What Type of Shoe Do I Need For Hiking? (According to a Physical Therapist)

This is one of the most common questions I receive and see in online groups of outdoor adventurers, hikers and backpackers. We all have different experiences and everybody and their dog chimes in and voices their opinion and they all are probably great opinions about their experience with a certain shoe.


When someone gives that recommendation, it might help, BUT it might not. It's essentially closing your eyes and throwing a dart at the dartboard because you have no idea if the person making the recommendation has the same foot type that you have. Let's talk about what to look for!



Where to Start When Trying to Find a Hiking Shoe


There are all different foot types in all different shoes for those types. Generally speaking, someone could have in a high arch, someone could have a low arch, someone could have basically what we call a neutral foot and then there then there are different types of shoes that are geared towards those types of feet.


So when someone makes a recommendation for you, or whoever about a shoe, if you don't know what type of foot that person has, it may not be the right shoe for you.


When somebody recommends a certain brand, (like Brooks shoes), within the line of Brooks shoes, they're all different types of shoes. Unless you know that shoe is geared towards your specific foot, you may actually be making the problem worse and it's not helping your feet for the long term.


How Do I Figure Out My Foot Type?


The best recommendation I can give for shoes is to get the shoe that's right for your foot. And what does that mean? Ideally, going to a store like REI or a specialty running store where they have knowledgeable staff who can look at your foot and determine your foot type. They can watch you walk and determine determine how you move when you walk. (A physical therapist can also examine your foot and tell you your foot type).


If you don't have an REI near you, try to find a local running store. Here in DFW, it would be something like a Luke's Locker or a RunOn! Even if you may not be running while hiking, they can at least tell you what type of shoe you're looking for and give recommendations.


If you don't live in an area where you have either one of those stores, stay tuned for another video where we'll talk more about figuring out exactly what type of foot you have and then trying to figure out what type of shoe you're going to need.


Please feel free to reach out to me and if you haven't already, please join my Facebook group -- it's all about happy healthy hikers and we would love to have you.

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