How to Choose the Right Hiking Shoes for Your Next Summer Adventure

Hiking near Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Hiking near Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Are you swapping poolside cocktails for sandy hiking trails this summer? If so, you’re going to need to rethink your footwear, because comfortable sandals aren’t going to cut it.

Hiking shoes and hiking boots aren’t a one-size-fits-all kind of footwear, as the type of hiking shoe you need all depends on what you want it for. It sounds tricky, but as long as you know what you’re looking for you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the perfect boot.

Here are some of the best and most popular types of hiking footwear that would be ideal for an adventurous summer of hiking.

What Kind of Shoe Do I Need?

Hiking shoes: Low-cut hiking shoes with flexible midsoles are perfect for your average day of hiking and backpacking. Backpackers also swear by trail-running shoes for long-distance journeys.

Day hiking boots: Mid- to high-cut models of day hiking boots are ideal for day hikes or short backpacking trips, just as long as your load isn’t too heavy. The best part of day hiking boots is that they’re flexible and don’t need a lot of time or effort to break in. The only downside is that they lack the support and durability of stout backpacking boots, which would be better suited for longer trips or heavier loads.

Backpacking boots: Backpacking boots are perfect for heavier loads, especially if you are embarking on a multi-day adventure deep into the backcountry. You’re likely carrying everything you’ll be wearing and using on your back, so you want to make sure your boots help you handle the extra weight. Most backpacking boots are designed to have a high cut that wraps above the ankles, which provide excellent support for on-or off-trail travels.

How should they fit?

Once you have the right hiking boots, you need to ensure that they fit you like a glove. They’ll likely have a somewhat different fit than your favorite supportive sneakers, but that’s to be expected. You’re using the shoes for very different purposes, after all!

Make sure you try your hiking boots on at the end of a long day (a prime time, as that’s when your feet are more likely to swell) with the exact socks you will be wearing. They should fit like a second skin, while feeling snug but not too tight. The rule is that if you don’t have room to wiggle your toes, then they’re too tight!

Get the right size. Getting the right size is extremely important. We recommend having your foot's length, width, arch length and volume measured by a specialist – preferably by the same people you’re buying the shoes from. You can double-check the fit by pulling the insoles out and standing on them. Ideally, you should have a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the insole.

Wear appropriate socks. Make sure the thickness of the socks will be exactly the same as the ones you intend to wear on your hike. We suggest taking the exact ones to the shops to avoid any mistakes. As for the type of socks, we recommend synthetic as opposed to slow-drying cotton socks, as the latter are more likely to give you blisters.

Wear them in. Don’t wait for your hike to take them out of the box for the first time. Hiking boots should be properly worn in, so walk in them whenever possible. Try finding an inclined surface and walk up and down on it, or scale your stairs a few times a day. The more surfaces you try, the better!

Know your knots. The way you lace up your boots can affect their fit quite dramatically, so make sure you’re familiar with the different types of knots to guarantee the best fit possible. The surgeon’s knot is great for keeping your heel from slipping, while window lacing can alleviate pressure points on the top of your foot. Toe-relief lacing is a great makeshift remedy to get you back to the trailhead.

Do your homework. Trying on boots from several brands at the store is always a great idea. But if you must shop online, it’s advised that you go with a brand you’ve worn before, as the sizing will generally be consistent. You don’t want to order a pair of boots that don’t fit properly.

Most importantly, have fun! Summer hikes are always a great opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some peace and quiet. Being comfortable while doing it will just make the experience all the more special.

*This post provided by Taos Footwear.

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Cologne, Germany

COLOGNE, GERMANY

Aboard a   KD Rhine     cruise.

Aboard a KD Rhine cruise.

What I Wore: These black H&M Crêped Print Pants with a white crop top like this one, and these AMAZING Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals. I wore a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket for the water cruise since it can be breezy on the river, but I’d recommend any of their jackets.

What I Did: Saw the Koelner Dom, took a Rhine River boat tour with KD Rhine, and explored the Cologne shopping district. I was here for less than 24 hours so this is all I managed to fit in!

What I Ate: Funkhaus Cafe had a seriously delectable bread and cheese breakfast plate. I liked it so much I had it twice- once when I arrived in Cologne and once before I left for the train the next morning. It’s very close to the Cologne train station and Koelner Dom, so it’s a convenient eatery. If you can snag a table outside, it’s great for people-watching too!

I had dinner at the Brauhaus Reissdorf, which was right across from where I stayed in Cologne. It poured rain during our dinner, but we sat on a covered outdoor patio with brews and had a blast. The staff were very friendly and helped me practice ordering my dinner in German becuase they wanted to and not because I asked. It was a great, local, no-frills joint.

At the 70s style flat.

At the 70s style flat.

