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People tend to opt either for a hiking boot or a trail runner, forgetting that there is another alternative on the market that lies somewhere in between, the humble walking shoe.
A walking/hiking shoe is essentially a hiking boot that is cut below the ankle. Whether you opt for it over a trail runner or hiking boot comes down to the type of terrain you’ll be using it on. The big appeal of them is that they are lighter than a hiking boot which means carrying less weight on your feet. This can really make a difference over long distances. They are much tougher than a trail runner especially if you’re carrying a load.
The Targhee range has been around for a long time for a reason, they are reliable. And with every update, they get even better. The Targhee 3 has a tough leather construction meaning it’s both hardy and durable. It’s also not super heavy and is very comfortable. It’s a great option for the casual hiker with zero break-in time required and plenty of support and traction for non-technical trails. It also comes in both men and women fits.
Available from: Cotswold Outdoor
Price: From €71
If you are looking for a pair that you’d get away with off the trails too, then Columbia’s Redmond is your best bet. It’s also one of the cheapest pairs you’ll find for how good it is. The shoe is fully waterproof, lightweight and comfortable. It has tough rubber soles that will protect your feet from rough terrain and they will keep you pretty warm in cold weather. It’s a shoe that will stand up in all seasons and will last forever if you treat them well.
Available from: Cotswold Outdoors
Meindl is known for making great footwear. The Respond is no exception. It is waterproof, breathable and sturdy. It’s built for tough trekking over varied terrain and the GORE-TEX lining will keep you comfortable in all conditions. It has several great little details that make it a winner, including a sole unit that provides great grip, a cupped heel stabiliser and a toe protector.
Available from: Great Outdoors & 53 Degrees North
If you are wanting a shoe for very technical terrain this may not be for you. However, the Moab is arguably the most popular shoe on the market for less rigorous adventures. It is a comfortable fit with great cushioning in the heel. This makes it ideal for day hikes and lightweight backpacking.
Available from: 53 Degrees North
Hiking Boots: The Essential Guide to Getting the Perfect Fit
The X Ultra 3 GTX is a very popular choice and one of the best on the market. It offers everything you want from a trail shoe including lightness, durability and comfort. Its updated thread design and cushioned interior ensure you won’t be in agony at the end of a long day on the trail. Salomon is a trail running brand and their knowledge really shines through on this design. A particular feature we love is the single-pull laces, helpful for a fast and secure fit.
Available from: Wilde Side Sports
The Ultra Train 2 is one of the newest speed hiking shoes on the market and they are impressing us from the off. What we like about these shoes is the incredible arch support. They are super comfortable and specifically designed to offer grip and support for speed hiking adventures and mountain training. The sole and midsole promote natural movement and sure-footedness. While the Anti-Rock Heel Cup fixes the heel firmly in place, adding extra stability and protection.
Available from: Radar Stores, Limerick & Adventure.ie, Laragh
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By Orla O'Muiri
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