Footwear when hiking in Rogaland
The question of what shoes to wear when hiking in Rogaland (or Norway) is one that comes up often when talking to fellow hikers. As usual these type of questions have many answers. “What kinds of boots to wear for skiing?” Well, what type of skiing do you want to do? Cross-country skiing, ski touring or alpine skiing are very different and need their own skis and boots. Just like the Dutch might well have different bikes for moving around town, for going to work, on a tour or on a race!
Hiking enthusiasts will say the same for hiking boots. It depends what type of hiking you want to do. And to some degree this is of course true. If you go into the high alpine landscape, where you might have to cross over glaciers and rockfalls, a low hiker may well be inadequate. But even while hiking in Rogaland you will likely encounter people with very different type of footwear. It is quite normal for Norwegians to have different hiking shoes, that are worn in different weather, terrain and season. Asking them as you meet them on the trail how they like their gear is a great way to learn more about different options and gets a conversation going.
This article seeks to shed a bit of light on the footwear while hiking in Rogaland. Of course, it ultimately comes down to personal preferences, budget considerations and maybe how much space you have to store all these different kinds of shoes!
So let’s start with the basics. When it comes to the type of shoe or boot you should wear when hiking, there are two main considerations. Comfort and safety. Say you haven’t hiked much before and you happen to come from a warmer climate. Then you are used to light shoes or even sandals most of the time; your feet will definitely have to get used to being enclosed in a sturdier shoe. Plus, the weight of a shoe is important. Consider spending a bit more on lighter materials if you haven’t hiked much or you plan to hike more. The less the weight of the shoe the more comfortable it will feel, particularly on longer hikes.
In terms of both comfort and safety having a waterproof shoe in Norway is a very good idea. Let’s face it: it does rain, the undergrowth is often wet here, you will be crossing small streams, walking alongside lakes or on the beach. A waterproof membrane in your clothing and shoes really makes a lot of sense.
When you are looking for safety in your shoe, then the sturdiness of both the shoe and the sole are important. Look at having a good profile under you shoe. Much like a tire on a car or bike, the sole of the shoe is what gives you grip on the underground. The ankle height of the shoe is also dependent on where you are going and which season you want to hike in. As a rule of thumb, the higher into the mountains you want to go, the better your ankle support should be and the cooler the season is in which you want to go out and enjoy the outdoors, the higher your shoe should be. That being said, there is a small conundrum to solve. A sturdy shoe will give you support, but also to some extent make your foot and body a bit ‘lazy’. This is why some people are proponents of the ‘bare feet movement’, saying it makes your feet and body stronger. Still, a twisted ankle is no fun and might make you decide that hiking is not for you. Find your own happy medium here, between support and flexibility.
And from my personal experience: if you find that perfect fit of a shoe that feels like it has been made for your foot, go out and buy a second pair!
If you want to know more about why equipment matters when hiking in Rogaland check out our guide
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