So, so many important things to remember to do//pack//know when heading out for an adventure, your safety and enjoyment are on the line and keeping track of it all can be overwhelming.
You need food and water, an emergency kit and map, you need to know where you’re going and how to get there. You need to consider weather and timing. If your head isn’t already spinning, here’s one more item to consider: your footwear!
From as far back as I can remember, I’ve been throwing on old sneakers before heading out to climb something, explore something, or just be active outside. But here’s the problem with old sneakers: They. Are. Old!
Do you paint without a paintbrush?
Do you canoe without a paddle?
Do you jump out of a plane without a parachute??
For the love of Pete, no! Nor should you disregard the importance of what you wear on your feet, you know, those things that literally carry you from point A to B to C.
Let’s be clear: I don’t want you to buy the top of the line trekker boots for your stroll through the neighborhood park. That would be ridiculously overboard! But I do want you to make sure you’re not neglecting those precious feet.
Like Mark and I did. Many times.
Lesson One: as a baby hiker Mark wore sneakers on our smaller hikes. They weren’t necessarily old or worn, but as we progressed into higher and more challenging mountains with rocks and boulders and things to watch out for above and below it became clear FAST that low-top shoes were no longer appropriate. One wobbly rock and one sprained ankle was all it took for him to realize (painfully!) that he needed something sturdy and with ankle support.
Enter the Timberlands.
Moderately priced; sturdy, comfortable and waterproof. These shoes have carried Mark many miles and through many muddy bogs. (They may or may not have formed an emotional bond.) But eventually the tread wore thin and he had to retire them to yard work duty. His new pair is a different brand, he wanted to try something lighter, so he’s in the process of breaking them in.
Lesson Two: I wore a pair of boots that was uncomfortable from the very first mile. Constantly rubbing on the back of my heel was the red flag I ignored and when we set out on our first really challenging hike (Giant and Rocky Peak), I started feeling pain in my feet and it slowly crept up my legs. By the time we reached the car six miles later I could barely walk, the pain had spread up through my hips and I was miserable. Thank the LORD for Chapel Pond in Keene; Mark and I crossed the street to the pond where I waddled my way into the ice-cold water for some much needed relief.
Enter the Danners. The true loves of my life. (Sorry Mark)
Pricey, guys. But given the amount of hiking I knew we were going to do, I considered it an investment. Years and hundreds of miles later, I’m still going strong. I mean, 30 miles is still wicked painful, but that’s to be expected, knowhatImean?
So what should YOU do?
Consider your activities as an investment in your health. And happy feet are the literal vehicle to good health.
For those quick walks through the neighborhood park, or your community’s bike path consider a lightweight, supportive shoe. Everyone’s foot is different, so find your perfect fit. My feet love:
Not every hike is going to be a climb, but if you are on a nature trail, you are most certainly going to find roots and rocks and other obstacles. A thicker, harder soled trail shoe is going to give you the foot support you will need to maneuver safely and comfortably. Friends and the inter webs recommend:
Look for enough ankle support for those technically difficult adventures (news flash: the High Peaks are going to be technically difficult!), these boots will have the hard soles, but come in lightweight materials:
So now it’s time to make that investment in your feet and in your health! And if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, download this handy checklist to help you plan for your next outdoor adventure 🙂