Warmer weather heralds more and more people getting outdoors. While hiking is something that goes year-round, we’ll admit to being seduced more by the milder balm of Spring and the high skies of summer. With that in mind, we turned to our Altitude Sports buying team for expert advice on new hiking footwear and equipment must-haves for the season.
From the coolest pair of kicks at the campfire to your campfire cooker, here are the picks bound to make your new hiking passion – and footwear and gear – the envy of all around you.
hiking gear 2022
Vincent is our gear buyer and knows his gear inside-out. He’s a hiker, cyclist, and in general loves being outdoors with his kids. His season’s picks for everything functional and fun are below.
Vincent: After a good hike, you don’t want to sweat over the time to cook a quality meal. Jetboil's lightweight, compact stove - and the promise of hot food made fast - will definitely get more people involved in outdoor activities.
V: A headlamp with great light, is fully USB-rechargeable and with a great design, fits anyone’s outdoor lifestyle. BioLite's version also features a smart battery and cable concealing and lots of colours - too good to pass up!
Gregory hydro pack
V: The Hydro Trek by Gregory is multi-talented: use it as a water reservoir for hiking; as a basecamp water source; or as a gravity reservoir. The design makes it easy to fit most backpacks, and easy to fill as well.
V: Probably the best backpack option for hiking or bikepacking, this lightweight, comfortable pack has all you need for a couple of days in the wild. Newly designed for 2021, it gives you full technical performance. Another great choice from Osprey!
V: These Black Diamond light trekking poles are versatile enough for any outdoor activity you do. They have a nice grip, shock suspension system and a three-section foldable option - perfect when hiking mountain slopes!
Hiking footwear 2022
Theodora is a buying manager here at Altitude Sports, and has an eye for footwear both functional and fashionable. She enjoys mushroom hunting and knowing what a plant is when she sees one. Her tips will help you choose the right footwear for your needs this summer – from boots to versatile hiking sandals to post-hike slides.
Theodora: Salewa's Alpenviolet Mid GORE-TEX hiking boot is a serious player - or hiker - with great grip and build. And I can't get over that sleek monochrome-like look, with a mix of suede and textile in muted blues and greys.
danner mountain light
T: Classic, vintage - whatever you want to call it, Danner's Mountain Light Cascade is a sweet-looking, high-performance hiker. Tough enough with the treated leather upper and bouncy with a Vibram shock-absorbing sole, this women's boot will make the boys jealous.
ON cloudrock waterproof
T: Lightweight, comfortable, and very on-trend, I love the Cloudrock Waterproof both in the city and out on the trails. There's a lot packed into the streamlined design and fine, almost delicate profile.
la sportiva nucleo high II
T: This first guy's entry (also available in women's) is a classic from La Sportiva, with both a lightweight and rugged design. The look is functional yet somehow stylish. It's also very breathable, which is great in warmer weather.
merrell moab 2
T: Merrell make outstanding hikers, and the bestselling, waterproof MOAB 2 Mid is no exception. It's got that Merrell hit-the-trails-NOW look, a simple boot that's long-lasting and easy to lace up. Count on it!
hoka one one tenNine hike
T: The curveball is Hoka One One's TenNine Hike, a GORE-TEX-based hiking-runner that's maybe not for the purists. There's plenty going on design-wise, a combo of the functional and the funky. But it performs: super-fast on ascents, with unbeatable Hoka One One energy return. Dare to be different...
After a day’s tramping about, nothing feels better than a campfire, some good food and drink, and finally unlacing those boots. Slide into a pair of our post-hikers below, or opt for a lighter pair of sandal-style hikers and let things breathe easy.
Hiking sandals / post-hike
KEEN X Jerry Garcia
T: Be Grateful to nature in unequaled UNEEK comfort by Keen, with 1% of proceeds supporting the Tongass rainforest in this limited edition. The lace-lock bungee can be tightened to the size of your foot or loosened to fit your wool sock. Razor-siped soles add stability and gives you more grip than Jerry Garcia had on his riffs.
T: Suicoke is the footwear label everyone wants to work with. Now the Japanese fashion experts have created an EVA-footbed, comfort-first sandal that makes for a very light post-hike option (or your weekend casuals back home).
T: How can you go wrong in a pair of Birks? You can’t. Retro, classic, or whatever you like, it’s the first brand to use the word footbed to describe their anatomically fashioned sole. Each pair is made for long lasting comfort and they take care of your feet most statement shoes don’t.
T: Weird times call for weird shoes: amphibians have stepped into the trend zone. Merrell introduced the Hydro Moc for hikers who want a shoe that both hacks through the trail and chills by the campfire. Easy to pack in and pack out at 14 ounces, the Hydro Mocs are lighter than most bottles of water.
T: Another one from Merrell because this hiking brand covers all our needs without breaking our bank. Merrell’s sticky rubber outsole and traction-chewing lugs turn these clogs into much more than your dad’s souvenirs from Sweden. So easy to step in and out of too!
T: This KEEN Uneek shoe is ultra-comfy with a countered, adjustable fit, unending comfort, and a breathable knit upper made entirely from recycled PET plastic bottles. It’s made for adventuring outside in warm weather and sacrifices nothing on the comfort front.
New hiking footwear and gear makes a huge difference, so don’t wait until you’re out on the trails to get properly equipped. It’s always nice to have someone in your corner, so a tip of the hat to Theodora and Vincent for leading us to the right stuff.
For more on backpacks, hiking boots and hiking shoes, and more, check out our links – and see you on the trails!