There are many different types of shoes that can be used for outdoor adventure activities, each with its own unique features and benefits. Some of the most popular types of adventure shoes include approach shoes, canyoning shoes, trail runners, hiking shoes, and thongs/flip flops. Here is a brief overview of each type of shoe and their benefits and disadvantages:
- Approach shoes: Approach shoes are designed for activities that require a mix of hiking and climbing, such as hiking to the base of a climb or scrambling over rocky terrain. These shoes typically have a sturdy, non-slip sole and a low-cut design for maximum flexibility and movement. The benefits of approach shoes include their versatility and ability to handle different types of terrain. Disadvantages include their limited support and lack of waterproofing. Due to their stiffer toebox, you might develop foot problems, if you use these for long-distance trail hiking instead of their intended purpose.
- Canyoning shoes: Canyoning, also known as canyoneering, is an outdoor activity that involves hiking, scrambling, and rappelling through canyons and other narrow, rocky gorges. Canyoning shoes are specifically designed for this type of activity, with a sturdy, non-slip sole and a low-cut design for maximum flexibility and movement. Their soft soles and flexible lugs provide excellent grip on wet rocks however, it means that they might wear out quicker. The 'stealth rubber' from 5.10 is some of the author's favourite material. Volleys and booties are also good alternatives if you don't have the cash to fork out for another pair of shoes. Benefits of canyoning shoes include their durability and ability to handle challenging terrain. Disadvantages include their limited support and lack of waterproofing.
- Trail runners & joggers: Trail runners are a type of lightweight, low-cut shoe that is designed for running or fast hiking on trails and other natural terrains. These shoes typically have a flexible, grippy sole and a breathable upper to keep your feet cool and comfortable. Trail runners typically have more of an aggressive tread pattern than joggers which are usually designed for pavement. Benefits of trail runners include their lightweight design and ability to handle a variety of terrain. Disadvantages include their limited support and lack of waterproofing and when hiking rugged terrain, their sidewalls might wear prematurely.
- Hiking shoes: Hiking shoes and boots are a type of sturdy, supportive shoe that is designed for longer hikes and backpacking trips. There are many types of hiking shoes and they typically have a stiffer sole and a higher-cut design for added support and protection. The benefits of hiking shoes include their durability and support, as well as their ability to handle a variety of terrain. Disadvantages include their heavier weight and lack of breathability. What I look for in a hiking boot is good grip on loose dirt, mud, on dry and wet rocks - aggressive tread. The author prefers mid-height to protect ankles and provides a little ankle support to stop you from rolling your ankle as badly but mainly to stop rocks from hitting your ankles on their scree slopes. Also comfort, size, and a good fit.
- Birkenstocks/Tevas, crocs, and thongs: Thongs, also known as flip flops, jangles, and pluggers, are a type of simple, open-toed shoe that is popular for use in warm weather and around water. These shoes typically have a flat sole and a strap or thong that goes between the toes. The benefits of thongs include their simplicity and ease of use. Disadvantages include their lack of support and protection, as well as their limited use in rugged or challenging terrain. Some versions of the crocs can be ultra lightweight and make for great camp area footwear. Tevas & Birkenstocks are still open in design but provide slightly better support and are designed more for walking than crocs and thongs. Overall, this type of footwear is great for short distances, where you may need to take off for creek crossings and soft sand walking. They are not good in mud, obviously.
In conclusion, the type of adventure shoe you choose will depend on the specific activities you plan to do and the conditions you will be facing. Whether you need a versatile, multi-purpose shoe like approach shoes or a specialized shoe like canyoning shoes, there is a type of adventure shoe that can meet your needs.
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