Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Do hiking boots make for good walking shoes?

Do hiking boots make for good walking shoes?

Old Mar 5th, 2004, 02:29 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 57
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Do hiking boots make for good walking shoes?

Hi - I am going on a trip to Spain in April. From the different posters here, it seems like the weather could vary between rain and cold and sunshine since I am going to the NOrth and South.

From your vast array of experience, do you think hiking boots make for good walking shoes if walking for more than 5 miles per day? I have not had good luck with shoes so far. Either they start hurting my toes after a while or my heel the next day.

My hiking boots are comfortable but I have never walked in them for long distances over cobble stones and plain roads. So I am a little nervous carrying a heavy pair of boots when it may not even be useful.

What do you think?

Thanks so much for all of your advice.
chicalina is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 02:40 PM
  #2  
KT
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,437
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I normally ignore shoe questions here; however, my foot doctor and I were just discussing this subject.

Shoes are a very personal thing. I'm sure everyone will tell you that hiking boots are too stiff and heavy to be comfortable. However, I have a painful heel spur and exceptionally high arches, and the doc has told me that I need a stiffer-soled shoe than my nice comfy Eccos, and has recommended light-weight hiking boots (or the low-topped type of hikers) -- at least until the pain subsides. Other foot types may be more comfortable without the sturdy soles.

I've walked pretty long distances in my light-weight hiking boots (nylon with leather trim) and been fine. But I save my heavy-weight ones (all leather) for actual hiking, because I get tired of lifting those ankle weights when not necessary.

Whatever you do, make sure the shoes are comfortable before you take them with you, and always take a change of shoes.
KT is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 02:44 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 637
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
after a trip to london where i had hiking boots and sneakers and ended up wearing my sneakers (something nike, but black) all the time, i've since decided that hiking boots are just too heavy for long all-day walking on city streets. there are so many different brands of "walking" shoes now (i like merrill) that it's worth checking out something more lightweight.

good luck!
melissa19 is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 02:54 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 57
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks KT and Melissa!
I guess this means I will have to check out some more shoes
chicalina is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 03:14 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 190
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm not 100% sure what hiking shoes mean but I actually walk around in military boots which are very sturdy and support my ancles but they are heavy. But after I had walked a bit in them they are wonderfully comfortable and good for walking as well as standing still. Though you should take an extra 5 minutes making sure the shoes are knit properly since for long walking that makes a world of difference. But make sure you feel comfortable in those kind of shoes before you bring them since they are HEAVY

Cobos
Cobos is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 03:58 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I used to wear Eccos and they seemed comfortable but last spring I hurt my foot and my orthopedist said the Eccos weren't supportive enough. He recommended an orthotic which will give extra cushion and sent me to a small local shoe store for better shoes.

The salesman recommended SAS shoes for more support and I bought a ready made orthotic. The salesman explained that the Eccos, while feeling comfortable, really didn't fit my foot because of the width and lack of arch support (I have high arches). My foot has since healed but I still wear the SAS with the orthotic for all-day walking.

My advice is to forget the department stores where they only sell you want you want to buy and go to a small, independent store where the sales people have experience fitting shoes. I thought the SAS shoes were about the ugliest things I'd seen and never would have chosen them unless advised to do so.

You can get good, supportive shoes that are light weight and comfortable all day. The amount of cushion is very important. Mention your foot aches to the sales staff for a proper recommendation. You can also get extra cushion just for your heel. And your toes may hurt because the shoe is not large enough for you or your toenails may be too long and are pressing against the front of the shoe - that makes my toes ache. These things don't become apparant with normal daily walking.
adrienne is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 04:44 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Interesting post. My foot doctor who treats me for a variety of foot problems and who actually sells two lines of very pricey custom orthopedic shoes, noted when I first went that I was wearing Ecco walking shoes at the time. His remark -- "well, you couldn't buy better shoes for your feet". He also prescribed sole inserts which I've worn religiously for about three years now and they have made a miraculous improvement.
Patrick is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 04:47 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,352
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Traditional hiking boots are very heavy and offer no shock absorbtion because they were designed for non paved terrain.
All of the top line shoe brands offer 'city hikers'. Mid hight, black leather, with half shank, softer soled, lighter weight, etc.
Mine are Rockports for my size ten EEE feet, my wifes are Eccos B width....... erm ......... size 3.5 I believe.
icithecat is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 05:11 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 308
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've worn light hiking boots to Spain and found them to be very comfortable for long walks. Of course I bring them because I intend to go "off street".
I walk at least three miles a day and wear my hiking boots in the winter and they are very comfortable. Why not go out this weekend on a five mile walk in your light boots and see how they feel?
I've picked up a pair of Merril Mocs and they are very comfortable. Teva also has a new hiking shoe out. Both of these shoes look a bit better then hiking boots too. Go to a store that specializes in shoes of this ilk and get properly measured. Since you already have hiking boots then you probably realize the advantage of having a really good sock made for hiking. Consider buying inserts too. ( I don?t work for a shoe company, I?m just really picky about my shoes.)
I do bring my Eccos along too for a change. They are comfortable and lightweight enough to pack.

