How Many Pairs of Climbing Shoes Do I Need?
Man climbing a steep mountain slope.

Walking is much more than recreation. It undoubtedly has an overall positive effect on your health. It also helps you battle stress on an everyday basis. Additionally, hiking is not a very expensive sport, it won’t take much of your time, and the equipment is very affordable.

On many hiking forums it is pretty obvious that passionate hikers have a semi-addiction to sporting shoes, but that’s quite alright. There is even some good reasoning behind it. Hiking shoes differ depending on the complexity of the tour you plan to do. It means that a climber that streams to be more efficient should have as many different pairs for different activities planned for the next climb. 

There is no single rule for choosing shoes. In principle, you only need to take some time to choose the model and size, since footwear is very important for the safety and enjoyment of nature. Shoes must protect us from injuries and provide a feeling of support to the legs and body. Also, they need to soften the blows and make any ascent or walk better, simpler, and easier. 

An ideal number for your average climber is approximately 3-6 pairs of shoes. Depending on the type of model, as well as your budget, buying a shoe and a spare is a great way to save some money. Find shoes that are comfortable and well-suited for the type of terrain you’ve chosen for your hiking adventure.

Table of Contents

Hiking shoes should be comfortable

Comfort and convenience are quality sisters your climbing shoes cannot live without! That can even be considered the first rule when it comes to choosing hiking shoes. Take the time to choose the appropriate model and size, since your safety depends on it and your overall enjoyment of nature, also. The shoes you wear should protect you from minor or major injuries, provide you with support for every step you take, but also cushion the impact on the ground when climbing or walking in inaccessible areas.

Additional tip: For those of you who wonder if approach shoes are suitable for climbing, here’s all the info you need.

Figure out whether you want deep or shallow boots

When choosing hiking shoes, take into account the area in which you’ll be hiking, as well as the weather conditions that have been announced for the occasion. Shallow hiking shoes are ideal for hiking on dry, not too demanding terrain, and walking in them can be more comfortable and easier.

Deep hiking shoes, on the other hand, are more suitable for walkers and hikers, although deeper footwear is a bit heavier and bulkier. You will be more stable in them, and your feet will be more protected from injuries, especially when we are talking about demanding terrains.

High or low?

Before you step into a shoe store, you should already decide whether you need low or high shoes. Low hiking shoes are especially suitable for undemanding terrains. If you don’t have ankle problems and have a bit of experience walking on different types of terrain, hiking in low shoes can be more comfortable and easier. 

If you can afford it, then it is best to buy both low and high shoes. Although, if you can’t or don’t want to buy both low and high shoes, we suggest you buy high ones since they are more suitable for most walkers and hikers. High shoes are indeed a bit heavier and bulkier, but they offer more protection, especially for the ankle, which is most exposed when walking. High shoes are almost necessary equipment for more demanding terrains, higher mountains, high mountains and mountains, where we are exposed to wet rocks, etc. 

Types of shoes according to the terrain

Overall, there are three general types of shoes, suited for the three most common types of terrain. It is simply based on the complexity of the obstacles you may run into during your next hike, the season, and the temperature as well

Shoes for easier terrain

Shoes for easier terrains are soft, airy, comfortable, and light. As a rule, these are low or semi-high shoes, which are intended for excursions, walking, hiking, and similar occasional activities. Their soles are better placed and therefore more comfortable and softer than the models for medium and difficult terrains. 

These shoes do not possess extra protection from rubber. They’re also made of light and natural materials. Most models have waterproof membranes. In the general type, you have a choice between hiking boots, hiking boots, and light hiking boots.

Shoes for medium terrains

This type of hiking shoe differs from those for more demanding terrains because they are supposedly lighter and less bulky and have lower soles. These shoes are most popular among hikers who walk on occasional excursions and those who walk in the middle mountains and the surrounding hills. They are heavier than the ones described above and have a rougher sole. Also, these shoes protect the foot from external shocks. They adapt to any surface, giving the flexibility needed for a good climb.

Shoes for demanding terrains

These shoes include the ankle and are the heaviest of all hiking shoes. The most important thing, apart from the quality of the sole, is also the quality of the material from which the upper part of the shoe is made. Only the best materials are used for these shoes since the weather in the high mountains is unpredictable and unfavorable. They are made from materials that have good thermal insulation and good waterproof membranes that protect the feet from moisture.

Also, if you’re curious about just why climbing shoes are downturned, read this article.

How to choose an adequate size of hiking shoes?

Hiking shoes should never be small. We recommend that you first try them with thicker socks, while your leg is slightly swollen. Make sure you have enough space in the front and that your toes do not touch the top of the shoe. Also, the foot should not move inside the shoe. Finally, the shoe should have an adequate insole, to provide you with the necessary comfort. 

We should never underemphasize the comfort factor, whether we’re talking about hiking, climbing, or even parkour boots.


Although it might seem like an easy task, determining what is the right hiking shoe size for your foot will require some thinking.

In general, the best timing for trying on shoes is in the late afternoon or evening, when the foot swells due to the interruption of body circulation. Then you try on socks which will be used for hiking. In general, when the foot is pushed forward, we must have room for the maximum thickness of the cardboard from the box. 

When tying a shoe, the toes must not touch the top of the shoe. At different loads, the foot must not move inside the shoe with the toes and heel. We have to be careful about something else, if something squeezes or stings us in the store, it would sting us even more with constant use.

Based on laser foot measurements, the legs are very different and differ mainly in the lynx area. Therefore, we can distinguish between feet with a higher or lower lynx and a narrow or wide one. The shoe must fit properly on the leg for commodity, comfort, and, most importantly, safety!


With good quality footwear, it is also important to choose quality socks. As we’ve mentioned earlier, you need to feel comfortable and safe. Shoes made of modern membranes with natural materials only with appropriate socks provide optimal comfort.

It used to be the rule to wear two pairs of socks, for less chance of getting blisters. Today, this is no longer necessary, as footwear materials are much more sophisticated.

A pair of quality hiking shoes. Have you asked yourself "How many pairs of climbing shoes do I need?" If so, continue reading.

The trap of large sales

Don’t be fooled by the shoe’s appearance, beautiful colors, and shapes, since hiking shoes are bought for use, not for beauty. The most important characteristics of a hiking shoe are comfort, suitable weight, protection from mechanical and other environmental influences, good adaptation of the feet in the shoe, and the sole to the ground. This ensures the microclimate, longevity, and much more. 

Before going on a shopping spree, a hiker or climber should have a clear goal for the product they will buy. As we said, a light shoe for easier, mostly flat walks is something completely different from shoes for demanding tours, which can include easier climbing, walking through the snow, on wet rocks, and the like. To see some fantastic hiking shoes, click right here.

With today’s wide selection of shoes, it is very difficult to choose. The greatest help will be provided by the advice of sellers who are experienced, well-made tests of footwear, experiences of friends and acquaintances, but most importantly your feeling. A shoe model that is great for someone does not necessarily suit you. It is indeed difficult to decide based on a few steps around the store, so we must listen to our experiences and feelings before we make the final decision on the purchase.

A conclusion

Now, even though it may seem like a drag to constantly change shoes, the idea that you use different shoes for different types of hikes will make all of the pairs last significantly longer (more than a pair of motorcycle boots would stay in their owner’s wardrobe). In short, there are no best walking shoes (objectively). Or we can say it like this: the best are the ones that suit our needs the most. 

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