Which hiking shoes should I choose?

Which hiking shoes should I choose?

When it comes to choosing a walking shoe, there are different shaft heights, grip, and intended usage to choose between. Find a boot that best suits your feet and usage, so you can enjoy your hikes.

HIKING SHOES OR HIKING BOOTS? 

Many people ask the question ‘Which hiking boot should I choose?’ Often the choice is between a hiking shoe or a hiking boot – or maybe a hiking shoe with a higher shaft. At first, the choice usually focusses on comfort and low weight, but often boils down to type of use and how much support and stability is required. If you need new hiking boots for a long hike or wonder if hiking boots or shoes are right for you, you’ll find plenty of good advice in this article.  

ALFA make footwear in three different shaft heights (low-, middle- and high-cut), and hunting boots are even higher in the shaft. Many people want a boot that can be used for all types of trail and terrain, but if you are an enthusiastic hiker our recommendation is that your shoe cupboard should contain at least two different pairs. To choose the correct hiking gear for you, read on for our guide to different shaft heights and their ideal use. At the bottom you can also find our quick guide to making the right choice.  

LOW HIKING SHOES

A low-cut hiking shoe has no ankle support, and we recommend these shoes are used on trails where the surface is mostly smooth. They work best for walks without a rucksack, or with a lightweight one. Shoes without ankle support demand a greater degree of ankle stability and strength, especially if you find yourself on a challenging section of trail. For walks on smooth trails and in areas where the ground is relatively clear of vegetation, these shoes are excellent.  

With few obstacles in your path to trip you, these hiking shoes are lightweight and comfortable. 

In recent years it has been reported ankle injuries are on the increase in mountain terrain. Our experience has taught us a higher shaft and stable boot are more appropriate for technical terrain, rock gardens and other challenges. Sprains, strains or a broken ankle is not what anyone wants for their walk.  

Low-cut shoes are often less resistant to water entering in wet conditions, or for example from heather or long grass. This is because water can enter over the collar and run down into the shoes, despite the shoes having a GORE-TEX membrane to protect your foot from shallow puddles and wet conditions. 
 
Our recommended low-cut hiking shoes 

  

DRIFT ADVANCE GTX

Drift Advance GTX Lightweight and comfortable shoe with good padding and extremely good grip. These shoes are the perfect choice for most outdoor activities. The wear resistant Bluesign® approved materials are made for walks in the forest and fields. 

Read more about Drift Advance GTX 

 

CECILIE ADVANCE GTX

Cecilie Advance GTX Lightweight, trendy and comfortable hiking shoes for women designed by Cecilie Skog. The Cecilie shoes come in two different models, one with a high ankle sock, and the other low. Both models have good padding, good grip and are ideal for relaxed walks in the woods. 
 
Read more about Cecilie walking shoes from ALFA 

 

BRINK ADVANCE GTX

Brink Advance GTX If you are on the hunt for a stable and low-cut hiking shoe with a comfortable fit and good grip for relaxed walks and everyday use; the Brink Advance GTX is the perfect shoe. The shoes are wear-resistant with a waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX membrane. 

Read more about Brink Advance GTX 

 

MUNRO PERFORM GTX

Munro Perform GTX Classic, comfortable leather shoe with a wide fit. This shoe is designed for an active lifestyle and performs well for relaxed forest walks and walks around town. 

Read more about Munro Perform GTX 

 

 
See all our low hiking shoes here

MID-CUT HIKING SHOES

With a small step up in shaft height, you’ll find the mid-cut hiking shoes. These work well with a light rucksack and on day trips with a good trail surface.  

Moderate ankle support will help on tricky sections of trails, but one should take care as the technicality increases. A mid-cut shoe supports the ankle but will also challenge the ankle when used with a heavier rucksack and in steep terrain. Mid-cut shoes will also tolerate wet grass. Water won’t seep in through the boot itself due to the GORE-TEX membrane, but as per low-cut shoes, will over time creep in over the collar.  

 

Our recommended mid-cut hiking shoes

 

KVIST ADVANCE 2.0 GTX

Lightweight and comfortable hiking shoe with ankle support, good grip and GORE-TEX. Perfect mid-cut shoes for day trips in the woods.

Read more about Kvist Advance 2.0 GTX 

 

 

GREN ADVANCE GTX

Lightweight and comfortable  hiking shoes for everyday walks in the woods. Good ankle support, grip and GORE-TEX. 

Read more about Gren Advance GTX 

 

 

See all our mid-cut hiking shoes here

HIGH-CUT HIKING BOOTS 

"Why hiking boots?" you may wonder. Most of ALFA’s high-cut hiking boots are created for typically Norwegian mountain terrain, where most hikers will travel long distances over the mountains. This means the boots are comfortable for long multiday hikes, and that they give extra ankle support. With a high shaft, one gets more protection than a low- or mid-cut walking boot. These shoes function well with heavier rucksacks and on steep gradients where the ankle deals with additional loads. Some models are extra stiff so they can be used in even tougher terrain. However, these have less flexibility and are therefore not practical for normal long hikes, but are best suited for summiting peaks. Other models have fixation points for crampons. Irrespective of the shoe, one should always be confident in technical terrain, to avoid sprains and injuries. The high-cut boots are most resistant to water seepage over the collar from long grass and heather. They are therefore most appropriate for wet and marshy terrain.

