After all the walking I’ve done over the past year, I think it’s fair to consider myself something of an expert when it comes to walking shoes! I’ve been through more than a few pairs, let me tell you, and I thought it would be good to have a blog about the best ones I’ve found, to help out anyone else starting to trek long distance.
I’ve never been much of a special walking shoe person, to be perfectly frank with you. I never did much walking, or hiking for that matter, aside from around the office or playing tennis with my wife and our kids, but now that I’m getting on in life, it’s been something that keeps me fit and sane. Walking to raise awareness for Ben and his fellow autism community members has taken things to another level entirely, so I found I had to upgrade quickly from my old tennis sneakers.
My training walks were the testing ground for several pairs of sneakers and hiking shoes before I settled on some I really liked. Personally, I can’t do this whole thing of wearing running shoes for walking. I find them too darn bouncy and wobbly, but I suppose that could be my old joints talking more than anything else. Anyway, I went through a pair of those very popular Asics shoes before I gave up and went looking for something sturdier. I decided not to look at any more sneakers for my big walk. They wear out too quickly, they’re not good off road, and in BC weather? Not a chance!
I finally settled on Merrell Moab Ventilators, which my wife found on Best Walking Feet, which is a popular review site online. I’ve never owned proper hiking shoes before, and I must say that seems to have been a mistake. To be fair, I never had much of an interest in hiking before I started going out with Ben, but these are still the best togs for going around the property and into town that I’ve ever had, let alone for long-distance trekking.
One thing I really like about these boots is that they breathe like sneakers. This might be my age talking, but I’ve always thought of hiking boots as solid leather things that got sweaty and uncomfortable. The Merrell’s have lots of mesh panels which really do breathe, and I’ve never gotten too sweaty in them even after walking all day long.
I also appreciate the heels in them, which are definitely more like a boot than a shoe. If you’ve got wobbly ankles like I do, you notice when a shoe straightens them out, and that’s what’s happening here. They feel very stable and I never seem to take falls as much as I used to. I’m definitely more comfortable on off-piste terrain.
More than anything, I’m impressed with the life I’ve gotten out of these. I made it through the entire walk on one pair, which is not something I expected to be able to do, and they still felt comfortable and were holding up pretty well on the other side. The soles were a bit smoothed out and the mesh was starting to fray, but other than that, they were pretty much the same. I’ve replaced them in the past month, but I was still wearing them for a long while after I got back. Half of the reason I got a new pair was the smell, not the actual wear and tear!
So do be sure to check out that review site to see the ones I’m talking about–they do a great job breaking things down and talking about different factors to think about: http://bestwalkingfeet.com/good-comfortable-shoes/for-standing-all-day/ . My wife is now a devoted reader, she’s even bought what she says are the best zumba shoes according to their reviews. Yes, that’s right, she’s doing zumba these days. I can’t get into it, but she seems to have an absolute blast with our daughter when they go, and it’s hard to find anything to complain about there. You always have to find something, don’t you? It was tennis for me with our kids, and it’s been hiking with Ben. It always ends up being the best family time in the world when you’re out and about together, especially if there’s food in it at the end!