Outdoor tech has come a long way in recent years, with huge strides being made in the way hiking boots are designed and enhanced. From tech geared to keep your toes warm in Arctic conditions, to innovations that help you stay upright on more treacherous trails, the new breed of walking boot technologies are as diverse as they are essential. The following innovations are regulars on our lists of the best hiking boots for men and the best women's hiking boots.
Many of the major walking boot brands are developing their own technologies, with some focused on delivering the most comfortable fit, and others targeted at maximising the level of waterproofing or sole grip. Let’s take a closer look at some of these key technologies to discover how they can help you hike for longer...
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1. Vibram Megagrip: keeping you upright on slippery trails
One of the most exciting new walking boot technologies has to be Vibram Megagrip. It’s music to the ears of anyone who feels a bit apprehensive when heading out onto slippery trails, or even when walking around town in the winter ice and snow.
Megagrip is a high performance rubber compound created especially to provide unbeatable grip when you’re walking on wet, slippery surfaces, giving you maximum grip and ground adaptability so that you stay upright in all conditions.
Sticky and long-lasting, it helps you to hike for longer no matter what mother nature throws under your feet. To experience this tech for yourself, check out the Asolo Falcon GV hiking boots, designed with Vibram Megagrip technical soles to ensure supreme performance and grip on varying types of terrain.
2. Gore-Tex: helping you stay dry and comfy on hikes
There’s nothing more miserable than getting halfway through a hike, only for the heavens to open and your walking boots to let in every last drop of rain. Thankfully we have Gore-Tex, one of the best walking boot technologies for protecting your feet from the wet and cold.
Breathable, waterproof and windproof, Gore-Tex fabric works hard to keep your feet warm and dry during inclement weather. However, it’s clever enough to let excess heat escape, preventing your feet from becoming uncomfortable clammy when you’re hiking.
Keen to experience it for yourself? Step into a pair of Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX walking boots, designed with Gore-Tex performance comfort footwear to keep your feet dry from the inside of the boot outwards.
3. NestFit: bringing supreme comfort to every step
When it comes to comfort, no walking boot technology excites us more than NestFit, developed by Treksta to provide high levels of comfort with each step.
NestFit tech reduces pressure on your feet by up to 23 per cent, and minimises the level of fatigue on your muscles by 31 per cent. In short, you’ll be able to hike for longer, in more comfort, and without experiencing so much leg fatigue and cramping later on.
The technology was developed by analysing the feet of 20,000 people, enabling Treksta to create a contoured 3D map of 226 bones and 33 joints, with the aim of supporting each inch of your feet from the moment you slip on NestFit-infused walking boots.
Try it for yourself with the Treksta Guide X5. These walking boots are infused with the coveted NestFit tech and are created to provide you with an almost custom fit for higher levels of support on extended hikes.
4. TPU Thermo Tech Application: enhanced protection for your feet
For maximum protection in the wilds, look to Thermo Tech Application technology, designed to deliver enhanced structure to hiking boots. It does this without using inserts and stitching, therefore opting for a one-construction design.
This results in a truly comfortable fit (due to the lack of seams) and a moulded boot shape that keeps out stones and other debris you may step across on your hike.
The three-season, durable and lightweight La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX boots feature uppers made using TPU Thermo Tech Application reinforcements, as well as a rubber toe cap and heel cap for added protection against rock falls and general scrapes.
5. CleanSport NXT: minimising odours for hardcore hikers
Ok so this may not be an obvious walking boot technology, but anti-odour tech helps you to hike for longer by keeping unwanted foot odour at bay.
CleanSport NXT is a probiotic technology that selects then bonds thousands of naturally-occurring beneficial microbes to the surface fabric of any walking boots it's used in. Applying live microorganisms to fabric in this way creates a natural (and eco-friendly) odour repellent that lasts.
How? Whenever the microbes come into contact with odour-causing sweat, they activate, keeping bad smells at bay. Try it out for yourself with the Keen Targhee III Mid, a waterproof walking boot for multi-terrain adventures.
This article is part of our Tech Innovation for the Future series, brought to you in association with Honor.