Hiking Boots or Shoes For Zion

Times are changing.  Remember when cell phones were foot-long bricks that could double as a weapon when you’re under attack, when basketball shorts looked like cute running shorts, when Converse canvas was the athlete’s choice for just about any sport?  Well, heavy, high-top, leather hiking boots were also the norm on Southern Utah’s trails. Admittedly, there are some advantages to high-top waffle stompers, but the industry has changed to more closely meet the needs of hikers. This article explains when and why you would use hiking boots or shoes for Zion National Park’s variety of adventures.

High-Top Leather Boots

Let’s start with the advantages of high-top leather.  First, the high-top leather boots lend support to the ankle, that precarious place where leg bones join the foot bones, forming a strong hinge so you can run and walk.  Without that support, there are special occasions when you might step on a small rock, the edge of trail, or hole in the ground, twisting the hinge. The weight of your body bends the hinge outward or inward causing the hinge to break or at least tear some of the ropes holding the hinge together.  You may hear a popping sound or feel a terrible pain, or both. This memorable experience is less likely to occur while wearing the high-top waffle stompers. (Apply ice for a few days if this happens, not heat!)

Another vote for leather boots is cast because of their tough, thick soles.  Those hard soles enable your feet to traverse sharp rocks because you’re hardly feeling a thing.  Happy feet are feet that don’t get bruised or cut from sharp objects. If you’re a large person, those rocks can really punch as you step, so you may prefer heavier, thicker soles.  And the heavier you are, the more prone you are to spraining that hinge, so ankle support is recommended.

The disadvantages of high-top leather are weight and fashion.  They’re heavy, so if you’re small-muscled or unfit, those clod-hoppers are going to feel like cement shoes as the day drags on.  And if those “dogs” have to wade through the Virgin River at some point, the leather will soak up H2O, adding much more weight and taking forever to dry.  Fashion? Style? Well, it’s all in the eye of the beholder, right? Maybe you don’t care one shoelace about how cool you look on Zion’s trails. Ask your partner what they think.

Sneakers/ Shoes

Hiking boots or shoes for Zion?  Well, most prefer sporty shoes of some type.  Hiking shoes have become very popular for many reasons: comfortable, light-weight, look good, athletic, non-slip soles for creeks and rivers.  When Nike changed track shoes in the 70s, all athletic shoes, including hiking footwear, would never be the same. Contemporary hiking shoes often boast Gore-tex waterproof uppers, athletic insoles, non-slip soles, smooth or rugged soles, sporty looks, flexible or stiff soles, and breathable synthetic materials that dry fast.  Some even go up the ankle to provide some support at the hinge. You can run up and down mountain trails if you like. You can wade through the Narrows at Zion and the Virgin River, feeling stable on your feet and knowing those “puppies” will dry out fast later.

So, the choice between hiking boots or hiking shoes for Zion trails depends on your fitness level, your susceptibility to ankle sprains, the type of terrain your tackling (water, rocky, etc.), the length of your adventure, and what looks good to you and your sweetie.

 

Hiking Boots or Shoes for Zion

 

Hiking Boots or Shoes For Zion

Article By: Clear Content Marketing