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Bryce and Zion - clothing, shoes, etc

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I'm trying to figure out what is sensible clothing and footwear for an August trip to the national parks of the southwest (Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon north rim).

First - guide books and official park sites 'recommend' hiking boots with ankle support but I see so many photos of people hiking with what look like regular running shoes - and even sandals (Teva type). If I only plan to do the moderate hikes, and don't generally have ankle issues, are these enough. Seems like they'd be cooler.

Second - I see photos of people wearing shorts. Now don't laugh - but years ago I was on an archaeological dig in Colorado one summer and we had to wear jeans and boots due to the rattlesnake threat. Even though it was a hundred degrees and we were wearing bikini tops we had to have our legs and feet completely covered. Don't they have snakes in Utah ( I know they do) - so how is it safe to wear shorts?

Any other suggestions?

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