Day hiking shoes

QUESTION:

I was looking for hiking shoes or boots for myself. I live in Michigan, and really just do day trails that never last more than 2-3 hours. We are planning to do some hiking on a trip to the Smoky Mountains in June, but will have our 6 year old with us.

Since trail hiking is something I just took up last year would you recommend the Columbia Women’s Ashlane low shoe or should I go up to the mid. So far I have only worn just trail running shoes. I found your review on the shoes and you seemed to like them for day trips.

Thanks,
Robin

ANSWER:
Thanks for the question, Robin! You’re sure going to have a fun time on your trip! I haven’t been to the Smoky Mountains yet, but after reading Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods that is on my list of places I must go!

As far as day hiking shoes for your trip to the Smoky Mountains, a mid top shoe would be better than a low top. You’re going to want the extra protection from dirt and mud!

From what I’ve heard about the Smoky Mountains, the weather in June will be warm during the day, but there may be summer thundershowers in the afternoons. Even if you’re fortunate and miss the rains, the trails likely will be muddy and rutted, and you’ll want some more protection from the dirt and mud than what a low top hiking shoe or your trail running shoes offer.

Columbia Ashlane Mid Top Hiking Shoes

I haven’t worn the mid-top Columbia Ashlane shoes, but they should work for you. The low tops are great for people like you who are beginning hikers and want a good all around day hiking shoe at a decent value.

If your foot runs on the wider side, you should consider the Keen Targhees Mid top shoes. My friend Patricia has that pair and swears by them, and wears them for short hikes, long hikes, and sometimes even backpacking trips.

I have a feeling that after this trip you’re going to want to do even more hiking! :). I’m glad you’re introducing your 6 year old to the outdoors! Have a wonderful time.

Happy trails!
Hiking Lady

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4 comments

  1. Sonia Rodriguez says:

    Need a lot of help!! For the last 7 months I have been buying and returning all type of top brand hiking boots.. I noticed that after 4 miles, my left foot develops a burning sensation.. I have insoles, Vaseline, liners, wools socks, etc. I get the 91/2 size, but in real life I’m 81/2 medium.. The burning sensation is around the lower part of my foot not to far from my toes. It lingers for hours after my 4 miles . I don’t get any blisters, just some reddish but painful. Need to train for my Camino to Compostela coming very soon..
    Thanks!
    S

  2. Mary Anne says:

    Thank you SOOOOOO much for this information!! I did not know about “Women of the Way”, click on your link, watched the video and ordered the book from Amazon. So nice of you to tell me about that!!
    Thanks too for the insole suggestion because I do have a bunion(yuk!) on my foot and I bet the insole will help that. I think I will probably go for the mid top shoe. We will not be carrying a lot of weight so I know I won’t need the high top.
    Thanks again.

  3. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Mary Anne!
    Wow, you’re going to have a great time hiking El Camino de Santiago. You’ll have to let us know how your trip goes! Have you seen this? Women of the Way. As far as footwear, what you need to think about is (i) how much weight you plan to be carrying, and (ii) what the majority of the terrain will be like. If you’re carrying a large “backpacking” backpack, and plan to have 30+ pounds with you, then I’d recommend a boot since you’ll want the extra stability and ankle support. If you don’t plan to take along as much weight, you’ll be able to get away with a low or mid top shoe. On well maintained dirt trails, you’ll be far happier walking 18 miles a day with a low/mid top shoe. A high top boot is best for when you are carrying lots of weight and have more rugged terrain like rock scrambling, stream crossing, etc. Be sure to wear the shoes/boots you choose in advance of your trip so you can deal with any issues in advance. I also recommend getting a pair of Superfeet insoles for added support in hiking shoes or boots, and wearing liner socks to wick away sweat to prevent blisters.
    While El Camino de Santiago is on my dream list of hikes, I have yet to go there. I’m jealous!
    Happy trails 🙂

  4. Mary Anne says:

    Hi Hiking Lady
    I just came across this site. How wonderful. Next Sept. I will be hiking the El Camino in Spain starting in Madrid. We will be hiking 18 miles a day! I hike about one or two times a year and want to build up for this hike. Supposedly there is all types of terrain on the Camino. So my question would be should I have a low or mid high shoe/boot? And is a mid high to the ankle or over the ankle? See how much I don’t.
    Thanks for any help.
    Mary Anne

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