A Guide to Trekking boots and Find out the best trekking shoes (Waterproof, durable, suitable for Himalayan Treks + the Western Ghats treks in South India).
Buying Trekking shoes for women or men always is a confused business because of the variety of the factors like price, durability, Waterproof trekking shoes, grip, ankle support, material, weight etc. are associated with the trekking boots.
So in these situations, how to decide for which trekking boots you should go for. So, before introducing some trekking shoes, I decided to talk about the factors to look for before buying a trekking shoe.
Buying factors Guide for Trekking boots/ Best Trekking shoes:
1. Weather/ climate (Rainy/ humid/ warm/ cold) & trekking shoes:
Trekking Boots, not trekking shoes, are mostly suitable for a cold/ rainy weather (Himalayan Treks). A waterproof trekking boot provides protection against cold and rain and keeps our feet warm. Also, it provides better grip for trekking.
While the trail runner or a normal shoe is better for humid/ warm climate (South India treks) because it allows better breathability. Also since dried up trails does not need so better grip.
2. Waterproof Trekking shoes:
In rainy or in snowy weather (Himalayan treks), the trekking boots is preferred because it keeps our feet warm. Hiking boots also provide waterproofness from the outside elements.
On the other hand, a trail runner need not be waterproof. Sometimes, water does slip in through the peripherals. Since in warm/ humid environment (Treks in South India), chances of water sit-in are lesser along with the frequent change of socks, trail runners are better.
3. Weight you intend to carry while on Treks:
If you are planning to go for short treks around Bangalore or Chennai or in the Western Ghats, say 1-2 days, You would be carrying much lesser weight when compared to Chadar trek or Himalayan treks. Trail runner are perfect for lesser weight as they do not affect our heals or heap and thus, need no support from the shoes.
On the other hand, if you are planning to go for longer treks like Himalayan Treks where you have to carry heavier weights for longer days, I would advise you for the real trekking boots.
4. Terrain of the Treks:
If the terrain is even, terrain runners are better. However, the Western Ghats terrains in South India are sometimes not even mostly after 3000-4000 feet. While ascending, the rocks are little sleepery and sometimes, you can find pebbeles on the trek too. With trail runner, pebbles can go inside the shoe and cause uneasiness.
Also, while descending, Ankle support is needed in Himalayan as well as South India treks because the steps are uneven. Sometimes you have to step over bigger rocks and sometimes, you have to walk on plain grasslands. If it rains a little, the trail becomes slippery and ankle support is a must then.
5. Duration of the trek/hike:
As mentioned before, for a shorter duration trek like the Western Ghats treks of 1-2 days, Trail runners are better but for longer durations treks like Himalayan treks, trekking boots are a must.
6. Ankle support
Hiking boots have better ankle support while trail runner does not come with ankle support.
7. Hiking shoe’s Traction
Hiking boots have better traction than the trail runner.
8. Protection against small worms and leeches:
Hiking boots have better protection against worms and leeches than trail runners.
9. Weight of the shoe:
Since Hiking boots are more durable thus they need better materials too. With ankle support added, hiking boots essentially weight lot more than lightweight trail runner or normal sports shoes.
10. Durability of the Trekking shoes:
Hiking boots are far more durable than Trail runners and sports shoes. So if you are serious about hiking go for Hiking boots
Comparison of different trekking shoes over Western Ghats treks in South India:
During monsoon Treks:
During monsoon, you are surely going to encounter these inevitable things on a south India trek.
3. slippery trails (Need ankle support & better traction)
5. Cold (Need waterproof & thick material to prevent) etc.
Trail runners during monsoon treks in western Ghats:
Trail runners are not going to work at all against any of these factors during monsoon treks. A trail runner would rather expose your legs more to leeches, rain, and mud. Since trail runner does not have better traction than hiking boots, it would also become harder for a hiker to hold grips on wet rocks or trails. Since water could easily sip in through the helms peripherals of the trail runners, the feet would also get wet.
Hiking Boots during monsoon treks in the Western Ghats:
On the other hand, a hiking boot which is waterproof would provide you better protection from the leeches, better mud grip and protection, Better traction on slippery trails and will also help to keep the feet warm; fits better with the leech socks or Goretex socks.
Better choice for monsoon treks in the Western Ghats: Hiking boots
Post monsoon treks:
Trekking factors to look out for post monsoon treks in western Ghats:
In post monsoon treks, the sun would be shining warmer; you would sweat more; socks would get wet quickly because of the sweat and trails would be dried up.
Trail runners post monsoon treks in western Ghats:
Trail runners would a perfect choice for post monsoon treks since they will ease up the feet soaking; easy dry; easy to remove socks
Hiking boots post monsoon treks in western Ghats:
Would allow low breathability than trail runner so, not a good choice when the weather would be warm.
Since trails would be dried up and rocks would also not be slippery, a better traction is not much needed then. So, hiking boots is not necessarily needed.