A hiking shoe is a special shoe that is mainly used for hiking , light mountaineering or other movement in the great outdoors. It is often characterized by good water resistance, has a non-slip profile and is robust. Usually, the shaft of hiking boots extends over the ankle ( e.g. as protection against twisting the ankle). The term hiking shoe is not clearly delimited from terms such as mountain boots or trekking boots . The latter usually have better cushioning thanks to a softer sole. The basic principle of hunting boots is also often very similar to hiking boots.
Depending on the area of application, whether flat country hiking or mountaineering, and depending on the geographical and climatic area of application, different models are used, from light hiking or desert shoes to crampon-compatible mountaineering boots.
Hiking shoes should protect and relieve the foot. Especially when hiking, the feet are subject to a very high load, be it due to the ground (uneven, slippery etc.) or an unusual weight load (backpack), which is why they need additional protection in order not to tire prematurely or even injuries (mostly in the ankle area) to suffer. For this reason, hiking shoes are built differently from other shoes, have a more or less firm sole and are usually above the ankle. Since the demands between a desert tour and a high mountain trip are very different, the hiking shoe manufacturer Meindl developed so-called deployment categories in the 1970s (from A for light hiking boots for a walk in the city park to D for high mountain use). The shoes are optimized according to the application categories. The lightweight hiking shoe , for example, has a very flexible sole and a nylon shaft , whereas the high-mountain boot has a crampon -resistant, board -hard sole, combined with a thick leather shaft. There are also special hiking shoes such as desert boots with scorpion-resistant nylon shafts and particularly high breathability or shell shoes made entirely of plastic (with inner shoe) for use under extreme conditions.
Workmanship, materials and durability
Hiking shoes are made either in a sewn or in a glued design . The majority of hiking boots available today is in the bonded construction method (fachsprachlich AGO style of A nother G reat O pportunity made, which were designated in 1911 than it was the first opportunities of the bonded style so), because these cost benefits primarily shows. But there are also functional aspects associated with it: For example, the insole of a glued hiking shoe can be made of plastic, which can be precisely adapted to the requirements (flexural elasticity according to shoe size and purpose).
Sewn hiking boots are built in the British sphere of influence according to the so-called Veldtschoen-style, a frame construction for shoes originally invented by the South African hunters, in the alpine area in the double-stitched style, very heavy mountain boots also tri-sewn.
Either leather (smooth or suede), synthetic fiber (nylon) or a combination of both (nylon with suede trimmings) is used for the outer upper. If leathers are used, they are vegetable-tanned (usually shoe uppers are mineral-tanned) and are particularly thick. Either synthetic fiber felts (needle felt Camprell) or leather or a combination of both (the heavily stressed areas made of leather, the front shoe made of synthetic fiber) are used as lining (inner upper). Since the 1980s, so-called climate membranes have been increasingly incorporated into hiking boots. These are thin foils that come into the shoe as a laminate with the lining and promise waterproofness without reducing breathability (sweat in the form of escaping water vapor). Their functionality in shoes is controversial.
The durability of the shaft depends primarily on the number of its seams. Every seam, even if it is carried out three times, as is usual with better hiking boots, is a potential weak point: water can penetrate there, and there the upper breaks first. The second factor is the material used. Leather is the most durable, although the suede, if it is worked with the flesh side out, also enables surface damage to be removed (rubbed out), which is not possible with smooth leather. Nylon shafts are less durable and are therefore used in so-called lightweight hiking boots, which are not intended for use in scree fields with a lot of friction between the stones on the shaft.
A rubber belt (weather protection edge) is installed around the shoe towards the sole of the glued hiking boots. This restricts breathability, which is why it should not reach too far up the shaft, but offers the connection between the shaft and the sole good mechanical protection and reliably prevents water from penetrating there. There is no such additional protection in sewn shoes.
Only rubber profile soles are used as soles below the cushioning midsole because they offer the best adhesion and have a long durability. Vibram (Italy) is the world market leader , but other manufacturers also offer comparatively good outsoles. There are two types of soles: the flat soles (which can be replaced by every cobbler) and the so-called molded soles with a curved edge, which can usually only be replaced by the manufacturer in the factory. The profiles and rubber compounds are now also being optimized for special purposes (ice hiking, snow, etc.).
For the lacing , always by means of a non-water-pulling, friction-resistant (chemical fiber) shoelace, both eyelets and hooks ( agraffes ) and loops are used, in the lower area of the lacing mostly eyelets or loops, in the transition to the ankle and in the upper shaft area Deep-draw hook that can fix the shoelace conditionally. Open hooks are used in the upper part of the lacing and some manufacturers use loops with a pressed-in metal ball, which minimizes the friction of the laces when tightening by rotation and thereby simplifies tightening. Both systems allow flexible adjustment of the lacing to the foot, the leg circumference and the intended use (walking uphill, downhill, etc.). In addition to conventional cross lacing, special lacing techniques (shop lacing, false locking eyelet , parallel lacing ) can be used to achieve pressure distribution that is individually adapted to the foot.
To prevent the shoe flap ( tongue ) from slipping, it can be included in the lacing by means of an open hook attached to it.
The midsole is made of cushioning polyurethane and is wedge-shaped for shock absorption, i.e. stronger under the heel than in the forefoot area. Polyurethane (PU) ages over time. The material is subject to slowly progressing hydrolysis . Depending on the storage conditions, the damping wedge becomes increasingly brittle from the inside within seven to ten years, regardless of whether the shoes are used or not and without this process being recognizable from the outside. If you then scratch the damping wedge with a fingernail, the completely destroyed PU crumbles out. In this respect, older, rarely used hiking boots should be checked accordingly before a tour. Destroyed damping wedges can be replaced by the manufacturer's repair service. According to the manufacturer, the material of the damping wedges has been improved to the point that it will last the life of the shoe.
Hiking shoes are often subject to particular stress, which is why normal shoe care products are not sufficient. Impregnation is of particular importance. Hiking shoes should be re-impregnated regularly. For the general care of leather hiking boots, very thinly applied leather fats or fat waxes are suitable. All well-known brands have such products in their range.
Caring for leather hiking boots with grease requires a lot of experience, because over-greasing can easily occur, which reduces breathability and the shaft as a whole can lose its strength. The use of fat waxes is therefore easier and less worrisome. Pure waxes, which are also offered for this purpose, are not advisable because they do not nourish the leather (consequence: embrittlement) and their protective film does not adhere as well to the leather surface (result: water leakage).
Since different care products may be chemically incompatible with one another (and also with the hydrophobizing agents introduced into the leather during tanning) (mutually canceling effect), it is advisable not to change the care product type without a hitch. In this way, the upper leather can get used to an impregnation / care product and its effect can be increased through regular use.
Brushes (for mechanical cleaning), a gentle soapy solution and / or care products specially offered for this type of shoe (as sprays) are used to care for leather-free hiking boots.
- Helge Sternke: Everything about men's shoes . Nicolai, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-89479-252-7 .
- hiking boots properly . Bergzeit.de , April 19, 2018; accessed on May 2, 2019
- The correct lacing of hiking boots
- The old age of the middle class . ( Memento of the original from December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.