Hiking Questions

I’m getting antsy in the never ending polar vortex and pandemic isolation and am planning hikes I’d like to take. I’m using All Trails and I’ve always wondered when it says “12km out and back trail” does that mean it’s 12km total or 12km one way making it a total of 24km?

Second question while I have your attention. I’m in need of new hiking shoes. What are your lovely people’s thoughts on boots vs. shoes? I’ve been using shoes and am wondering if I need more ankle support? I’d like to do more hiking than before this year. I can handle some scree (my partner hates it but I like pushing myself) but won’t be doing anything too wild.

Can’t wait to get out to the Rockies!! Or anywhere out of the city!


  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    1. It means total
    2. I’d encourage you to go to REI or similar store where you can try on shoes and get some feedback on the brands they carry.
  • Courtscan2
    Courtscan2 Posts: 486 Member
    Means there and back again, so total.
  • SuzySunshine99
    SuzySunshine99 Posts: 2,803 Member
    For footwear...the terrain and length of your hikes make a difference. I have low-cut hiking shoes for shorter, flatter, dirt or crushed limestone trails. For longer hikes, or those with a lot of elevation gain, rocks, and tree roots, I use my high-cut hiking boots for more ankle support. Both pairs have good, solid soles.

    Mine are both Vasque, which is my preferred brand. But, you have to try some out to see what works for you. Good hiking boots and shoes are not cheap, but the cost is worth it on a long hike.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,082 Member
    edited February 2021
    I wear hiking boots for more challenging and uneven terrain and for backpacking. I also prefer boots if I need some extra protection for my ankles from rocks or brush or high grasses that may be damp. I prefer hiking shoes for more moderate terrain and long distances as they are lighter...a pound on your feet is equal to five on your back.

    I wear my boots most of the time due to the terrain of most of the hikes I do, which tend to be shorter mileage wise, but rugged terrain wise.
  • amandaeve
    amandaeve Posts: 720 Member
    I am a moderate hiker, around 6-15 mile trips and nothing that requires equipment or scrambling. Most of the people I hike with wear boots (especially for backpacking) and some use trekking poles or sticks. For some reason, I just can't wear shoes over my ankles. That means none of those cute bootie boots that have been in style, rollerblading or downhill skiing. Never had ankle wraps when I played soccer even. I had to replace my cross country ski boots recently, and the higher ankle on them is killing me. Short story, I do all hiking in trail running shoes, including hiked in the Rockies. If I were you, I would think about past injuries (any foot problems or broken bones?), what shoes have been comfortable in the past, sock preference, and what type of terrain you plan to do. Wear them around for days before hiking too, to make sure they are comfortable.

    Have fun hiking and share photos! :smile:
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,420 Member
    edited February 2021
    It depends on the terrain and how much weight you are carrying. On really rocky trails carrying a heavy load, then boots will help. I used to wear mid-weight boots. Heavy weight leather boots are overkill unless you are climbing glaciers. They take a long time to break in so you get a lot of blisters and put more stress on the knees due to their weight. Now I generally just wear my running shoes for short day hikes and a trail runner for longer hikes. If your trails are well graded dirt and/or you aren't carrying a heavy load, then trail runners are fine for most people.
  • fstrickl
    fstrickl Posts: 881 Member
    Good point @amandaeve ! I have no past injuries, but do have a bunion like a gramma so I’ll make sure the toe isn’t too tight.
    Will definitely post pics! There’s a hiking thread isn’t there?

    Thanks for the tips everyone else! I won’t be doing anything too hardcore, and packs will be fairly light, we car camp and then do day hikes so my packs are usually windbreaker, water, and some lunch/snacks.

    Maybe I’ll keep my old pair for longer walks on easy terrain. I hate throwing things out!
  • tinkerbellang83
    tinkerbellang83 Posts: 9,058 Member
    It all depends on the weather and terrain really, I quite often wear my trail runners for shorter more solid terrain, but I wear boots (Altberg Defender) when doing something off the beaten track, living in Ireland a lot of the hike are across bog land, so my trainers wouldn't stand a chance on those, I've plunged up to the knee a couple of times, so for me it's more about waterproofing than comfort, though they are one of the most comfortable boots I've ever worn, only downside is they're a tad heavy when I wear them occasionally now as they aren't getting many trips out seeing as we're stuck in a 5km radius lockdown 😥
  • cheriej2042
    cheriej2042 Posts: 241 Member
    On your boots, if you plan to hike a lot it could take a while to find the right boot/shoe. Also certain shoe brands are cut for specific fit it seems (for example Montrail seems to be for more narrow feet). Do some online research first. Also you need to size 1/2 larger than your foot so if you wear a size 7.5 you will get an 8. Make sure to also try on your hiking socks with the shoes. I’ve tried almost all the major brands and I’ve been wearing Asolo boots now for 15 years. They fit my feet well and I don’t have any hot spots or blister issues. I have regular hiking shoes that I wear for hikes under 8 miles. Over 8 miles I wear boots with ankle support. If I’m doing like a three week plus trip I may wear my leather boots. As someone else said be cautious of how heavy the shoes are too.