How to choose trekking shoes, socks and accessories

Published by Elena Feresin on

How to choose trekking shoes, socks and accessories

prima e dopo ragazza vestita da montagna

The guide to take your first steps in the mountains and in the shops.

If you have always wanted to hike but you barely started, it is likely that, at some point, you have tried to hike with the clothing you have at home.
You may have recovered your high school suit. You may have wondered if Timberland boots work well on the trails. Or you may have looked at your Converse All-Star and thought “You’ve taken me everywhere, you can face this too.” (That’s me)
In short, you have implemented the Friulian philosophy par excellence “Cumbinin!” (which means “We can do it, somehow”). Which is an excellent philosophy in everyday life, but not so much when you go to the mountains.

What not to wear while hiking

Let’s start immediately with a picture that shows how NOT to dress for a hike.

Fusine Lakes and Rifugio Zacchi, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

Yes, that is me in 2016 during the hike that made me fall in love with mountains. As you can see, I had the typical town-girl-gets-lost-in-the-mountains attire.

After that hike, on my way back to the car, I decided that I liked the mountains and that I absolutely had to get myself suitable clothing.
The next day my relationship with Decathlon began.
I had no one who could advise me, so I shopped blindly. A lot of low-priced options ended up in my cart because I didn’t want to spend a fortune before I was sure that mine was a long-lasting passion and not a flash in the pan.

By the time I met Stefano, I was sure I loved the mountains, hikes multiplied and the clothing I had bought was not enough anymore.

Let me be clear: technical clothing is expensive. But making wrong purchases can cost much more. In some cases, buying the right garment is the best choice.

I would have liked to have someone who could explain all these things to me. So, if you also don’t have psychological shopping help, consider The Writer’s Mountain Hut your support group.

If you don’t know where to start, consider your purchases as a climb. From the bottom up.

How to choose trekking shoes

My grandmother always said, “Quant che tu stâs ben cui pîs, tu stâs ben pardut” (when you are comfortable with your feet, you are comfortable everywhere). And she was right. With the wrong pair of shoes, we are crippled before we even begin.

Eight months after the first hike with Stefano, I was ready for my first important purchase and I bought a pair of trail running shoes and not boots.
Why? Because if you don’t do screes and you limit yourself to the trails in the woods and the forest roads, this type of shoes is more than enough. Modern technology makes them equally adherent but more comfortable and practical. And if you choose them in Goretex, they will also keep your feet dry.

What’s the best trekking shoes brand?

It doesn’t exist. Everyone has different feet; you, therefore, need to find the right brand for your anatomy.
Go to a shop with a wide choice, competent staff and try on the different models. As Cinderella teaches us, when you find the right shoe, you’ll know.
Personally, I’m on the safe side with La Sportiva.
On that August afternoon, I tried half the shop but no shoe was comparable to the comfort I felt with the Akyra GTX.

I felt so good that last fall, thanks to a promotion, I even bought another pair.
I confirmed La Sportiva as my favorite brand also with the boots I bought last January.
Anyway, these are my feet and my brand, you have to find the right combination for you.
Even Stefano wears only La Sportiva shoes.

The shoes that you should NEVER wear while hiking

Converse All Stars, Adidas Superstar, Vans, sandals etc. Are not mountain shoes.
Heels were made for aperitivo in the city center not for trails.
Moon boots keep your feet warm “after skiing” while you drink bombardino on the slopes. On the trails, they are useless and dangerous.
UGG boots were born in Australia as a muscle warmer for surfers. Do you really want to use them in the mountains with snow and ice?

Trekking socks, is it worth it to buy expensive items?

Having good shoes allows you to save on socks. I have one pair of expensive socks, they dry faster but I also use Decathlon in summer and winter!
Even if you choose cheaper socks, choose them technical because they are your best allies against blisters. NO COTTON ALLOWED.

Is it better to buy crampons or snowshoes? 

If in winter the highway code requires you to have chains on board, why should it be different for your feet? If you are in doubt about buying snowshoes or a pair of light crampons, choose the latter.

Without snow, snowshoes are useless, light crampons, on the other hand, always come in handy.

Buy crampons like the one below.

If you want to know  How to choose trekking trousers and underwear click here.


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Elena Feresin


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