Footwear falls into the 'extremely personal' category. In other words: you're on your own!!
You will probably not find anyone recommending a particular brand name & model of footwear for hiking for several reasons:

  • First of all, the average hiking boot or shoe seldom has a long production life. Let's face it, clothing is fashion driven, and this includes hiking shoes and boots as well. Even the hiking boot undergoes fashion changes; a new colour, a new gimmick, a new fashionable name, etc.
  • The availability of the particular item in your area; a Swiss army knife is available world wide, a piece of footwear rarely makes it out of the country.

So where does this leave the ultralight hiker?

 To boot or not to boot....

Well, let's get this out: Once again (and since this is, you can rely on the ultralight motto: lighter is better!
The ultralight hiker's footwear = running shoes!
Extra weight on the foot is probably the most 'hard working' weight. The foot goes up and down much more than your back — hopefully!
If we list the footwear choices by weight, starting with the heaviest first, the list would look something like this:

  • Heavy military style leather boot
  • Gum boot (or rubber boot)
  • Leather hiking boot
  • Hiking shoe
  • Running shoe

Since a shoe is lighter than a boot, is a shoe the better choice? Most long distance hikers would say yes. The common argument is, that hiking footwear has to give total ankle support. If you want to have the ankle support, there are some fairly lightweight choices out there. It's up to you.

The lightest athletic shoe normally is the running shoe. Some of these are very light, but be careful; some come with lots of fashion gimmicks that add unnecessary weight.

 What about wet feet?

Wet feet is part of the game. The trick is to have 'fast' drying footwear, and the running shoe dries a lot faster than a big boot.

 The socks

The socks will have an impact on your foot comfort.
The ultralight hiker's choice = thin nylon!
Although wool socks will give you warmth like no other, the lightest are the thin nylon types. These are also quite cheap. 


Click here to go back to top of this page.

HomeHikingGear ReviewsShoppingPicturesLinksFeedback

Copyright ©1998-2003, FJORDLAND Entertainment
All rights reserved
Last updated: 4 September 2003