It goes without saying that the first thing that springs to our mind when planning a hiking trip is – How to safeguard our feet from injuries! Given that, it only takes our feet to ride on over there, keeping them safe should be the top priority. Especially, the ankles as they happen to be the most delicate part of our feet.
This is the very reason, why many novice hikers feel indecisive regarding what to wear before hitting the trail. They ardently seek out the answer to their quandaries like “Do hiking boots provide ankle support?”, “Do hiking boots are a must-have for keeping your feet guarded on the trails?” Or “What footwear is the best option for hiking?” and the list goes on and on.
To put an end to all these, we’ve equipped this article with all the answers to the questions that might be loitering in your mind! So, buckle up and keep reading to find out all the answers down below!
Do Hiking Boots Really Provide Ankle Support?
An ankle sprain is, without a doubt, the most common concern while heading out to the ridges. This is why hikers at all levels, from beginners to experts, blindly turn to hiking boots – as it is ingrained into our heads that the hiking boots are the absolute solution for guarding our ankles while rambling over the hills. But, do hiking boots really provide ankle support? If you delve deeper, the answer will leave you in shock.
It is true that hiking boots are specially designed to bring comfort and success to your trekking endeavor, but let’s find out how effective they are in saving your ankles from potential injuries. If you glance over the details of any pair of hiking boots, you’ll see: the inner soles are usually come with an amount of stiffness to bring a stout wrap around your feet.
In addition to that, you’ll see, the outsoles are made of thick layers of rubbers that work to shield your feet from sharp debris on the go. These features are essential to keep your feet moving over there, but they can’t really prevent you from spraining your ankles. Instead, these particular features make the boots feel tight on the ankles and limit the range of your foot movements while you are out hiking. Pretty ironically, these downsides escalate the risk of spraining your ankles to a great extent, making the scenario quite the opposite of popular belief. That’s why we mentioned earlier that the answer will leave you in shock, so didn’t it?
Why Do They Say hiking Boots Provide Ankle Support?
As you snoop around for a well-rounded pair of hiking boots, you’ll surely come across those brands that claim to support your ankle. The irony is that not one or two, but many hikers have already reported that they have ended up injuring their ankles badly while having their feet squeezed into the ankle-supported hiking boots. But, here the catch is – if hiking boots aren’t going to provide you any deal of ankle support, then why do they say that?
When we started digging into the matter, to our utter awe, we found out, it’s nothing but a good old marketing strategy. The astute marketers preach this on purpose to persuade the potential consumers to buy their boots. Those hiking boot brands overuse the term “ankle support” so often, that the consumers stumble upon this phrase every now and then. And, as a result, the idea becomes embedded in their minds as if it’s true.
But, when it comes to action, they actually don’t provide any such perks. This is apparently nothing but a bluff to maximize those brand’s overall sales! So, now as you got the reality check from us, make sure from onwards you’re not letting the cunning marketing fool you anymore!
Best footwear for Ankle Support: Hiking Boots Vs Shoes
Now that you know that the tag of ankle support is just a mere marketing ploy for hiking boots, let’s find out how effective hiking shoes are in this regard. We know, typically the shoe mouth of any type lays right below your ankle line. So, it’s pretty obvious that shoes are unlikely to cover your ankle areas let alone protecting them from getting injured.
However, after conducting multiple studies, researchers came to the conclusion that no kind of footwear can protect the ankle from rolling into a sprain; rather the only way to avoid ankle injury is to wrapping a brace around your ankles. However, they have also exaggerated that those who have healthy ankles, don’t really need any additional ankle support for going hiking. So, unless if you have a nagging ankle, you have no reason to brace up your feet before flocking to hike.
Still, if you’re thinking about which to pick between hiking boots and shoes when your major concern is safeguarding your ankle as much as possible – we would suggest you opt for hiking shoes! Why is that, is because, hiking boots are quite thick and rigid which likely to tire your feet quickly and reinforce fatigue – and both of these apparently put your ankles at a greater risk of injuries.
Also, shoes don’t bind the ankle areas and cause discomfort. So, it’s needless to say once again which option is more friendly for your ankles, so keep that in mind while you’ll run your errand for it. Again, for your further assistance, we have reviewed the best footwear for men and women. So, let’s have a peek at them –
Best Hiking Footwear for Male
Speaking of the best hiking footwear for males, we’d like to draw your attention to the model Merrell Men’s Moab-2 Hiking Shoe, which has literally blown our mind with its imposing flairs. As you know the current market offers myriads of hiking footwear options for males, singling out the best one is no less than a hell of a challenge. After vivid research and comparison, we settled on this model as it packs everything that makes a model perfect for reigning on the trail.
You’ll be lured to know that, it’s suede leather-made body and meshed upper combine one-of-a-kind protection for your feet. It also equips a unique rubber toe-cap for your convenience and its closed-cell lather tongue keeps the debris and moisture out when you’re on the go. Again, the subtly breathable upper mesh lining ensures your foot doesn’t sweat, no matter for how many hours you’ve been hauling out. Last but not the least, its 5mm deep lug is just the cherry on top and ensures your smooth run over the trail.
