Walking shoes vs. trainers
Amateur walkers are often loath to make the change from the comfortable shoes they first started walking with. While trainers have their uses because they are very comfortable and flexible, they also provide almost no ankle support. Quality hiking shoes or boots often feel heavy and uncomfortable to consumers that have recently made the change, but they are soon broken in, becoming more comfortable and flexible.
They bring plenty more than just comfort to the table, too, providing the wearer with heel and toe protection that is often lacking in trainers and running shoes. While not as supportive as proper hiking boots, they do provide limited ankle support, greatly decreasing the risk of an inverted ankle, or worse.
Asics are one of the biggest names in athletic and running shoes, but the famous footwear manufacturer also creates a limited range of specialised walking shoes. The Asics Gel Resort 2 is a quality walking shoe with a gel-cushioned insole to support the feet. The laces reach high up the shoe to provide ample support, and it also has a particularly soft lining and a pleasantly padded lining to help prevent chafing.
Rockport is a brand highly regarded around the world for the quality of its footwear, and the Rockport truWALKzero II is the result of collaboration between Rockport and the sportwear manufacturer Adidas. The truWALKzero II is a minimalist walking shoe that is very light, yet ruggedly constructed with patented ADIPRENE technology, a highly shock-absorbent material that protects the heel upon impact with the ground. The shoe also features an anti-microbial lining to help wick sweat away from the feet and keep your socks dry no matter how far you walk.
A shoe designed to cope with even the worst weather, the Merrell Chamelon 5 Waterproof is a lightweight backpacking shoe that is sure to keep your feet dry in almost any conditions. With suede leather outer-lining and an M-Select DRY lining, the shoe uses technical materials designed to keep external water out, while simultaneously allowing sweat to evaporate. The shoe also sports a 2 mm thick EVA insole to protect the feet from bruises caused by rocks and debris underfoot, a padded tongue with bellows to keep debris out, and moulded arch supports.
A durable yet relatively lightweight shoe, the Eskape Peak features breathable split suede upper and plenty of protection in the heels and toes. It also sports a padded EVA foam insert similar to those found in the Chameleon 5 so they are sure to be comfortable and require less time to properly break in. The Eskape also uses a patented Salomon Contragrip outsole that is both extremely hardwearing and tactile, allowing for an excellent level of grip on all but the most slippery trail.
The Merrell Tucson is a mid-height hiking shoe with raised sides to help support the ankles. It also has excellent traction thanks to self-cleaning lugs on the sole that provide superb grip on almost any surface. It comes with a Gore-Tex performance lining to keep your feet dry in inclement weather, and the protective footbed is removable if you find the padding is ample and have a more comfortable walk without it.