I have been hiking for quite some time now, mostly in Germany where I used to live. My old sneakers and nordic walking poles did me just fine there since there were tons of well carved out, maintained trails.
Now that I am in Hawaii where there are drastic differences in climate and trail conditions on one island, my tennies are not doing so well. One hike I went on was a virtual rainforest with lots of mud that almost caused me to slip and kill myself. I hiked Koko Crater yesterday that was so incredibly dry and dusty, that loose dirt also almost caused me to slip and kill myself.
Any suggestions for hiking boots/shoes??? I am clueless about them!
Thanks in advance!
I have been wanting a pair for running in when I get to goal weight and are ready to turn in my Nike Frees, but for hiking? Really?
Visit a store and find somebody who really knows what they are talking about (and take somebody with you who is experienced). Try a few pairs and make sure you walk up a slope and down a slope. Take your time and don't be rushed into making a decision. Make a couple of visits if need be.
Assuming that you are female, I might suggest you look at a make which has a range specifically for women, probably with slightly narrower footbeds (suit fellas with narrow feet as well). They look exactly the same as the mens range but different widths not just 'pinked and shrinked'.
After that it's down to experience and personal preference.
barefoot, or VFF, but then I'm a kook!
Once you learn that you create your own reality and that you are fully responsible for your life, you can begin to see the world as it is and then you realize the limitless possibilities.
I wouldn't hike on predominantly wet rocks with my VFFs. But, on other terrains such as wooded trails, etc, I like the security of being able to actually feel and adapt to what's under my feet (w/ my KSO Treks). It does take a while to get used to them on those terrains, so if you're not really comfortable with them, gt74's advice is spot on.
I started up a hill on Sauturdayin shoes, hit some boggy ground, foot sank in deep, shoe got wet...
As someone who enjoys barefoot hill sprints, and generally being barefoot, I decided to rid myself of the burden of shoes, and throw them in my backpack. Mud, slippery wet grass, and massive winds, and I was just fine. Running up and down the peaks was wonderful.
Try barefoot and see how it goes, and feel the joy as your feet begin to feel alive again. If you don't like it, get some shoes.
Oh, and if your feet feel sensitive on gritty ground at first, don't worry about it, they will harden to that very quickly.
Apparently I suck at life, so I'm crowd-sourcing my decisions, and sharing what I learn.
My fresh start in London
I tried VFF but they don't work for my feet, so I just started to go barefoot. It took a few times before I could do an entire hike BF (I carried a pair of trail runners w/ me and put them on when my feet were feeling to tender to continue). But after a few hikes, I was able to go the whole way BF - even a short stretch on a gravel road.
I'm sure I'll have to start over again now that winter has passed, but I'm looking forward to it - it feels SO good to actually FEEL everything under your feet - the squish of the mud, the texture of the roots, the warmth of a sunny rock... plus, I noticed that birds and animals wouldn't hear me coming from so far away - without trying to be sneaky, I could get very close before they realized I was there. I even surprised myself one day to look up and find myself about 20 feet away from a deer that hadn't yet seen me (it was pretty dense underbrush).