Although the relentless rain of the past few weeks may lead you to believe otherwise, it is actually summer which means that we should be outside enjoying the great outdoors.
Making sure you have quality travel gear is key to a successful summer trekking holiday. And if day hikes are your ambition, then you are going to want to make sure you’ve the best light hiking shoes on your feet.
Resembling chunky running shoes, light hiking shoes are generally synthetic and low cut with flexible midsoles designed to enable you to move at speed on or off trail.
The greatest advantage of hiking shoes is that they weigh less than hiking boots, meaning that less energy is exerted per pace. Here’s more about buying and a selection of the best for 2012.
The best light hiking shoes are more breathable than heavier leather boots and take less time to break in which can help with preventing hotspots and the dreaded blister when out in the hills.
The problem is that there are so many shoes of this type currently on the market that it can be difficult to know which are best suited to trekking holidays and which would be better just for the occasional weekend wander.
We’ve compiled a guide to some of the best products currently out there so why not take advantage of the inclement weather to have a read through, do some research and get yourself armed with the right kit so that when the clouds do finally clear, you’re ready to get out on the trail!
Haglofs Crag GTX – 510g
Available in both mens and womens models, the Crag GTX is a light, versatile and waterproof hiking shoe. The long and asymmetric lacing of the Crag GTX has been designed with fit and comfort in mind while the integration of a SOLE footbed provides the shoe with superior support and stability.
The sticky rubber used provides serious traction and the rubber reinforced toe and heel of the Crag GTX means this is a durable product built to last.
The North Face Hedgehog GTX – 413g
The Hedgehog GTX has been designed for speed hiking as it is a lightweight and low cut shoe that is also waterproof and breathable. Comfort is provided by compression moulded mid soles and the ergonomic Northotic footbeds while the grippy Vibram outsole takes care of traction on the trail.
This is a streamlined yet supportive shoe that continues to prove itself year after year and remains one of the best light hiking shoes on the market.
Salomon X Ultra GTX – 397g
The X Ultra GTX is Salomon’s best shoe for fast hiking on mixed terrain. A technical trail shoe with a stable chassis, extra protection and a Gore-Tex membrane, the X Ultra GTX has it all and is also available in both male and female specific designs. Salomon’s Quicklace system prioritises speed and simplicity while the integration of EVA footbeds and midsole means that comfort is not sacrificed out on the hill.
Adidas Terrex Fast X GTX – 386g
The Terrex Fast X GTX offers 100% weather protection during fast paced outdoor pursuits. This is an incredibly technical shoe which uses the outdoor specific FORMATION unit for enhanced motion control and downhill comfort.
The use of high abrasion mesh and synthetic upper materials offer breathability and durability which is complemented by the ADIPRENE and TRAXION technologies which provide propulsion, agility and traction.
Millet Axiome GTX – 420g
This mountain trail shoe by French company Millet is ideal for fast hiking up high. Comfortable, flexible and strong, it is responsive and absorbs shock well.
The Gore-Tex JAZZ membrane means it is a stretchy, waterproof and breathable product while the low cut allows maximum ankle flex when moving at speed. This is a great looking shoe that is designed to answer the specific demands of speed hiking in a mountain environment.
Berghaus Benefaction II GTX Technical Shoe – 420g
The Benefaction range from Berghaus are designed to deliver optimum protection and comfort while out on the hill. Constructed from high quality, hard wearing synthetics, water resistant knit mesh and rubber with a Gore Tex performance quality lining, the Benefaction II is a durable, waterproof and breathable shoe ready to tackle any trail on all trekking holidays regardless of difficulty. The Vibram sole is lightweight and fast and allows for optimum traction on difficult terrain.
Garmont Zenith Trail GTX – 510g
The Zenith is a breathable, low cut shoe featuring a heel lock retention system that wraps around your foot providing incredible hold and support. With a lightweight EVA comfort core and a stabilising PU midsole perimeter, this is a versatile, quick and light product that delivers as a 3 season hiking shoe.
At 510g, this is a heavier shoe than most in this sector but this is because it is a really solid product built to perform in serious terrain.
Patagonia P26 A/C – 419g
The P25 A/C is a lightweight, breathable shoe designed with comfort, support and protection in mind. With the integration of EVA and Vibram technologies, this shoe has all the quality of others on the market but it is the use of recycled materials that make it stand apart.
So if you’re looking for a technical shoe that delivers in terms of stability, durability and traction and satisfies an element of your eco-conscience, then the P26 A/C is the shoe for you.
Whatever light hiking shoe you end up buying, the most important factors to take into consideration are the following:
Sole: must be maximised to provide grip, durability and traction
Uppers: should use materials to help create a breathable, cushioned and protected shoe
Mid sole: needs to provide support and stability without sacrificing comfort and agility
Fit: no matter how fancy the technology or pretty the colour, if the shoe doesn’t fit your foot it won’t perform for you.
Make sure that you find the right product to complement your individual foot, choice of terrain, and make it work for your particular needs which might well involve the addition of a personalised insole.
Taking your time to get it right from the start will pay dividends when you’re out on the trail!
For more trekking blogs and guides, check out: Basic compass skills 1: Finding your way/ Trekking Boots: New models for 2012 / Adventure Sports Gear: Penknife or Multitool? / Meals for camping trips and trekking holidays
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- Sailing Gear: Buying boat shoes
- Trekking Boots: New models for 2012
4 Comments to “Best Light Hiking Shoes of 2012”
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