cause serious injury, warns sports podiatrist Emily Smith.

“Running shoes don’t offer sufficient stability or ankle support to protect the ankle against acute lateral movements,” she explains. In addition, she says, the soles lack enough grip for unstable surfaces; the soft toe box doesn’t protect them against obstacles; and the mesh upper allows for too much movement and water permeation – “which can lead to blisters and lost toenails”.

So your first step to getting off the beaten track? Finding shoes that are up to the task.

The experts reveal the non-negotiable features to look for so that your shoes have you climbing those trails with confidence

Sports podiatrist Emily Smith recommends that you first consider the topography, pace and weather conditions of your chosen trail.

Secondly, think about the shoe’s technical features like laces, support and fabrications. Smith says her must-haves include:

Robert Fry, general manager of product at Kathmandu, says would-be hikers should: “Look for visible thread in the stitching, and reinforcements around the toe box and heel areas.”

He also recommends a padded cuff that closes firmly around the ankle “to keep rocks and other debris out”; waterproofing – “[but] I suggest that you assess how frequently you’ll be tramping through water.

If the answer is, ‘not much’ then opt for a boot without a waterproof liner. On the warm days, your feet will thank you for the extra breathability.”

And lastly, consider the style of shoe you like best. “I used to suggest muted colours to better blend in with one’s surroundings,” Fry tells Body+Soul. “That’s still sound advice, though I find myself [now] gravitating towards much brighter colours in footwear – I think simply because hiking is fun, so it kind of makes sense.”

The North Face Vectiv Exploris Futurelight hiking shoes, $270, thenorthface.com.auSource:BodyAndSoul

Merrell Hydro Quench hiker sandals, $89.95, theiconic.com.auSource:BodyAndSoul

Keen Targhee Vent hiking boots, $239.99, anacondastores.comSource:BodyAndSoul

Hi-Tec Altitude VI Base Camp hiking boots, $179.99, anacondastores.comSource:BodyAndSoul

Kathmandu Mornington hiking boots, $269.98, kathmandu.com.auSource:BodyAndSoul

Rapid waterproof hiking boots, $85.99, mountainwarehouse.com/auSource:BodyAndSoul

Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex hiking shoes, $299.98, kathmandu.com.auSource:BodyAndSoul

The North Face Vectiv Escape IWD hiking shoes, $250, thenorthface.com.auSource:BodyAndSoul

Quecha MH 100 waterproof hiking boots, $99, decathlon.com.auSource:BodyAndSoul

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