Whether you are an active outdoor enthusiast or someone who just wants to take a walk in the park once in a while, having the right type of outdoor shoes is paramount for having a great time. Although a pair of tennis shoes or Nike’s air max footwear can give you a pretty good experience, they are not meant to be used in all kinds of conditions or on every terrain. There are various types of outdoor shoes for men and there are certain factors that play a major role in how they perform in different situations.
I know I said shoes but technically, sandals are shoes too and yes they can be used for hiking, just not through areas with lots of cacti or shrub-like vegetation. Unlike regular mens outdoor shoes, sandals are not going to keep your feet dry as much or free from debris, but they will provide you with breathability and comfort.
This type of shoes has a sticky rubber underneath to help you maintain traction on steep rocky inclines. While they are not meant to be used as standard hiking shoes, they are still an excellent option which comes with soft soles and it is also flexible and lightweight.
We all know what hiking shoes are meant for and if you are going to be trekking through areas with scree slopes, rocky uneven terrain or fresh snow, they are your best option. Hiking shoes also perform well in muddy and cool conditions as well as in wet conditions if you go for a waterproof model. While they are not that breathable, hiking mens outdoor shoes are great for bouldering and bushwhacking.
This type of sport is a better version of your running sessions in the city since it takes place in a healthier environment – the mountains. Since there are shoes made just for running, there are also shoes made just for trail running – you can think of them as a more durable and rugged version of a regular running shoe. They are thicker, with more support for rocky terrains and have extra padding too.
With these shoes, you are not going to slip from a wet rock as they offer very good traction and are made of quick-drying materials which won’t leave any blisters when they get wet. These shoes are used by fishermen, kayakers, surfers and people that do standup paddleboarding.
Heavy-duty use is the primary goal of mens outdoor shoes and things like roots, water, dirt, mud, rocks and debris are just some of the obstacles you’ll encounter. This is why a proper material like reverse full-grain leather and a great waterproof rating are very important.
While waterproof protection is important it shouldn’t come at the cost of breathability as overheating can prevent you from performing at your best. Shoes that use a mesh placed on areas like the toe box, sides of the shoes and beneath the tongue are going to be very breathable but make sure the mesh is combined with tougher materials since it is usually made out of a very delicate material.
While a stroll in the park doesn’t require a special kind of outsoles, an outdoor sporting activity does. For the most part, the outsoles of outdoor shoes need to be thick in order to provide decent performance. Look for better grip which comes in the form of a sticky rubber, which I mentioned earlier, as well as stability and responsiveness which are mostly determined by the material.
The first goal of all mens outdoor shoes is to protect your feet from the rough environment and unless you want to get home with wet feet and bruised shins, you should get high cut shoes made out of quick-drying materials. This is not a definitive choice though and you can always go with a medium or low cut shoes which are lighter options, thus easier to maneuver.
Stability-wise traction is the most important feature as it can be a life-saving factor when you find yourself on slippery surfaces. While heel brakes can reduce the risk of slipping or sliding, they are not meant to be the base of the grip. Lug patterns, on the other hand can serve as a base. However, make sure you don’t get shoes with very deep lugs as they can interfere with your performance and prevent you from running easily.
Comfort is a big piece of the puzzle of being able to perform well, even in the roughest of areas as uncomfortable shoes can take away your focus. Cushioning and shock absorption are the features that make for more comfort so it is recommended to look for that when shopping.