Even though we are about to get thumped with another foot of snow, Winter is, in theory, winding down. This means transitioning from winter hiking boots back to three season or summer kicks. As I look forward to the warmer months and increased hiking and training, arguably the most important piece of equipment will be my footwear choice.
Currently I have only my winter hikers as I am in need of new summer ones. The timing is right because all the gear outfitters have started shifting their focus to warm weather clothing. Additionally, I will have all summer to break them in as I am not about to hike the Traverse in brand new footwear. That would be the worst thing that I could do. But this also means that I need to get moving and make a choice soon. Sometimes it takes a few hikes to figure out that your footwear choice is not the best.
My first challenge on this is that I wear a size 14. While not impossible to find hiking footwear in a 14, it is not especially common. The second challenge is that I hate shoes. I wear my sandals all winter long (yes – in Maine) so I need to find the right balance of lighter footwear that will offer the protection and support that I need for a summer of hiking through some rugged terrain. This does not even get me into the features aspect of things: do I sacrifice breathability for waterproofing? Do I want traditional laces newer cinched draw cords? Do I want a trail runner, a mid-size or all out bomber boot?
And did I mention I need to find it in a 14?
Over the next couple of weeks I will be pouring over reviews, specs and reaching out to some sources for comments and feedback. I will round back up with what I decide upon and information that I learn.