Where I Stayed: Benno’s Stylish Attic in the Center of Cologne Airbnb- Benno’s fantastic apartment has a spacious bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Benno is in the film industry and his apartment is full of fun film relics and 70s-era styles. Though we weren’t here much, Benno is the reason we decided on Brauhaus Reissdorf for dinner. Benno is a superhost for a reason! I’d definitely stay here again.

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Amsterdam, Netherlands

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

I love the architecture here!

I love the architecture here!

What I Wore: I wore these black skinny jeans, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket but I’d recommend any of their jackets, a basic striped H&M jersey top, an oversized scarf, and these Steve Madden black slip-ons. For nighttime, I wore a sundress like this one with these Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals and the aforementioned jacket and scarf. Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: Wandered the flower market, took an early evening canal tour with Lovers Cruise (it rained so we did a closed-boat cruise), walked to Dam Square for photos, saw the Anne Frank house, had ice cream on a canal bank, toured a few free local art galleries, and went out in the evening near the Red Light District.

My lunch at   De Koffie Schenkerij  .

What I Ate: I stopped for a sandwich and pie at De Koffie Schenkerij for lunch- it was a lovely find! We ate in their outdoor garden area which is near a canal and was very peaceful. I also recommend stopping in Amsterdam’s Chinatown on your next visit- dim sum at Oriental City was delicious.

Where I Stayed: XO Hotels City Centre- This was a tidy spot on the edge of the Red Light District, which is where the most activity happens in the evenings if you want to explore Amsterdam’s night scene. It was clean and small but certainly nothing special. I chose it because it is within walking distance of a lot that I wanted to see and do, but I wasn’t in the room much. It’s a short walk from the main train station, canal tours, and a lot of the city’s attractions.

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram.

Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In Paris & Versailles, France

PARIS & VERSAILLES, FRANCE

Paris is for lovers.

Paris is for lovers.

What I Wore: In Paris, black H&M Crêped Print Pants with a white crop top like this one, and these AMAZING Eurosoft Rayelle Wedge Sandals. In Versailles for the all-day walking tour, these black skinny jeans, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket but I’d recommend any of their jackets, a nude H&M tank, an oversized scarf, and these Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Madison in Ox Black/Wolf Grey/White. Sunnies from H&M. Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: Read my five favorite things about Paris here. Had a dinner picnic at Champ de Mars, took an Eiffel Tower tour to the top (worth the views!), did a walking tour of Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, The Louvre, Sacré-Cœur, Galeries Lafayette, Pont des Arts, Moulin Rouge, and viewed several exhibits at Halle Saint Pierre Gallery; did a full Palace of Versaille walking tour featuring stops at the Royal Gardens, Hall of Mirrors, King’s Apartment, Queen’s Apartment, Royal Chapel, Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet, and ending with a Royal Garden Fountain Show (Sundays only so book accordingly!). I wanted to see everything I could here and it was so worth it- it took the entire day and round trip was about six miles. Great exercise and so fun!

Picnicking at sunset.

Picnicking at sunset.

What I Ate: Picnic at Paris’ Champ de Mars; dinner at La Place Creperie in Versailles. For the Paris picnic, we just stopped at a Franprix and picked up apples, French cheeses, smoked salmon, cucumber, chips, and wine. It was quite honestly one of my favorite meals on my entire European adventure. I highly recommend picnicking at Champ de Mars if you can- at dusk the Eiffel Tower lights turn on and it’s such a splendid time. A true highlight!

Where I Stayed: I can’t recommend where I stayed because I got bed bugs!! It was awful. I’ll be writing about that adventure soon so stay tuned!

Read my five favorite things about Paris here, see more of my travel guides here, and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!


Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do In London, U.K.

LONDON, U.K.

At Abbey Road Studios.

At Abbey Road Studios.

What I Wore: A creme button-up crop top like this one with these ankle cropped, hem-cut Just USA jeans from Stitchfix, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket (but I’d recommend any of their jackets here), an oversized scarf, and these Steve Madden black slip-ons. Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: A walking tour of Abbey Road Studios & Gift Shop, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, Camden Market, Big Ben (currently under construction until 2021 FYI!), Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, and the London Eye.

Love the hems on these   Just USA jeans  .

Love the hems on these Just USA jeans.

What I Ate: Fish & chips (duh!) with a Guinness at a classic English pub. I love grabbing Guinness overseas because they pour it correctly and that makes all the difference! The best part of this dish was that it came with a side of dipping curry for the fish, a treat which I learned is pretty standard in London pubs for this dish. It was amazing! I also ate at a lovely Indian restaurant near Camden Market. If you’re into Indian cuisine, check out Brick Lane’s curry restaurants. They often barter with each other outside just to get you to come in to their shop! And finally, if you’ve yet to try an English grilled Halloumi sandwich, it’s a must on your next British excursion. My favorite was at The Ivy Cafe in St. John’s Wood.

A grilled halloumi at the ivy cafe.

A grilled halloumi at the ivy cafe.

