Have you ever heard the statement? Buy a good mattress and good shoes because you spend a good majority of your life in one or the other. Buying good quality shoes for hiking is a good idea for many reasons. This is not a post reviewing the top hiking shoes; there are many articles that cover that, this is just some things to think about when picking a shoe. The main thing to think about when purchasing a hiking shoe is what kind of hiking you are going to do and pick the shoe that accommodates that.
The first thing to establish when picking a hiking shoe or boot is; what type of hiking are you going to do. This may be a challenge for some people if they like to do different types of hiking. If this is the case for you there are a couple of strategies, either buy an all-around shoe or buy different shoes for your activities. Keep in mind if you are hiking in the neighborhood a simple comfortable durable athletic shoe might be all you need. If you plan on hiking some more aggressive trails that have uneven surfaces a good ankle support hiking boot is more suitable. Unless you are hiking up ice or snow cliffs, you probably do not need aggressive tread bearing hiking boots. I personally use running shoes for my moderate hikes around town on established trails and if I plan on hiking into the hills or up Mt. Rose, I have a good pair of Keen hiking boots.
The main components of your hiking shoe are insole, upper and tread or outer sole. All of these components are important to your choice of shoe. The insole is important because this is where your foot gets comfort or not depending upon how good it is. The upper should protect your foot from punctures, scrapes, moisture etcetera. Lastly, the outer sole is the base of the shoe and as discussed above has different types of tread for necessary grip coinciding with the trail type. These components are important to consider when picking your shoe or boot and is personal preference.
Having quality hiking shoes is necessary to protect against common hiking injuries. Blisters are the most common hiking injury and can be minimized or avoided by having proper insoles combined with good socks. Ankle sprains are the next most common injury; these are minimized by using the proper support in the upper. Another common injury is plantar fasciitis, once again proper insoles and stretching protect against this annoying injury. These are just a few of the injuries that could arise during hiking, that are avoidable with proper hiking shoes.
Pick your favorite hiking boot or shoe based on what you like. Two of my favorite brands are Keen @KEEN and Lowa @LowaBoots they are both high quality mid-priced boots.