Choosing the Right Hiking Boots & Shoes for Spring 2017

Published by Englin's Fine Footwear on 31st Mar 2017

Spring's warmer weather has us yearning for the outdoors. Blue skies, a quiet forest, fresh morning air… there's no better feeling than getting outside and hitting the trails. If the wilderness is your home away from home, you probably already know the importance of wearing tough, high-quality, supportive hiking boots. At Englin's Fine Footwear, we're ready to help you get out and enjoy the sunshine. Check out our suggestions below to choose the right hiking boots for Spring 2017, then find some trailmates and let the adventure begin!

Why Do I Need Boots Specifically for Hiking?

Maybe you're asking yourself why your work boots, gym shoes, or other comfy kicks won't cut it out in the wild. Why should you buy a pair of shoes or boots that only gets worn on camping trips or weekend excursions? Don't make the mistake of heading out into the woods unprepared. A good set of hiking footwear is an absolute essential, and a great pair will enhance your outdoor experience more than you could imagine.

First, hiking boots and shoes are durable. They can handle the tough terrain and unexpected conditions that are par for the course when you're exploring the outdoors. Hiking boots are made of tough materials that can stand up to your active, rugged lifestyle.

Hiking boots and shoes are also comfortable and supportive. When you're miles from civilization, the last thing you want is aching, blistered feet. Hiking boots are made to protect your feet and ankles, and they offer the cushioning and stability you need to keep going. If you hike in shoes that are made for other purposes, you run the risk of pain and injury.

If you're headed for the trail, keep in mind that the wrong pair of shoes can completely ruin your wilderness adventure. Only trust your feet to actual hiking boots!

How Do I Choose the Right Boots for Me?

Once you've realized how important hiking boots are, your next question will probably be, "Which pair should I buy?" With so many choices, picking the right pair can be difficult and confusing. Here are some things to consider:

  • Boot or shoe? You can choose hiking boots that cover your ankles or hiking shoes that more closely resemble sneakers. Mostly, it's a matter of personal preference, but if you need extra ankle support, mid-height boots are the way to go. You may also want to consider higher-cut hiking boots if you're going to be tramping through brush or over treacherous terrain. If you're a trail runner, there are specific shoes for that as well.

  • Materials and features. Consider your hiking plans. If you don't plan on going off-trail or beating up your shoes too much, you can probably get away with very basic hiking footwear. If you want something more high-performance, seek out tried-and-true features like GORE-TEX® or M Select™ DRY waterproofing, a grippy Vibram® outsole, and an anatomically contoured footbed. Your feet will thank you!

  • Fit. Comfort is key in hiking footwear. Sore feet can cut short an otherwise wonderful hike. When choosing your hiking shoes or boots, make sure there's a bit of extra room in the toe box. One good tip is to try on hiking boots in the afternoon or evening, when your feet have naturally swollen a bit from the day's walking. And you'll always be better off breaking in your hiking boots by wearing them a few times in your daily life or on a short hike before you take them on a longer trip.

  • Brand. What's in a name? Quite a lot, actually. Brands like  MerrellNew Balance, and  Keen have proven themselves as names you can trust when it comes to hiking boots and trail running shoes. One look at the reviews, and you'll understand why choosing these brands over less dependable ones always pays off in the end.

What are Some Examples of Great Hiking Boots and Shoes?

Now that you have an idea of what you're looking for, it's time to check out some of our favorite styles. These reliable hiking boots, hiking shoes, and trail running shoes will carry you through your favorite outdoor activities in comfort. Don't mistreat your hardworking feet. For a wilderness experience to remember, choose from our premium quality hiking footwear and feel as great at the end of the trail as you did with the first step!

Hiking Shoes: 

Women's Merrell Moab WaterproofMen's Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof

Women's Merrell Moab Waterproof                Men's Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof

Left: Women's Merrell Moab Waterproof in Dusty Olive. // Right: Men's Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof in Espresso. Also available in Bark Brown

The Merrell Moab collection is legendary for a reason. These hiking boots and shoes give new meaning to the words "high performance." Beloved by outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes, the Merrell Moab line has something to offer hikers at every level. 

