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Tips for choosing your hiking boots

It’s crucial to have proper footwear when going on an excursion. There are many different technologies, models and brands to choose from, but the most important is to make sure your shoes are appropriate for the activity. Desert terrain, rainy weather or a snow-covered mountain? Follow these tips to prepare accordingly and enjoy each step of your experience.
April 11, 2022

Diego Salas

Trekking shoes are a fundamental element when planning an adventure in nature.  Our feet are literally the main support we have while hiking, and as such, it’s important to use footwear that best adapts to the challenges that lie ahead.

Nowadays, many different types of hiking boots and shoes exist.  Not just different brands, there are also different technologies to provide more comfort, resistance, or grip for tougher terrain.

So, how to choose the best shoes for going on excursions with Tierra Hotels?  Is Goretex or Waterproof better?  With ankle support, or low cut?  In this article you’ll find some tips and recommendations that will help you choose the best type of shoe for you and your favorite adventures.

Trekking shoes give us security.

The most common technologies: Waterproof vs. Water-resistant

The shoe industry has created a variety of different technologies for hiking shoes, but the most commonly known ones are waterproof and water-resistant.

Goretex is the first patented membrane technology brand.  This consists of a very fine layer of politetrafluoroethylene which, in summary, prevents water from entering the inside of the shoe, while at the same time allowing sweat to escape.  It is said that this membrane contains 1400 million pores in just one square centimeter.

This makes it both a water-resistant and breathable technology, which keeps the foot dry and at an optimal temperature.  For this reason, it’s recommended when hiking across a river, when it has rained a lot or when rain is in the forecast.  The material also dries much quicker than other shoes.

There are different types of Goretex.  The Extended type is ideal for warm climates and more strenuous activities; Performance is for any type of weather, but with less physical strain; Insulated is made for winter, with an extra layer; and Surround is the most advanced and breathable type.  A few alternatives to Goretex that also use membrane technology include Hyvent, Sympatex and Omnidry.

On the other hand, Waterproof technology utilizes a very different method, which consists of spreading a chemical product over the entire surface of the shoe to leave it completely waterproof.  However, as it’s not a breathable material, it’s very important to consider beforehand which activities the shoes will be used for, how many kilometers they’ll need to cover and the type of terrain.

If you plan on going on a long trek, most likely sweat and heat from waterproof shoes will irritate your feet.  But if you’re going a shorter distance and plan on being in a humid area for an extended amount of time, such as for taking pictures, this type of footwear works well and will provide protection.

Excursions at Tierra Atacama

Types of soles

While trekking, it’s normal to come across complicated terrain.  The trails tend to be in good conditions, but there are always areas that put the resistance and grip of our shoes to the test.  It may be a rocky terrain, a slope with loose sand, mud or snow.  It’s important that the shoe has a good sole that supports us, is comfortable while walking and holds up through many adventures.

Once again, when choosing our trekking shoes, it’s important to think of the type of excursion we want to use them for. Running shoes, for example, may seem comfortable, but we know from experience that this ends up being a bad idea.  The same goes for work boots.  They may be very tough, but they’re not made for this type of activity.

There is a shoe brand that is very commonly used for outdoor sports.  It’s called Vibram, and it’s logo is normally found in the sole of its shoes.  Its traction technology and wear resistance make it recommendable for all types of weather and terrain, including ice and snow.  Another good alternative is Contagrip.

For long walks, it’s important to use a flexible and comfortable shoe.  A good bit of advice that we can give you is to start using your shoes before embarking on a long hike. Try walking around your neighborhood to break them in.  This way, they’ll adapt to your feet and won’t feel so rigid during your main challenge.

Excursions at Tierra Atacama

Diferences between high, mid and low-cut boots

In order to avoid injuring the ankle, high or mid-cut boots are recommended.  This is the main function of this element that characterizes trekking shoes: provide stability while walking, especially for those who aren’t used to these activities.

That being said, it’s important to know that when lacing up the shoes, they should not be too tight around the foot or ankle.  Even though they may feel firm and secure at the beginning, during the walk you’ll need them to be a little bit loose.  If not, you’ll run the risk of injury.

Ankle protection goes beyond just keeping the foot secure.  There is something called proprioception, which is the unconscious perception of the body’s position and movements.  This means that by feeling the graze of the high-cut boot on our ankle, we’ll be better prepared and alert before falling.

What’s more, of course, by using high-cut boots our ankles and feet are better protected from branches, mud or rocks which we will surely encounter along the way.

Excursions at Tierra Atacama

Excursions with Tierra Hotels

To sum up, we can point out water-resistant shoes as the best option for the diverse excursions offered by Tierra Hotels.  The most important thing to consider when choosing your shoes is the characteristics and difficulty levels of the activities you wish to partake in.  For example, if you plan to visit Tierra Atacama and go on some of the available hikes, keep in mind that, due to the heat and dryness of the Atacama Desert, it is very important that our feet can breathe and regulate temperature.

In the case of Tierra Chiloé, the excursions normally tend to be accompanied by rains or muddy trails.  The green native forests of the island have very humid soil, and oftentimes we find ourselves crossing through water, so it is important to have the appropriate footwear, which will keep our feet dry and warm.

A similar situation can be found in the activities offered at Tierra Patagonia.  Here, in addition to mud and rain, we must consider the possibility of snow.  It is said that, in the Torres del Paine National Park and its surroundings, we can experience four seasons in just one day.  For this reason, it’s important to be well prepared and dress in layers.

To see the excursions we have available at Tierra Hotels, write to us at info@tierrahotels.com and start planning your best vacation and adventures in nature with us.



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