Hiking boot benefits
Trainers are very comfortable for general urban use, but provide little or no ankle protection to the wearer. Hiking boots are slightly heavier, thanks to the additional support that is provided to the user. The grip is also more tactile, providing a sure footed platform on uneven ground. Even less expensive hiking boots that eschew modern materials such as Gore-Tex usually provide a measure of water resistance that is not provided by trainers, which is something of particular importance on all but the shortest excursions.
Scarpa boots are provided to elite military formations across the world, including the British Royal Marines. The Scarpa Terra Gore-Tex boot offers water resistant protection thanks to a performance lining that encases the entire foot. Despite being almost totally waterproof, the material is very breathable and allows perspiration to exit from the boot, meaning the feet remain comfortable for long periods of time. Weighing only 600 grams each, the boots are extremely tough and supply the user with plenty of support and protection when out on the trails.
A popular American brand, Keen hiking boots have a reputation for comfort and reliability. The Keen Gypsum hiking boot is a lighter option than the Scarpa Terra boot, weighing only 482 grams. It does not ride as high over the ankles as a result, but still provides ample support and protection for a moderate hike. The Gypsum boots come with patented Keen.Dry waterproof breathable membrane to keep the feet dry, and a rigid heel support structure to help prevent injuries to the feet on uneven terrain.
Columbia has created quality footwear for decades and the Bugaboot Plus II is an addition to the popular Bugaboot line. Available in black leather or with a disruptive pattern material print, the insulated and waterproof winter boot sports an extra tall collar to provide exceptional protection for the ankles and support for the lower calves. The Bugaboot Plus II is a particularly well-insulated boot, providing additional protection for the feet in extremely cold conditions. The extra insulation does come at a cost, and the boots are heavier than the Keen Gypsum weighing around 600 grams.
Intended for more casual hikers, the Nike Lunarstorm boot is a lightweight option sold as part of the Nike ACG range. Featuring patented Nike Lunarlon technology, the boot provides the wearer with a large amount of cushioning that is more reminiscent of a quality running shoe than a hiking boot. Springy and comfortable, the boot has a soft rubber outsole with plenty of grip. However, the flexibility of the boot hinders some of the support aspects. As such, it is an excellent choice for casual walkers but is not always suitable for lengthier hikers or particularly inclement weather.
The Merrell Proterra is a hiking boot better suited for casual walks than aggressive excursions into the wild. The Proterra is a lightweight, minimalist lace-up hiking option incorporating Merrell Stratafuse technology that allows the synthetic midsole and mesh uppers to mould to the feet better than heavier leather options, allowing for almost no "breaking in" period. Despite being light and comfortable, the shoe manages to fit protective toe and heel caps as to provide a measure of protection.