Ever wondered exactly what makes certain hiking boot brands differ from the next? It’s not the colour, the laces or the materials; it’s the soles.

The biggest decision you have to make when planning a hike is the type of shoes you intend on wearing. The right shoe can make your hiking experience feel like a slice of heaven or it can leave you hobbling in pain. Not only is it a matter of finding the shoe that is comfortably snug and supportive, but it also needs to have a sole that is not going to leave your feet weary.

The part of the shoe that you should know a little about if you are serious about finding the right hiking boot, is the midsole. This is the part between the rubber bottom and the inside of the boot. Those many layers play a vital role in shoe comfort and they provide a certain level of protection, depending on what kind of hikes you will be undertaking.

To find out whether your feet will love a soft or a hard sole, you need to know the advantages and disadvantages of both.

The Soft Sole

It might sound like the soft sole is instantly the one with most disadvantages but that is not the case. The soft sole is lightweight, which makes it ideal for the less strenuous hikes. These shoes are going to be flexible, super comfortable when out on the trail, and they are going to be light so your legs won’t quickly get tired. The soft sole has the benefit of making it really easy to step on and around rocks and safely get over uneven terrain.

The downside of these soles is that they often have thinner shanks in the midsole which can make carrying heavy backpacks quite a mission.

If you are not a regular hiker, these shoes are probably the better choice.

hike boot

The Hard Sole

Engineered for mountain hiking and days spent backpacking, the hard sole is a lot stronger and also a lot stiffer. These boots will also have thicker shanks which will make carrying a backpack a whole lot easier and more comfortable. Any boots you buy for backpacking will need to be somewhat light and flexible or you will risk wearing yourself out long before you get to your final destination.

In general, the hard boot can be uncomfortable and it is not always every hikers first choice. But, if you are an avid hiker, looking forward to taking on more challenging trails, this could be the boot for you.

At Bermanzi, our hikes are relatively easy and ideal for novice hikers as well as those who are seasoned professionals. We offer a weekend of outdoor adventuring and in the evenings you can return to the comfort of our accommodation in Machadodorp.

Book your trip to our hiking trails in Mpumalanga and fill your lungs with that fresh mountain air.