SH: The Merrill Chameloeon is his pick for light weight hikers. They have a strong vibram sole as well as a well made heel cup that combine to create a great supporting shoe for a light weight hiking shoe. He has super WIDE feet. Have I already mentioned – he’s a BIG guy!! Merrills work for wide feet, according to SH, better than any other brand out there. He really likes the Gore-Tex lining, as it keeps his feet totally dry, especially when he’s standing in the surf with his camera shooting a sunset!
La Sportiva Glaciers are his top choice for climbing mountains, trekking, or carrying heavy loads off trail. These are an intense climbing boot with a half shank meaning there is not much give in the knobby Vibram soles.. Fully cramp-on compatible. Extremely comfortable on scree and snow, solid on trails, premier off trails. These suckers are ready to rock and roll (if you, the user, are ready to that is!). He also hikes with these in the summer if we’re backpacking as a family (think heavy 50 lb plus pack!) for the extra ankle support.
Me: Low-cut and lightweight Columbia hikers have lasted me 4 seasons so far. They are a supped up running shoe with a strong sole. I love the light weight feature as it allows for easier hiking and since my ankles need minimal support, it works great. Columbia seems to be a great company for us narrow footed souls. Obviously this means that SH has had absolutely no luck with Columbia. They snug to my feet perfectly. I am ready to hit the trail for days or weeks in these gals!
The Key: go as light weight as you can given your body type and physical issues such as weak/strong ankles. If you, like me, have good ankles, don’t feel like you need to get some high top hiking boot just ‘cause that’s what “hiking boots” look like. I have been known to do a 10 mile day hike with running shoes and 3 or 4 mile hikes with sandals! Lighter is best as it saves on the wear and tear on the rest of your body by not having to haul around heavy shoes!