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Fabulous Outdoor Footwear

Footwear technology has come a long way in the past several years and if you go out shopping for a sport-specific shoe, you’ll quickly learn that there is a broad range of choice for virtually any outdoor activity.

Be sure to invest some time, and money, in proper footwear before you head out. It doesn’t matter if you’re scaling one of Canada’s spectacular soaring mountains, trekking through the rugged alpine backcountry, or exploring one of the beautiful Provincial parks, your choice of footwear can significantly impact your comfort, safety and overall enjoyment.

Watch for specialized technology in your sport-specific footwear. Notice we keep referring to “sport-specific” footwear? Though the name may imply it, a pair of cross-trainers will not carry you through virtually any sport. Many people take their feet – and footwear – for granted and don’t consider the risks that may result from not having the appropriate shoes/boots for their specific activity. The last thing you need is to slip and fall, to get blisters, or to end up with joint or back pain as a result of inappropriate footwear.

Here are just a few examples of considerations when buying footwear for your sport:

  • If you’re a trail runner or day hiker, consider ankle support, aggressive tread, cushioned soles, and water-proofing.
  • If you’re trekking for more than a couple of days, invest in proper sturdy hiking boots with ample ankle support, thick lugged soles and a rating appropriate for the load you’ll be carrying.
  • If you’re heading into the backcountry and are likely to encounter icy conditions, ensure that your boot’s sole is compatible with crampons.
  • Heading out on a boat for the day? Ensure that your shoes have appropriate traction for slippery deck surfaces.
  • Kayaking or rafting? Protect your feet from jagged rocks and debris beneath the water by wearing adventure/sport sandals or water shoes.

The biggest mistake people make when buying footwear is to buy too small – when you go shoe shopping, be sure that you wear a pair of socks similar to those that you’ll wear during your chosen activity. For walking, hiking and trail running shoes ensure that you have enough room in the toe box to wiggle your toes comfortably. There should be no more than ¼” heel slip.

The bottom line is: don’t skimp on your footwear. Give careful consideration to the environment you’ll be in – including terrain and weather conditions – and the demands of your chosen activity. Invest in footwear that fits properly, is appropriate to your sport, and has the technology to stand up to use and abuse. Inspect your footwear regularly, follow the manufacturer’s recommended care/maintenance, and replace when it’s showing signs of wear and tear.

For knowledge and assistance, go to a sport-specific store and speak to an expert who can help you properly fitted with the right size and type of footwear.