mcgeezer is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 06:04 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Patrick - my doctor didn't say the Eccos weren't good shoes; he said they weren't good enough for my problem. I can't remember the name of what I had but I hurt the ligament where your arch meets the heel. It's a pretty common complaint. They also don't give enough arch support for me. But I have that problem with every pair of shoes I've ever owned. I have a very high arch.

The shoe salesman said that they also aren't wide enough for my feet and I was buying a too large size to make up for the lack of width. The Eccos I have are 1 to 2 sizes larger than my normal shoes. The shoe store I went to also sells Eccos (and that's where I bought my first pair) so the salesman wasn't trying to steer me into buying the SAS shoes because that's what he stocked. They just work better for my feet and, fortunately, former problem.
adrienne is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 06:05 PM
  #11  
rcc
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 84
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hiking boots. Definitely.

I once went on a week long walking trip in Tokyo with my hiking boots and, what a difference. No sores, no callouses, not even a dead nail.

It's the only way to go when travelling.
rcc is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 06:08 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,014
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you have well worn-in hiking boots that are truly comfortable and are planning to do some real hiking on a trip, I would say bring them.I keep a pair of such boots at my house in St-Cirq for long hikes around the region (not sure I'd pack them, though, as they are heavy).

But if you're not a serious hiker, I would opt for something that weighs less. There are lots of more lightweight shoes on the market these days that are sturdy but dont take up one-third of the suitcase or weigh your feet down.
StCirq is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 06:14 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 735
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have a lightweight pair of Gortex hiking boots that I sometimes pack. Because they are Gortex, they are great in the rain.

The most important thing is to ignore all the shoes/clothes advice that is incessantly posted on travel boards and wear what is comfortable and convenient for you.

The one big drawback to heavy hiking boots is the weight in the luggage. What you bring, remember, you have to schlep!
LaurenSKahn is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 06:19 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,269
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you are going to be out of the city, hiking boots will be fine but if you will be in a normal day activity, whatever shoes made for walking that fit probably will do. I prefer Miphistos BUT - only because they fit ME the most confortable. All shoes are not created equal for all people.
cigalechanta is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 07:37 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The best place to find walking shoes is a sporting goods store like REI, not some regular shoe store, unless you are looking for particular brands.

I have a pair of Merrells that curve ever so slightly at the toe and heel and they have been WONDERFUL for cobblestone streets. I wear them hiking now instead of my regular hiking boots. They are also remarkably lightweight when compared to hiking boots.

You should try different walking shoes until you find the one that you like. REI wants you to walk and walk and walk around the store to get used to the shoes. After your purchase, they also advise wearing the shoes around the house for a day and see if you like them. If not, take them back and try another brand/type. Of course, if you spent enough time initially you wouldn't have to go back.

Everyone's feet are different, so we can recommend what fit our feet, but might not fit yours. So, go and keep trying until you find that heavenly pair of walking shoes.
easytraveler is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 07:58 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 107
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wear my Rockport Hikers everywhere. They are hi-tops with very good ankle support. They are the most comfortable shoes I have and I will wear them through Europe.
Cole is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 09:07 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,004
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've hiked over 15 miles on city streets in Birkenstocks. I have a high arch and really appreciate the support. There doesn't appear to be any cushioning, but I've noticed the cushioning in shoes just kills my feet when I walk more than a few miles. We routinely walk 3-5 miles a day and I only wear Birks. They have sandals, as you know, but they also have a nice variety of walking shoes and clogs.
SalB is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 09:17 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,449
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
When traveling I wear a pair of low cut hiking boots regardless of whether I'm walking in a city or hiking in the Alps. They're a cross between hiking boots and sneakers and very comfortable with good traction and arch support. I don't leave home without them.
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Mar 5th, 2004, 09:31 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Melnq8, what brand are they?
WillTravel is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2004, 01:50 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,449
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Salomon
Melnq8 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Yaar
Travel Tips & Trip Ideas
8
Jul 23rd, 2012 06:29 PM
blackmons
Canada
9
Jun 25th, 2008 09:24 AM
dianneb
Europe
14
Aug 20th, 2005 09:33 PM
KITTI0005
United States
15
May 22nd, 2005 02:57 PM
dillysnana
United States
14
Mar 17th, 2004 01:48 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information