Hiking Shoes - Light and Cheap
By Steven Gillman
A dozen years ago I went from using hiking boots
to lightweight hiking shoes. It was a part of my move from
mainstream backpacking to lightweight or "ultralight
backpacking." I stopped getting blisters and have perhaps one or
two in the years since.
Apart from keeping things light, another important
goal of mine was to spend less money for clothing and equipment
(Related Article: Cheap
change to shoes fit into that plan. Here are some of the ways to
keep your hiking shoes both light and cheap. (Related Article:
Fashion: What the Best-Dressed Paddlers Are Wearing This Year)
For longer hikes and backpacking trips I like to
have high-quality shoes. Generally I use good running shoes that
weigh a pound or less each. If they list the weights, I buy them
through catalogs or online. Otherwise I can tell by lifting the
shoes in the local shoe store if they are in my weight range. If you
shop in traditional stores, you could also bring a small kitchen
scale to check weights.
Of course, many of the best running shoes cost $80
or even $100. I don't like to spend that much on shoes ever, so I
buy closeouts. For some reason, people apparently want the latest
fashion. There is no difference in performance as far as I can see
or feel, but thanks to this fashion-conscious market last years
styles are hard to sell, and so are discounted steeply. I have
bought $85 running shoes for as little as $25 in this way.
The Sierra Trading Post catalog is a good one to
check for these deals. I won't mention specific brands that are
light or cheap because these change so frequently. Check online, get
a few catalogs sent to you, and you'll find some deals.
Buy Low Quality
My second strategy for keeping my hiking shoes
light and cheap is to go to Wal-Mart or Kmart or other places which
sell shoes inexpensively. The lowest cost shoes I use at the moment
(2009) are $10 at Wal-Mart. They are definitely low quality, but
only in terms of materials and longevity. In actual use, they grip
better than any expensive shoes when I am hiking in rocky territory
where I like to climb around a bit.
The key with these cheap hiking shoes is to use
them only for short backpacking trips and hikes that don't take you
too far into the wilderness. I once used a $7 pair of shoes on a
week-long 110-mile trip in the Rockies, and I almost regretted it.
They came close to falling apart after seven days of rough terrain.
I have to say, though, that they were very
comfortable, light, and required no "breaking in." I would use such
hiking shoes again, but limit them to trips of about three days or
less. I might also carry some duct tape just in case repairs were
So shop those closeout sales for quality running
shoes (they still seem better to me than those specifically called
hiking shoes). Or buy the cheapest comfortable shoes you can find
for shorter hikes. And bring a scale to the store with you. That's
how you keep it light and cheap.
Copyright Steve Gillman. For more on Hiking Shoes,
and to get the ebook "Ultralight Backpacking Secrets," as well as
gear recommendations, and a new wilderness survival section, visit:
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steven_Gillman
Like this article? You may also
enjoy: Do Walking Sticks
Conserve Energy? by Steve Gillman,
Ultralight vs Traditional
Backpacking by Steve Gillman, and
Recipes by Steve Gillman