My Favourite Outdoor Footwear (during Fieldwork)

I often get questions about which gear I’m using. In this article, I’ll talk a bit more in detail about my outdoor footwear (affiliate links are used).

During my fieldwork in remote places, I prefer to take some decent shoes and/or boots with me and this decision can be location-related and/or job-related. In general, my outdoor footwear usually consists of some flipflops, a pair of light hiking shoes and a pair of more decent hiking boots. In winter, for example, the flipflops usually stays at home and I also take a more decent, warmer pair of hiking boots. In this review, I will give you my favourite outdoor footwear with a brief description on why and how I use them. It’s not a very in debt review, but this might be something I will consider adding later on.
First, I would like the sketch the situation. Most of my experiences are in remote places in summer. We hike long distances and sleep in tents in very basic conditions. To make it all more comfortable, choosing the right outdoor footwear is important, as is the effort in trying to keep your feet and shoes dry. Switching your (heavy) hiking boots to something more ‘easy-going’ in the evenings is something I highly value.

Hiking boots

Hiking boots are probably the most important member of your outdoor footwear collection. As fieldwork can be intense and in very rough terrain, a good protection of your ankles is advisable. Besides the solid look, they give you also good grip on a slippery substrate and in general makes outdoor life easier. I divide the need for hiking boots in 2 categories. The first category is the need for warm, waterproof hiking boots. This is often necessary for areas where fieldwork involves crossing some smaller rivers or a generally wet environmeTheseThis solid hiking boots are also very useful during winter, protect you from the cold and is more pleasant for hiking in the snow. The second category are the decent hiking boots who gives you still a lot of support, but are a bit lighter and more enjoyable in summer. These boots are mostly a bit more flexible. Definitely in summer when I’m going to a drier environment, this type of hiking boots gets my preference. These are usually also a bit more ‘breathable’ and more enjoyable for your feet.

First category

In the category of heavy, warm, waterproof hiking boots, I’m a fan of Meindl boots. They have suited me well in the past, although I had a couple of others which were decent as well. They usually keep their waterproofness for a long time. Additionally, they give good support to your feet and rest of your body during intense walks or trekking.

Second category

As summer boots (second category), I recently pursuit a pair of Hanwag boots. At first look, they had a very nice appearance. One little thing I doubted a bit about what the fact that the last part where the shoelace got tighten to the shoe, was not a metal piece, but a loop of strong fabric. They are very lightweight and enjoyable to wear. I had the feeling my boots were ‘breathing’ quite well, and they did quite well in wet conditions. As they are made of a bit more flexible material, they get a bit in a different shape after they got wet.

Hiking shoes (low around ankle)

Depending on the project, but there are a couple of reasons to take a pair of normal (hiking) shoes as well. I like it, as they are a bit lower around the ankle, and as a result, they give your feet a bit more freedom. I use this hiking shoes for colder times, going shopping, doing less intense fieldwork, etc. I also found it handy when there is driving involved, as I prefer not to drive with proper hiking boots. I’ve used a couple of hiking shoes and often they are part of my footwear I take with me.

Merrel water shoes

After fieldwork, I like to wear this light Merrel water shoes. They are very light and the air is able to get in, with the advantage of still protecting your feet. They are kind of open shoes with a good protection of toes and heel. And I think all of them are equipped with a Vibram sole for good stability. I like to use these shoes also for running. The advantage of these shoes is that you can use them to go in the water as well. They are definitely useful around swimming areas with potential free roaming glass or fishhooks on the ground, or if your work involves some canoe and kayaking. I definitely advise a pair of the Merrel water shoes to be part of your outdoor footwear equipment.

Flipflops

When there are not too many mosquitoes around, I like to walk around in flipflops when I’m wandering around camp. Although it’s not always possible as in some places you need to protect your feet a bit more for all kinds of nasty animals, such as snakes and scorpions. I have tried a couple of different flipflops, although most of them were very cheap. So, by the end of the project, I mostly had flipflops with more duct-tape than flipflop. Recently I bought myself some Havaianas. Definitely better than the ones I had before.

Further Reading

Check out the About Me page to get an overview of the projects I have been involved in.
In the future, more in debt reviews will be linked here as well.
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