Saturday, August 16, 2014

Outdoor Footwear (S.A.)

(S.A. = Satire Alert) The traditional all leather hiking boots of the 1970s, stiff and heavy, have given way over the years to much lighter versions made from a variety of synthetic materials. The newer boots are durable, and they dry faster when they get wet. They are also very expensive.

I subscribe to the Ray Jardine school of thought on hiking footwear. Jardine touts regular running shoes as the best thing to wear for most people. They are lighter, dry faster, and give a better tactile feel of the ground than stiff boots. He believes this feel for ground irregularities is important for helping to avoid twisted ankles, allowing you to sense and respond quicker to ankle stressing rocks and holes. Jardine also contends that the ankle support that many hiking boots claim to give is a myth, and that the best defense against sprains is an ankle strengthened by much walking and hiking. I agree with Jardine, and usually hike in a pair of Nunn Bush all-terrain walking shoes. I chose these over a standard running shoe mainly for their availability in wider sizes.

My oldest daughter, Heather, always an innovator, is also breaking new ground in the field of outdoor footwear. She chose this little number pictured below for a recent hike at Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway. They are apparently lightweight and provide that good tactile feel for the ground that Jardine recommends. The lace pattern makes them breathable to keep your feet cool and comfortable in the summer. I'm sure they dry quickly too. However, durability seems questionable, and finding them in mens' sizes could be a problem. I think I'll stick with what I have for now.

Stylish Hiking

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