The Women's Merrell Moab Waterproof boasts an upper of waterproof leather and mesh with a synthetic leather toe cap and heel counter. A cushy bellows tongue repels debris, while a breathable, moisture-wicking mesh lining keeps feet cozy and dry. The Moab Waterproof also features Merrell's proprietary M Select™ FIT.ECO odor-controlling footbed, which is contoured for comfort and support. 

For men, the new Men's Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof is a smart choice. This recently released update on the classic Moab style is made from performance suede leather and mesh, and M Select™ DRY waterproofing technology locks out moisture. A foam-cushioned bellows tongue and a rubber toe cap help to protect your feet. In the men's style, the reimagined M Select™ FIT.ECO+ footbed offers arch and heel support as well as odor control. A durable, traction-enhancing Vibram® TC5+ sole finishes off this impressive hiker.

Curious about the difference between the new Merrell Moab 2 and the original Merrell Moab? Read more about the new Merrell Moab 2 collection.

Hiking Boots: 
Women's Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof
Men's Merrell Moab Mid GORE-TEX®

Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof in Grey/Periwinkle             Men's Merrell Moab Mid GORE-TEX

Left: Women's Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof in Grey/Periwinkle. // Right: Men's Merrell Moab Mid GORE-TEX® in Dark Tan. Also available in Beluga and Dark Earth.  

More Moabs? You'd better believe it. The ankle-high version, known as the Moab Mid, offers a little added protection and ankle support. If you prefer hiking boots to hiking shoes, Merrell has you covered!

The Women's Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof has many features that are similar to the hiking shoe version, including the waterproof leather and mesh upper, synthetic leather toe cap and heel counter, and protective bellows tongue. A Merrell QForm® Comfort midsole and an Ortholite® anatomical midsole combine to make every step as easy and comfortable as the last. A lug depth of 5mm on its Vibram® Multi-Sport Sole gives the Moab Mid Waterproof excellent traction on challenging terrain.

The Men's Merrell Moab Mid GORE-TEX® is a near-twin to the women's Moab Mid Waterproof, with just a few slight differences: These boots keep out moisture with a layer of GORE-TEX® rather than Merrell's own waterproofing technology, and they feature a compression molded EVA footframe for comfort. Don the Merrell Moab Mid of your choice and you're ready for a day of outdoor fun!

Trail Running Shoes:
Women's Merrell Agility Peak Flex
Men's Merrell Agility Peak Flex

Women's Merrell Agility Peak Flex           Men's Merrell Agility Peak Flex

Left: Women's Merrell Agility Peak Flex in Liberty. Also available in Black and Navy. // Right: Men's Merrell Agility Peak Flex in Black. Also available in Dark OliveMerrell Orange, and Wild Dove.

Trail running is one of the most invigorating ways to get your exercise. Out in the wild, it's just your pounding heart, your feet on the path, and the beauty of nature. If you love running, you already understand that quality shoes are crucial. Trail running shoes are built for distance and rugged terrain in addition to the stability, comfort, and support that runners need for success.

It's all in the name with the Merrell Agility Peak Flex. Both the men's and women's versions offer the same impressive list of features, starting with an upper of breathable fabric, mesh, and TPU that's enhanced with reflective details for visibility in low light. Merrell's precision Omni-Fit lacing system gives you a personalized, perfect fit. A supportive TPU heel counter protects your ankle during descents and sharp turns, while an EVA footbed and EVA midsole give you stability and comfort. Worried about odors? M Select™ FRESH antimicrobial agents help keep your shoes smelling fresh and clean. Underfoot, an M Select™ GRIP outsole keeps you upright with dependable traction on wet or dry ground.

What Else Do I Need to Know about Hiking Boots and Shoes?

Merrell is a premier brand for outdoor footwear, but you'll also find high-quality options from other brands like Keen hikers and water sandals or New Balance trail running shoes. Whichever shoe style or brand you choose, you'll find the very best hiking boots and shoes at Englin's Fine Footwear!