Mountain shoes are an important choice for walking and hiking in complete comfort and safety.
The types and models of hiking shoes on the market are many, so it is good to ask yourself what use you will make of them.
Mountain shoes: types and characteristics
The main distinguishing marks of a mountain shoe are the height of the shoe and its use, dividing into high, mid and low to be used during the practice of Mountaineering, Approaching, Trail running and Trekking. All these types will differ according to the shape, flexibility and comfort of the fit.
Below you will find the technical characteristics of each type of shoe:
- High: these are the shoes that offer the most ankle protection, being particularly suitable for medium trails such as mountaineering trails;
- Mid: they have a height that reaches the malleolus area and are suitable for relatively easy paths;
- Low: they allow great freedom of movement and a decidedly limited weight. They are suitable for easy routes, being suitable for use in both mountain and urban environments. Some low trekking shoes may have additional technical features that make them suitable for more technical and demanding routes such as, for example, via ferrata;
- Mountaineering and Approach: the main characteristics of the shoes that belong to these categories are to have less flexibility and a more precise and technical fit. In particular, mountaineering shoes are high shoes, made for more demanding routes (high mountains, rock, snow and ice), suitable for all seasons and in many cases have the predisposition for the assembly of crampons. Approach crampons are used for approaching crags, or via ferratas and light climbs. For both the midsole is more rigid, a feature that allows better stability even on small supports, typical natural elements that meet in these environments;
- Trail running: running shoes with specific soles suitable for mountain tracks characterized by a light weight and maximum breathability. As with running shoes, the technologies used for the sole allow to absorb impacts with uneven ground and ensure maximum grip when descending or braking. These shoes are suitable for all those who run in the mountains or want a shoe for “fast” walks on easy trails.
- Trekking: these are hiking shoes, both low and mid, suitable for routes with little difficulty and on regular terrain. uppers can be made of leather, for greater resistance to abrasion, or nylon, for warmer seasons and contain the weight. They are characterized by excellent cushioning, lightness and great comfort. The lighter ones are also suitable for those looking for a Speed Hiking shoe, fast walking, and a growing training methodology.
Waterproofness is a common feature of many shoes, on all there is a membrane placed between the upper and lining that prevents water from coming into contact with the foot.
This characteristic does not depend on the material of the upper, which can be made of classic cordura, mesh, mesh or leather of different thickness, but on the presence or not of a waterproof membrane.
This, in addition to ensuring waterproofing, offers a high degree of breathability thus allowing the release of moisture created by sweating and keeping the foot dry even in mild climates.
The best known membrane is GORE-TEX® which consists of a synthetic fabric with microscopic holes that prevent water drops from entering but allow the water vapour produced by sweating to escape.
The sole is another fundamental element for all mountain shoes as it must always guarantee excellent grip and grip. Vibram is a historical sole manufacturer, recently approached by Michelin, a famous tyre manufacturer, which began to operate in the sports sector, where it is growing rapidly.
Once you have chosen and purchased the shoe that best suits you, it is best to use it after a proper break-in, preferably starting with easy walks, so that the upper will have time to adapt to the shape of your foot. The other useful device to consider is to combine specific socks with mountain shoes, preferably with different thicknesses, to protect the foot in areas where it is necessary and promote good breathability: a dry foot protected from abrasion will help prevent the annoying onset of blisters.
For more information contact our technicians who will support you in choosing the trekking shoes that best suit your needs.