Where I Stayed: Paula’s Cosy Home on Airbnb- This beautiful little house had a kitchenette and bathroom in the lower level with a queen bed in the upstairs loft accessible by a spiral staircase. It was perfect for a two-person stay and a quick walk, bus ride, or Uber to the Underground to explore London. Paula is also an excellent host!

See more of my travel guides here and make sure to connect with me on Instagram!


Travel Guide: What I Wore & Things to Do in Bruges, Belgium

BRUGES, BELGIUM

The Bruges Belfort Clocktower.

The Bruges Belfort Clocktower.

What I Wore: I visited Bruges, Belgium in early June. Since it’s not too far inland, it was a cool temperature at this time of year (50s Fahrenheit). It was cloudy but it did not rain during my stay. I wore these black skinny jeans, a vintage Garage Bomber Jacket but I’d recommend any of their jackets, a nude H&M tank, an oversized scarf, and these Steve Madden black slip on sneakers. All of these items were staples since I backpacked around Europe for 2 weeks. I took almost everything in very similar color tones to have an easy mix and match (a lot of black, white, and gray with accessories that served as a pop of color, though I’m rocking the all-black lewk in this photo). Since I was backpacking around, I did a lot of rotating the same wardrobe on my European adventure.

What I Did: I visited Bruges’ Markt, Burg Square, climbed the Belfort Clocktower (totally worth it!), entered the Basilica of Holy Blood, and saw the Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo at the Church of Our Lady (so beautiful!). Of course we had a photoshoot at the famous Rozenhoedkaai too! It’s truly picture perfect and everyone waits to take their photo there.

Best. Brunch. Ever.

Best. Brunch. Ever.

What I Ate: Books & Brunch had one of the best brunches I’ve ever had!! Just look at that spread!

Where I Stayed: Hotel Biskajer was a lovely spot to park for the night. The room was very small but tidy and comfortable. The gentleman working the front desk was very friendly, gave us some local tips on things to do, and even called us a taxi to the train station once we’d checked out. While we waited, he made us coffee! This hotel does not allow children but it’s perfect for singles and couples to stay. It’s in walking distance of everything I did.

See more of my travel guides here. Have you been to Bruges? Tell me your favorite spots by connecting with me on Instagram!


Five Fun Holiday Gifts for You & Your Bestie This Season

Trimming the tree in my favorite new beanie from   Tenth Street Hats  .

Trimming the tree in my favorite new beanie from Tenth Street Hats.

Whether you’re shopping for yourself (there is nothing wrong with a self-care holiday season!) or you’re on the hunt for your bestie, here are five of my favorite fun and stylish gifts for the holidays:

Alpine Beanie by Tenth Street Hats

Tenth Street Hats craft a number of designer hats and have been in business since 1921! With the winter solstice on the way, their Alpine beanie is one of my must-haves for snow season. It has glitter woven into it for an extra sparkle, comes in silver or black (pictured), and it’s super comfy. Stay cozy whether you’re on the slopes or the streets with their styles and shop yours here.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera

If you’ve watched my Instagram stories at all this year, you know I love my little Fujifilm Instax camera. Whether you’re bopping at festivals, dancing at holiday parties, or popping bottles on New Year’s Eve, this little cam is the perfect way to record your night’s festivities. The lighting reel on the front self-adjusts for indoor or outdoor settings and the film is actually a bit cheaper than Polaroid’s. My refrigerator is covered with Instax photos of all my friends and family from the year, so start your next art project with this camera! Shop the “Smoky White” Instax (my choice) at this link.

Mikasa Beauty Brushes

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’ve become obsessed with highlighter palettes this year. I love the glimmer a good highlighter creates in photographs- in fact, locking in that look has been one of my best 2018 beauty secrets! To craft a solid shine, I use my Mikasa Beauty brush set. Their high quality brushes are created for industry makeup artists and they help me get camera-ready in a matter of minutes. Grab yours here and don’t forget to use my code HANNAHBLONDON25 for 25% off at checkout.

Tarte’s Mermaid Jewels

Festival season is just around the corner and these Tarte Mermaid Jewels were one of my absolute favorite summer looks. I honestly wish I could wear them more often! A few jewels combined with Tarte’s Mermaid glitter will have you festival-ready in five minutes. And the best part? They last all day! I wore my look for a full 16 hours in 90+ degree heat at Grandoozy this year and they stayed in place from the day’s first sounds to the night’s final fireworks. Get yours at this link.

Stitch Fix Subscription

This is truly the gift that keeps on giving! From summer sundresses to a winter wardrobe, let Stitch Fix help you style your next season. Their subscription delivery service lets you choose the frequency of your fixes (I do monthly) and you can tell your stylist if you have a special event or trip coming up so they can craft the perfect outfits for your special occasion. Stitch Fix saves me so much time and their petite size options are phenomenal. You can use my special referral code here to get $25 off your first fix.

What’s on your holiday wish list this year? Share your favorites with me on my Instagram!