The Best Summer Hiking Shoes

Joe's Valley - Uncle Sam's 1If you’ve ever hiked at the peak of summer, you know just how hot it can get on the trail. Hot summer weather is typically enough to thin out the crowds, but if you really love hiking, you won’t let the heat keep you from hitting the trail.

Footwear is key while hiking regardless of the season, but the type of footwear you need changes depending on the weather and conditions. If you need help choosing the best summer hiking shoes, here are some things that you should keep in mind.

Comfort is the most important thing to consider when choosing a hiking shoe. Comfort is a subjective term and it can include many different variables. Things such as padding, support, weight, cut, design, materials, and breathability of a shoe can all play into how comfortable it is, and preference can dictate which of those variables matter most. And of course, a shoe that is completely comfortable in the summer might not be comfortable in the winter and vice versa.

Summer hiking shoes should be lightweight and breathable. Look for low-cut trail shoes made of lightweight, breathable materials and a minimalist construction. The lighter and more breathable your shoes, the easier it will be for your feet to handle the heat.

But while you want to have lightweight shoes, you may still want a sturdy sole and good support. For example, a mesh sock is as lightweight and breathable as it gets, but it provides nothing in terms of support and protection. A boot, on the other hand, delivers protection and support in spades but is too heavy for most people to wear while hiking in the summer. You will want to dial in the ratio of lightweight and support that suits your preference.

If you do opt for a low cut trail shoe, you should plan on wearing tall hiking socks or pants to provide extra protection from the sun, rocks, insects and poisonous plants.

No one would really consider hiking in a mesh sock, but there are, however, people who think it’s a good idea to hike in sandals. Sandals are of course lightweight and breathable, but you shouldn’t wear sandals while hiking because they offer no support and no protection. Read more on why you shouldn’t hike in sandals.

You should avoid waterproof shoes while hiking in the summer. Waterproof hiking shoes are great in cool, wet conditions, but they are not breathable and will give your toes the sweat lodge treatment during the summer.

Instead of waterproof shoes, wear quick drying trail shoes. Any type of lightweight trail shoe will usually dry fairly quickly.

We have a great selection of summer hiking shoes as well as hiking boots. Stop by the store if you’re in Northwest Arkansas, and check them out!

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