Nature has a lot of hidden gems and exceptional beauty that is not always visible and accessible to everyday people. We can also say that experienced hikers and off-road travelers can access these places, but they need proper vehicles and equipment to accomplish that. As you can see on jeepzine.com / jeepequipment.com, having a jeep for an off-road adventure is a must, but what to do when you get to the point where you can’t go further with the vehicle and have to continue the adventure walking? As you guess, you have to invest in nice shoes for this purpose.
The most common shoe types for off-roading adventure are:
1. Trail shoes if you plan to walk or run
They provide nice support, and at the same time, they are lightweight, cushioned, but also soft and comfortable, and can easily adapt the feet shape and make the whole activity easier for you. You will walk or run a lot, and that’s why you have to choose the proper shoes for the trail, that will work nicely to the terrain. Keep in mind that off-trail shoes have a better anatomic structure, and support the whole body, not just the feet.
2. Gravel and cyclo-cross footwear for the bikers
Sometimes you want to explore these hidden places with your mountain bike, and you probably already know you still need proper footwear to do that. Off-road cycling is not the same as in the city, and your legs really need the support this type of shoes provide.
3. Driving boots for the jeeps
The boots should follow the natural line of the foot, but still, be light enough for hiking. In most cases, you don’t need separate shoes for driving and hiking, but you have to invest in quality ones, for better support, that is durable and appropriate for different weather conditions.
So, these are the general types of footwear you need for an off-road experience, and surely there are many more sub-types, for specific needs and conditions. But, what to look for in these shoes?
First, never underestimate their purpose and value. No matter how flat or easy is the terrain, it’s still demanding, and you can’t do that with your everyday shoes. They need to provide stability, comfort, and support to the whole body, not just the legs.
Then, choose the materials smartly. You will meet different conditions, maybe you will have to walk through rivers, and make sure your boots or shoes are waterproof. You can’t always exactly predict the weather conditions, but always be ready for big changes during the day.
Even if you are a beginner, you can’t go with your sneakers you wear every day. In the beginning, you can check the more affordable options, because you can easily change your mind and choose not to proceed with your off-road adventures if you don’t like them the first time. But, if you are sure you really like that, you should invest in a few pairs of quality footwear that are made of quality materials, provide a good level of friction between the soil and the rocks and trails, and prevent potential injuries.
Most professional off-road shoes consist of thick soil, heel support, a strong tongue, enough space for the toes, and a quality waterproof fabric to support the foot. From the inside, it’s often well-cushioned, to provide enough comfortability to the person that wears them.
The terrain also affects the final choice, but you have to know it well, so you can choose the right pair for you. For example, for rocky trails you can go with breathable specialized sneakers, with flexible soil, that is still thick enough to protect your feet. For muddy trails and mountain roads, it’s better to use stronger models, that provide enough support and protection to the heel and toes. In most cases, the foot cradle should be flexible, because the hard models will hurt your feet.
Once you try to put them on, you have to feel them comfortable and have enough room for the toes. You can always go for a half-number bigger than your usual size because when you walk longer, you can get a feeling of swelling, and that won’t feel pretty comfortable in tight shoes. Also, keep in mind that you will wear socks, and sometimes the specialized models are thick and can cause unpleasant friction if the shoe is too tight. The staff at the store will always help you choose the best pair for you.
How often should I replace them?
As long as you feel them strong, comfortable, and supportive, you can still wear them. But if you see any change, then it’s the right time to replace them. There is no rule for that, but according to the experienced hikers, one good pair will last up to 500 miles of active use. After you reach that number, you can consider changing them, and looking for something new, or buying the same pair once again.
How to properly take care of them?
These shoes often are cleaned with a damp wipe, so you can remove the dirt from the outside. Don’t put them in your washing machine, even though you do the same with your everyday sneakers. You can always ask the staff at the store to recommend something, and usually, there are foams, brushes, towels, and different types of maintenance products that will help you take care of them.
Also, once you complete the journey and you take them off, give them enough time to dry, so every drop of moisture is away. As you know, the moisture creates great conditions for the bacteria to develop and cause odors, and you don’t want that. That’s one of the reasons why we recommended investing in two or three pairs of shoes for this type of adventure, so you can have a chance to let them completely dry after you use them.
In the end, our biggest advice is to know the exact purpose why you need them – that information will help the sellers offer the best product to you.