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June 13, 2009 Comments (4) Apparel, Outdoor Tips

More than hype: Choosing your tropical hiking shoes

Choosing your hiking shoes is some sort of a personal cult for most. Mine, is based more on comfort and practicality. My feet went through an evolution (sometimes a devolution) of hiking footwear from hype to comfort and back to hype in the four years of hiking the tropical forests.


Knowing what you need in a hiking shoe and your personal comfort makes the "choosing' a tad easier. Setting your priorities on what "quality" (ie traction, water repellent, comfortable, and durable) you prefer may give you the best deal buying a trekking shoe.

I’m not belittling the locally made, quality trekking footwear, one of which (Hi-tec, Midcut) I’m wearing since my first climb. All too often, one good quality  is sacrificed over an overall mediocre quality whenever you buy new hiking shoes. For example, it’s hard to find a a comfortably soled shoe when in “traction shoes”. Water repellent shoes are a bit heavier and harder than the usual Goretex shoes. 

If you’re planning to buy a pair of trekking shoes, here are my advices:

  1. Go for the Midcuts that protect your ankle from slips and strains. Low cuts fair badly in this aspect and high cuts are darn too heavy to carry.
  2. Get one with a rubber/gummy traction soles that prevent slips and promotes better balance.
  3. Forget about waterproof shoes or boots. In the tropics, you’ll darn wade into hundred of streams and rivers its useless to wear ‘waterproof’ shoes. Find the quick drying water repellent type. Breathes more air too.
  4. A well padded insole, heel and toe part as well as those in the base of your achilles tendon and the top of your toes, these are the ares prone to “abrasions’ and painful cuts during long hikes.
  5. Make sure the sole and the main part of the shoe is sewn not glued! or if it is and if you want it so much, have it glued and sewn by a shoe maker/repairman. It’s horrible seeing your trekking shoes disintegrate into two parts (with the sole that looking like a tongue wagging out) in the middle of a hike
  6. Lastly, give an allowance for a well padded sock plus a finger’s breadth of space.

It’s up to you to find your own trekking shoes. I could not recommend one specifically as this of course is a personal thing. A question of comfort. Mine has evolved over years of buying and frustration, not to mention cuts and foot aches and sprains. Remember, its not the hype that counts, but comfort!

4 Responses to More than hype: Choosing your tropical hiking shoes

  1. Jon says:

    Chrome 43.0.2357.65 Windows 7

    Brader, what can you say about hiking in rain boots (yung pang baha)? 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    is there any designs that are for real… water-repelling shoes?

    • Bundok says:

      Chrome 44.0.2403.125 MacOS X

      By definition, I have yet to see a shoe design/ fabric that don’t get wet when dipped into water. Rubber boots perhaps. Maybe true for sprinkled water on shoes but for practical everyday, water wading treks or hikes, I doubt there is.