Our recommended hiking boots

 

IMPACT A/P/S GTX

Unique hiking boots with strong wear resistance giving extra longevity and a lower environmental impact. Additionally, the boots are designed so that parts can be changed by a shoemaker if they become damaged. The perfect hiking boot for active hikers who want to invest in an environmentally friendly boot.

Read more about Impact A/P/S GTX 

 

JUVASS A/P/S GTX

The Juvass model is developed in close partnership with the guides at Juvass Hytte to withstand the toughest usage in the Norwegian mountains. The boots are lightweight, wear resistant and made from maintenance free materials. This is the boot for active mountain hikers who want a boot to help them reach their goals.

Read more about Juvass A/P/S GTX 

 

WALK KING / QUEEN AIR A/P/S GTX

Lightweight and very comfortable hiking boot made from maintenance free materials and GORE-TEX. This is a solid boot with a wide range of use that also sits very well on the foot. The boots are equally suited to forest walks and mountain hikes. 

Read more about Walk King/Queen Air A/P/S GTX 

 

EGGI ADVANCE GTX

Super lightweight leather hiking boot with good grip and GORE-TEX. These boots are perfect for cabin-to-cabin hikes and walks with a lightweight rucksack.

Read more about Eggi Advance GTX 

 

See all our hiking boots here

EXTRA HIGH-CUT HIKING BOOTS / HUNTING BOOTS 

Hunting boots are our highest-cut boot. They provide very good ankle protection, as well as being very resistant to water seeping over the collar. Generally speaking, the longer it takes for dampness to creep over the collar and down the inner material, the longer the boot will remain dry. If you hike in marshy and wet terrain, with a heavy rucksack or in very technical terrain, hunting boots can be an excellent companion.

Be aware of your need from the boots. People with low bodyweight can experience our stiffest boots are in fact too stable and inflexible (eg Bever Pro Advance and Jegerstøvelen).This can become uncomfortable on longer hikes, especially without a heavy rucksack. It’s therefore important to wear the shoes in before embarking on a hike, so you know the boots fits well and is easy to walk with.

Our recommended hunting boots for hiking

 

RYPE A/P/S GTX

Lightweight, high-cut boots made from maintenance free materials and GORE-TEX. The perfect hiking boot for damp days or marshy terrain. Rype A/P/S GTX is a good alternative when you need to carry a heavy rucksack and need additional ankle support. 

Read more about Rype A/P/S GTX 

 

See all our hunting boots here

EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULES

 

No rules are without exceptions. Holt A/P/S GTX and Jerpe A/P/S GTX in AlfaAir materials are both high-cut boots, very lightweight and comfortable. They are good to pair with a middleweight rucksack for hiking or hunting, but function well for berry picking or longer hikes due to their low weight and high comfort. These boots are also waterproof, extremely comfortable and super stable.  

Read more about  Holt A/P/S GTX here 

Read more about Jerpe A/P/S GTX here 

WHY CHOOSE WALKING SHOES?

To find the right shoe or boot we recommend you ask yourself a few questions, in order to find the model that is best for its intended use. At the end of the day, it’s also important to include your foot in the decision-making process. A shoe not fitting your foot correctly will detract from your overall hiking experience.  

  • Where will I use the walking shoe?  
  • What is the terrain/walking surface there?  
  • Is the area often wet or marshy?  
  • Will I go on long or short hikes? 
  • Will I have a heavy backpack or walk without one? 
  • How much ankle support do I need/want?  
  • Does the shoe fit my foot well?  

 

Low-cut hiking shoes 

Mid-cut hiking shoes 

High-cut hiking boots 

Hunting boots 

Terrain 

Smooth, easy 

Generally smooth surface with some trickier sections 

Moderately challenging 

Challenging 

Humidity 

Dry 

Damp 

Marshy 

Wet 

Turtype 

Short walks 

Cabin-to-cabin 

Mountain hikes 

Full day 

Backpack size 

Without backpack 

Light backpack 

Normal backpack 

Heavy backpack 

Ankle support 

None 

Some 

Moderate 

Excellent 

 The summary above isn’t set in stone but is an overview of shaft heights and their different properties and ideal usage. By crossing off the answers that are most appropriate to you, you’ll find the shaft height best suited to your needs. It is rare for all your answers to relate to one shaft height, instead you’ll usually get a variety of answers.

For example, if you walk most in smooth terrain (low-cut), with some dampness (mid-cut) but with a backpack (high-cut), then we would recommend the high-cut boot so as to not risk ankle injuries by carrying a backpack with too little ankle support. The same applies if you go on short walks (low-cut), in moderately challenging terrain (high-cut) and with a light backpack (mid-cut). Due to the moderately challenging terrain it would be safer to walk with a high-cut boot than a low- or mid-cut shoe, so you can focus on the hike instead of watching every footstep.

If you hike in different kinds of terrain and don’t want more than one pair of boots, we recommend you keep in mind the type of trip you take most frequently during the decision-making process. You may need to make compromises if you want a boot for every kind of use, so choose which criteria are most important to you – and then choose the boot.

Happy hiking!