Shop sandals and flip flops for the ultimate feet vacation, to relax after a hike, or to stay cool in hot weather. Choose incredible comfort with unmatched style for a stroll down the beach or to top off your casual look.
Lightweight slip-ons, mesh shoes and canvas shoes are a great choice for a casual evening or to relax outdoors with good-looking footwear while protecting you from the elements and comfortable.
Trail & Running Shoes
Run your trails with confidence in your shoes. Get exceptional durability and traction without compromising weight with a trail running shoes. .
Camping can be an excellent way to get outside and recharge with Mother Nature, and it's even easier when you can drive to your campsite instead of packing your gear in. Here are a few tips on car camping for beginners.
Let’s face it, the Big Bend region of Texas is huge and everything seems to be a half-hour drive or more apart. Planning a trip there can be overwhelming taking into account what sites you intend to see, what activities you plan, where to stay, where to eat, and again, all of the miles in between. There’s also the very different nature’s of the gateway cities and towns. To help you understand what town might suit your style for an overnight stay or as a base of operations during your visit, here is a glimpse of what each one has to offer.
No visit to Big Bend National Park is complete, in my mind at least, without an early morning visit to the Hot Springs Historic District. There is simply nothing more relaxing than soaking away any soreness from the previous day’s hike (or maybe anything else that ails you) while watching the early morning sun’s rays catch the steam rising off the water and listening to the waters of the river rushing by. That in itself makes the trip to the spring worthwhile, but to truly appreciate everything this National Historic Site has to offer, you need to understand the story of the man who built it.
Any hiker will tell you that boots are the most important piece of gear. The right footwear can add comfort and endurance on even the most difficult hikes. The wrong footwear, however, may have you winching with each step even on a well-kept trail. Here are a few tips on choosing the best hiking boots.
Choose the Right Material
Modern hiking boots are made from high-quality materials that are tailored for specific types of hiking. The right fabric can provide comfort on the trail, but the wrong material can cause your feet to be too hot, creating cramping, or making your feet sweat without breathing which leads to discomfort, blisters, or even injury. Choose a material that is too light, and you may not have the support or insulation you need for rough or cold trails.
Most mountaineering boots and some rough-trail boots are made with full-grain leather. Serious hikers on unsteady terrain need this durable material to protect and support their feet, especially with a heavy pack. Boots made with full-train leather are often more expensive and heavier than other materials, but well worth it on difficult treks.
Not as water-resistant or durable as full-grain, split-grain leather does provide more flexibility, generally a faster break-in period, and more breathability. Some split-grain leather boots also include synthetics for pieces of the upper.
Often much lighter, more flexible and affordable, synthetic fabrics are lightweight and have superior breathability. You give up durability compared to leather, but for light hikes this is an excellent choice of footwear.
Choose Footwear for the Terrain
Any purchase for a hiking boot should be made with the terrain in mind. Are you hiking on dirt, on rock? Is it generally wet or dry, and do you encounter rain or snow regularly? What's elevation gain? The more accurately you can judge the type of trail you'll be hiking or backpacking, the better you be able to choose a hiking boot.
Added weight can take a toll on your endurance and drain your energy, so it's important to get the lightest boot you can get away with. For example, a pair of trail shoes may be perfect for a day-hike with a light pack, while mountaineering boots would be overkill. If you're ever in doubt, consult an expert (visit a Backwoods store for some great advice). Here are some tips on choosing the best footwear
Choose an Appropriate Type of Footwear
Trail & short hikes
For a morning hike, carrying light packs, and trails in good condition, a light hiking shoe may be the best option. You can even go with a trail or running shoe for most public trails that have minimal elevation gain. Be sure to choose a quality construction with multiple seams. Most trail shoes have stiff soles for better stability and more aggressive tread for better traction than street running or walking shoes. You may find that trail shoes don't have the stability for rocky/slippery terrain with a big payload.
Rough trail & long hikes
Look for a mid-height (just above the ankle) shoes or boots to provide the support and durability you'll need. Constructed from fabric/leather, you'll appreciate the extra protection and support after you put a few miles between you and civilization. These boots usually have a half-length shank or tapered plastic midsole to provide rigidity on stony or uneven trails but will allow your feet to flex enough for comfort and grip.
Off-trail & Multi-day hikes
For high mileage on a variety of terrain both on and off the trail, off-trail boots offer the best protection and support. These stiff-soled boots can often have a lengthy break-in time, but after you've walked them into submission they can be surprisingly soft and comfortable in the sole and heel cup. Off-trail boots are often made of full-grain leather, provide support above the ankle, and can offer waterproofing. Some models have lips for crampons or snowshoe bindings, but more difficult terrain requires mountaineering boots.
Generally high-ankle support, full sole shanks, leather material with minimal seams and potentially some insulation means that mountaineering boots are the most inflexible type of boots, and take the longest time to break in. But you'll appreciate each one of these points when you're trekking a glacier or on a mountainside above fourteen thousand feet. The stiff uppers and thick soles are good for heavy loads but be sure to break them in well before your trek or you'll bring back blisters that rival the mountain summit you just descended from.
Make sure it Fits
Sprained ankles or arches, bone spurs, blackened toenails and... blisters. Scary, right? A good fitting boot can not only protect you from the elements, but also the negative effects hiking can have on your body.
Ignore your regular size
Street or casual shoes aren't meant for the rigorous demands of a hike, so ignore your "normal" size and pick boots that feel right for your foot. You may buy a half or full size larger than your normal shoes, but your feet will thank you for it. Make sure you try the boots on with the correct pair of socks, or you may end up with a boot that doesn't fit quite as well as you prefer.
Try it on
It seems self-evident but trying a pair of boots on and walking around them for a few minutes will tell you almost all you need about them. Is the toe box too narrow for your toes? Then move to the next pair; the toe box shape is set, especially in heavy-duty boots. Does your heel fit in the heel cup or slip from side to side? If it slips, be ready to welcome those blisters we mentioned.
Did we mention socks?
Trying boots on with good hiking socks and wearing the same/similar hiking socks during your hike will ensure that your boots fit consistently. Hiking socks are built differently than cheap street socks with better toe seams and overall thickness that can significantly alter the fit of a boot. Some socks have different areas of compression or material thickness that change the way a boot fits your foot. Try to be consistent with your socks, or even buy socks at the same time you get your boots.