Here’s everything you need to know before buying a hiking shoe

Tread? Lugs? Rocker profile? We break it all down.

Successful hiker enjoy the view on mountain top cliff edge

Like most things in the age of abundant consumer options, choosing a hiking shoe (or boot) can be overwhelming. The fact that I was inclined to write, “shoe or boot” is a testament to the plethora of choices, one of them of course being: “shoe or boot”.


I completed the Cross Borneo Trek in 2015. Four Dayak men led us through the muddy jungle, over the Muller Mountains and across the Mahakam River (multiple times); one of them barefoot. When asked how he managed such a thing, he replied, “I just know how to walk”. The majority of us require some footwear when trekking, though. I wore a pair of Lowa hiking boots — not the optimum choice as they slipped in mud (the lugs on the soles were too shallow) and on wet boulders.

📷: Vanessa Nirode