Best Hiking Footwear for Female
Let’s move on to the best hiking footwear for females. Among all the alternatives available on the market, the model Columbia Women’s Ridge Hiking Shoe turns out to be the true standout in all conscience. It is deftly made with incorporating the most advanced technology to ensure the best outcome possible.
Among its multiple layers, the inner sole is made of waxed canvas and the upper is of suede leather. And, in between these two layers, an exclusive TECHLITE midsole is tucked in for bringing supreme comfort and energy to your feet. Also, its reinforced ankle, heel, and toe areas add extra wings to your hiking passion and keep you moving for the long haul without making your feet fatigued. Again, in addition to boasting pretty deep lugs, it features the Omni-GRIP traction rubbery outsole which ensures superior grip even on the bumpiest terrains.
Is Ankle Support A Myth or Fact?
Before we cut to the chase, let’s first sort out the widely controversial idea that makes people believe that “Ankle support is inevitable for hiking”. Above we’ve already debunked that if your ankle is in good shape, you won’t be needing any extra ankle support for hiking. And, even though you have a nagging ankle, putting ankle support is still not mandatory.
If you happen to be an avid hiker, chances are you already know how ankle support works. However, if you are under the impression that ankle support reduces the chances of ankle injuries down to a great deal, or prevents ankles from getting sprained, then this is to let you know that it is nothing but a myth. To your knowledge, no one has yet been able to prove that wearing ankle support or ankle braces will ensure the possibility of zero ankle injury.
As much as we hate to burst your bubble, we’d like you to know that apart from being unable to provide a hundred percent ankle protection, wearing any ankle support won’t necessarily come in handy for outdoorsy activities as well! In fact, it’s the other way around! According to most researchers, ankle support somewhat worsens your ankle, when you keep wearing them frequently.
Not to mention, it brings a feeling of heavy load on the ankle which consequently reduces your walking pace and gives you an edgy feeling on your trail. What’s more alarming is that some researchers claim that wearing ankle support can make your ankle weak in the long run. So, it is high time for us to move on from the fallacy of ankle support; instead, we should focus on the exercises that are proven to thwart ankle injuries effectively.
However, if you haven’t got the faintest idea about the hiking exercises for your ankle, the good news, we’re here at your service. In our next segment will enlighten you with all the necessaries that you might need to know to get started.
Hiking Exercises to Prevent Possible Ankle Injuries
There are four popular exercises for improving ankle strength that will potently help you conquer all the impending ankle injuries. So, let’s mug up them –
- Ankle Plantar Flexion: To perform this exercise, first be seated on the floor while stretching out both the legs in front of you. Now, shape a band circle around the foot you want to work while gripping the other end of the band with your hands. Pull the band closure to your body as much as you can. Then, gently stretch the feet away from your body as far as you can. Then, on both feet, repeat the procedure 12-15 times more.
- Ankle Flexion: For this one, be seated like before. And, then form a loop with a band around a pillar 2-3 feet apart from your position. Now, insert your exercise foot into the ring and slowly draw the band towards you from its beginning point. When the ankle approaches a 90-degree angle, let it return to its beginning position again. Now, repeat the procedure 12-15 times on each foot.
- Ankle Eversion: For this exercise, keep the band tied around the pillar-like before, but, you’ll have to change your sitting position. Sit on the floor in a way that you can insert one foot into the ring and stretch it away from the other one. When you’re doing it, stretch as far as you can and then hold the position for around 15/20 seconds. Then, after every 10 seconds of rest, repeat the exercise on both feet for a further 8/10 times.
- Ankle Inversion: This exercise is the reverse of the previous one. The band should be wrapped around the pillar once more, except this time you’ll need to sit in a different spot. First, insert your exercise foot into the ring and then outstretch the other leg as much as you can and then keep it still. Once done, pull your exercise leg closure to the other leg’s position and to your best range hold the position for around 15/20 seconds. Now, like the earlier one, keep repeating the procedure 8/10 times on both feet after every 10 seconds of relaxation.
This article is thoughtfully crafted to address most of the burning questions of the hiking world. Furthermore, we’ve also rounded up the best-found footwear for males and females. According to our findings, the model Merrell Men’s Moab-2 Hiking Shoe is the best call for males, while the model Columbia Women’s Ridge Hiking Shoe is over the top perfect for females. Again, to help you further, we’ve also hushed over the ways of practicing the ankle exercises that are proven to turn your ankle trail-friendly and stout enough to halt the potential injuries while you’re on the trail. We really hope you’ve learned something new from our arrangement. So, now share it with your friends to help us spread the knowledge around the world.
Pavel is a true outdoor enthusiast with a passion for nature and a love for the great outdoors. He started Outdoor Fun Mag to introduce people from all walks of life to everything the outdoors has to offer and hopes that you’ll find something that excites you every time you stop by.
When not exploring nature Pavel works as an Electronics Engineer — a job that gets him thinking and makes sure he pays attention to all those fine details. This means that when he leaves work for the week, there’s no better contrast than the calmness and serenity of the natural world. By giving Pavel the chance to switch off and relax, his time spent camping and hiking allows him to feel refreshed.
In the future, Pavel plans to explore new areas and corners of the world with nothing more than a backpack and a tent. It’s an authentic way of seeing new places that allow him to de-stress and enjoy life, and he wants you to make the most of your life too.