Hiking boots in NZ are big sellers right now. The weather is getting warmer and the countryside is drying out, making for excellent hiking conditions throughout the nation. We have a range of boots specifically designed and manufactured for long hikes and tramps over New Zealand’s more rugged terrain, including alpine areas, but many of the boots we sell aren’t really the best fit for their intended purpose; easy day walks and shorter hikes on New Zealand’s well-defined and well-maintained trails. In these cases, we think hiking shoes might be a better buy.
On day walks and trail walks, you still need proper footwear. Wet weather can cause the footing to be slippery, while grass that has become shiny and dry under the hot summer sun can be just as treacherous. Wearing trainers on these challenging surfaces is not recommended, yet hiking boots might be seen as overkill for these types of walks. We see hiking shoes as the ideal compromise. Many of them have the same features as hiking boots e.g. waterproof and durable material, and a reassuring grip on the sole, but they do not rise above the ankle. Some resemble trainers, even though they function quite differently, while others are low-cut versions of traditional hiking boots.
As we’ve already alluded to, shoes are great for day hikes or even multi-day hikes if you’re sticking to the tracks that are looked after by the Department of Conservation. These tracks are usually so well managed that shoes are enough to comfortably navigate them. But shoes also provide a host of other benefits if you’re planning on hiking within your comfort zone. Obviously they’re light-weight and comfortable to wear, and they won’t take up too much room in your luggage. And because there’s reduced ankle support and weight, it means you can generally move faster and further in hiking shoes, whereas sturdy, high-cut boots can be a little more cumbersome.
Of course, shoes aren’t ideal in some situations. If you’re walking through streams or parts of the country where rainfall is high, water is more likely to overflow into the shoe. And not all models are suitable for rough and challenging terrain that you might sometimes encounter, even on relatively gentle day walks. In these situations, boots might be a better buy. If you’re not sure which type to purchase, get in touch with us and one of our outdoor experts will happily discuss this with you. In the meantime, happy hiking!